What a friend we have in Jesus (chords, melody with tabs and arrangement)

Last updated on February 8th, 2024


What a friend we have in Jesus is one of the most popular Christian hymns, written by Joseph M. Scriven. This post covers the chords, melody with tabs, and a finger style guitar arrangement.

Grab your guitar and let’s get started!

How to read the guitar chord charts

To clarify how to read the chord charts, the top horizontal line represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string. The vertical lines separate each fret. The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand. 

For example, on the D Major chord, you use the:

  • 2nd finger on the 1st string, 2nd fret
  • 3rd finger on the 2nd string, 3rd fret
  • 1st finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
  • Circles represent open strings
  • On some other chords, X means to avoid the string

You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus – Chords in D Major

The chords you can use for this song are D Major, D 7, G Major, E minor, B minor, A sus 4, A Major, G# dim 7, D/A, G/D, D/F#, and A minor 7.

Here below are the chord charts you can use for this song. Try the following chords one at a time until you feel comfortable switching between them. These chords will be written above the melody in the next section.


Here are some other related resources on chords:

What a Friend We Have in Jesus guitar tabs and chords

The sheet music below includes the tabs and chords which are meant to be played as separate parts. We’ll look at how to connect these parts later in the arrangement section of this post.

The numbers next to some notes on the top staff indicate which fingers to use on the fretting hand. You can refer to this simple guide to understanding music symbols if needed.

By the way, you can get all the PDFs of this song below.




What a Friend We Have in Jesus lyrics

Verse 1:
What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Verse 2:
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!

Verse 3:
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 your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Reference: What a friend we have in Jesus. hymnary.org

What a Friend We Have in Jesus – guitar arrangement

Although some chords have been added or changed into 7th chords for this arrangement, we are essentially putting the melody and chords together using a finger picking method of playing. If needed, check out this post to learn how to finger pick on guitar.




If you like this style of playing, you can check out this post to learn how to connect a melody and chords on guitar.

Get the free guitar practice guide here!

All the best,

JG Music Lessons

This page includes some Amazon affiliate links to products I’ve used and recommend. This means I earn a commission if you click the link and purchase the item, at no additional cost to you!

🎸 Don't have a guitar yet? I recommend this one.

🛠 See my other music recommendations.

🤝 Support the site to help us to create better content for you!

Leave a Comment