James Procter, dates unknown
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
This song is the testimonial hymn of an avowed atheist who led others in a vain search for the true meaning of life before finding his answer in Jesus. James Proctor grew up in a Christian home and attended church and Sunday school regularly in Manchester, England. In his teens, however, he began to read extensively the writing of infidels and a group called The Free Thinkers. Gradually his faith in God began to be shaken. Eventually James renounced all interest in Christianity. He joined the Free Thinkers’ Society and soon became its president.
Some time later, James Procter became seriously ill and feared that he would not live. Finally in desperation, he called for a minister of the gospel, who came to Procter’s bedside and led him to a definite conversion. Soon after this, as Procter’s sister sat beside his bed, he asked her to locate in his dresser two verses he had written earlier. Then he dictated to her with great excitement the closing two verses of “In Jesus.” James wanted these lines to be particularly meaningful to his many friends in the Free Thinkers’ Society as they would read his personal testimony.
Procter’s faithful sister took her brother’s poem to the well-known musician and composer, Robert Harkness, while he was assisting R. A. Torrey in an evangelistic campaign at the time in Manchester. Mr. Harkness soon completed the music while traveling to another meeting in London.
Every man has a god—even the atheist—a “no-god.” The tragedy is that man becomes like his god—he grows into the image of what he worships and serves. That’s why we must be “In Jesus.”
I’ve tried in vain a thousand ways my fears to quell, my hopes to raise; but what I need, the Bible says, is ever, only Jesus.
My soul is night, my heart is steel—I cannot see, I cannot feel; for light, for life I must appeal in simple faith to Jesus.
He died, He lives, He reigns, He pleads; there’s love in all His words and deeds; there’s all a guilty sinner needs forever more in Jesus.
Tho’ some should sneer, and some should blame, I’ll go with all my guilt and shame; I’ll go to Him because His name, above all names is Jesus.
For Today: Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalm 10; 34:6; 94:3; John 17:3
Be prepared to enter into a conversation with someone who is struggling with doubts about the existence of God and a personal faith in Him. In a non-judgmental way, seek to answer these questions from your own experience. Learn and sing this little testimonial song written by a former atheist—