Healer of Our Every Ill

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Any song or testimony about the cries that comes from our nations and cities must be met with confessional statements about the mission of the church as listed here.
Our World Belongs to God, paragraphs 41-43 are explicit and pointed about the mission of the church: “In a world estranged from God, where happiness and peace are offered in many names and millions face confusing choices, we witness—with respect for followers of other ways—to the only one in whose name salvation is found: Jesus Christ.”
Later, Our World Belongs to God, paragraphs 52-54 point to the task of the church in seeking public justice and functioning as a peacemaker: “We call on our governments to work for peace and to restore just relationships. We deplore the spread of weapons in our world and on our streets with the risks they bring and the horrors they threaten…”
The Belhar Confession, section 3 calls the church to be a peacemaker, and section 4 calls the church “to bring about justice and true peace.”
Our Song of Hope, stanza 10 calls the church to seek “the welfare of the people” and to work “against inhuman oppression of humanity.”

Introductory/Framing Text

A gentle prayer, this song is corporate in scope while tenderly intimate. In the midst of suffering, it asks for healing—not physical healing or a removal of life’s difficult circumstances, but rather for God’s peace and comfort (st. 1), vision to see God’s grace in the midst of pain (st. 2), strength to love (st. 3), and hearts of compassion (st. 5). Published in 1987 in Gather, GIA Publication Inc.’s initial collection of contemporary worship songs, this endearing and serene song is one of Haugen’s most loved, sung often at healing and funeral services. He wrote it in the winter of 1986 at Holden Village, a retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, for singing in a service soon after learning of the crash on January 28 of the space shuttle Challenger, in which seven astronauts died.
— Emily Brink

Additional Prayers

Compassionate Healer,
you know the depths of human grief and the intensity of human pain.
Jesus suffered in agony on the cross so that we could know the extent of your love.
You hear our prayer. Support us as we wait for your healing.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Tune Information

D Major
8.8.9 refrain

Musical Suggestion

Typical of Haugen’s style, this song could be sung by two groups: everyone singing the refrain, and single voices or a choir on the stanzas. The accompaniment is clearly composed for piano rather than organ; guitar and piano together would be very appropriate.
Consider using this song as a part of the congregational prayer. It may be sung as intercession for a particular healing need in your congregation but is appropriate at any time, especially the last two stanzas. In fact, the refrain could be sung independently as a prayer response after different spoken petitions for healing, perhaps interspersed with one or more of the stanzas.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 58)
— Emily Brink

Author and Composer Information

Marty Haugen (b. 1950), is a prolific liturgical composer with many songs included in hymnals across the liturgical spectrum of North American hymnals and beyond, with many songs translated into different languages. He was raised in the American Lutheran Church, received a BA in psychology from Luther College, yet found his first position as a church musician in a Roman Catholic parish at a time when the Roman Catholic Church was undergoing profound liturgical and musical changes after Vatican II. Finding a vocation in that parish to provide accessible songs for worship, he continued to compose and to study, receiving an MA in pastoral studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota. A number of liturgical settings were prepared for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and more than 400 of his compositions are available from several publishers, especially GIA Publications, who also produced some 30 recordings of his songs. He is composer-in-residence at Mayflower Community Congregational Church in Minneapolis and continues to compose and travel to speak and teach at worship events around the world.
— Emily Brink