Song of the Day – Instrumental: What a Friend We Have in Jesus


I recorded this the other night for fun in my basement studio with a 1938 Martin D28, playing both parts.

The older I get, the more these words resound in my heart; we have a Friend who will never leave or forsake us. I love how the song doesn’t give the impression that the life of walking in the Spirit is about avoiding suffering; it’s about finding redemption and relationship in our trials and temptations.


What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Winner of 147 Grammys (or so), Ron Block is the banjo-ninja portion of Alison Kraus and Union Station. When he's not laying down a bluegrass-style martial-arts whoopin' on audiences around the world, he's taking care of his donkey named "Trash" and keeping himself busy by being one of the most well-read and thoughtful people we know.


  1. Steve Mathisen

    Beautiful Ron! Absolutely moving and tear producing loveliness. I hope you do a whole album like this. I would buy it in a nanosecond!

  2. Jud

    Ron, your touch coaxes an aching beauty from this simple tune. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    If you ever want to put a collection of these together on an album, know there are many of us that will line up to support you in whatever way possible.

  3. Ron Block


    Jacob, yes, the first guitar is in open G. The main lead guitar is in standard. Leigh, “He Leadeth Me” is on the list. Thanks to all for the kind comments.

  4. DrewP

    Man, this made my morning. Learning a lot about prayer right now. God spoke through you Mr. Block. Thanks for allowing Him to use you!

  5. JC

    Thank You Ron, something told me to check the site out today, now I know it was the Spirit leading me here and your music filling my soul …needed badly today…thank you again

  6. Tony from Pandora

    I just inherited a 1940 Martin 000-18 from my wife’s grandmother who past away in January.

    What maintenance do you do for your 1938 Martin? Does the wear of playing decrease the value? (No I don’t plan on selling, but handing it down to my own children) Just curious…

  7. Kyle Carlson

    Ron, I’d rather listen to you play acoustic guitar than hearing just about anything else. Soulful, stirring, reflective, and beautiful rendition. And what a great hymn!

    Is it too bold of me to ask that you offer this performance as a download?



  8. Ron Block


    Kyle: This was the tester to start my new cd. I’ll include it on the project exactly as is. Sparse instrumental hymns, centered on guitar leads.

  9. Nick and Susan

    “This was the tester to start my new cd.”

    Glad I checked back on here to see if others loved this as much as I did.

    Doing a happy dance in England too! 😀


  10. Kyle Carlson

    OK, I’m more excited now than I was before! You said you recorded it “for fun,” so I didn’t realize it was intended as part of an upcoming project. I will definitely pick this up when it’s ready!



  11. Ron Block


    Kyle: it was just for fun, at first. A day later I was thinking how fast I could do a project with songs that I’ve known and loved for years, done in a very sparse manner.

  12. Jud

    I’m so excited for this project I think I wet myself a little. Been looking forward to more ever since you played “This Is My Father’s World” at Hutchmoot.

  13. Jeremiah Grissom

    Very nice recording Ron. I’ve been playing around with He Leadeth Me on the classical guitar of late, and I agree with the other person’s request. I’d love to hear you do that song as well. That one really moves me.

    There’s a whole lot I think you’d sound great recording, but if I had to request another it would a newer song called Before the Throne of God Above. I’d love to hear your interpretation/recording of that. Peace and great stuff again! God Bless.

  14. Jud

    I hesitate to ask lest this thread degenerate into a list of requests, but ask I will nonetheless: would you consider recording the old hymn “Day by Day (and with each passing moment)”? I fell in love with it when I was six years old, and it’s been a comfort beyond measure ever since.

  15. Ron Block


    Tony from Pandora:

    Our basement has always needed a dehumidifier. We had some flooding last May in the basement due to ground water coming up through a drain in the basement, so we took the opportunity to seal the cement block late last year. My vintage Martins have since had some issues with the tops coming up (behind the bridge) and falling (in front of the bridge where the strings are). I didn’t realize how well the sealing was working until I bought a barometer: it was in the high twenties. A friend who owns many old Martins tells me that 45 percent is where the humidity should be kept, and the guitars need to be in their cases when not being played – not hanging on hooks or on stands in the open air of the room. I bought a humidifier today and am keeping my basement now at 45 percent humidity.

    Hope this helps.

  16. Dan R.

    Because you said you appreciate the requests…

    I don’t know about the theology behind it, but it seems to me that you could do a very good “For the Beauty of the Earth” in this kind of setting. That’s my 2 cents; I hope it’s worth as much or more to you.
    Oh, and I’m eagerly anticipating getting at least 2 copies of this cd when it comes out, so thank you in advance

  17. JWitmer

    The arrangement is beautiful, and your playing humbles me in a comforting sort of way. But the tone! Oh, good heavens… surely God intended guitars like that when He invented trees.

    I hope you play them a lot. =)

    I’m on listen number six, I think. A CD like this would be very welcome in my home.

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