April 2, 2020

St. Mark’s Healing Prayer (Evening) for Use in Times of Contagion, 2

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Opening Verses

The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and will save those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you, says the Lord.  Isaiah 66:13a

Gathering Prayer

Loving God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: accept our prayers on their behalf, and to those who seek and do the work of healing, particularly in this time of peril and contagion. Grant them the power of your grace, that the weak may be strengthened, sickness turned to health, the dying made whole, and sorrow turned to joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


O Gracious Light  Phos hilaron                        Hymnal 1982 #25[1]


O gracious light, Lord Jesus Christ, in you the Father’s glory shone.

Immortal, holy, blessed is he, and blessed are you his holy Son.


Now sunset comes, but light shines forth, the lamps are lit to pierce the night.

Praise Father, Son, and Spirit: God who dwells in the eternal light.


Worthy are you of endless praise, O Son of God, Life-giving Lord;

Wherefore you are through all the earth and in the highest heaven adored.




O Lord, make speed to save us. O Lord, make haste to help us.



Psalm 77, 1-10[2]               Voce mea ad Dominum

1  I will cry aloud to God; * I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.


2   In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; *my hands were stretched out

by night and did not tire; I refused to be comforted.


3   I think of God, I am restless, * I ponder, and my spirit faints.


4   You will not let my eyelids close; * I am troubled and I cannot speak.


5   I consider the days of old; *  I remember the years long past;


6   I commune with my heart in the night; *  I ponder and search my mind.


7   Will the Lord cast me off for ever? *  will he no more show his favor?


8   Has his mercy come to an end for ever? *  has his promise finally failed?


9   Has God forgotten to be gracious? * has he, in anger, withheld compassion?


10   And I said, “My grief is this: * the right hand of the Most High has lost its power.”


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning is now, *and will be forever. Amen


The Lessons  

Following each lesson, say: Hear ends the lesson. Thanks be to God.


First Lesson

Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11-14a


Second Lesson

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-11


A hymn or canticle from among those below, or as best suits, may follow each lesson.


Lord of All Hopefulness                        Hymnal 1982 #482[3]

There is a Balm in Gilead                     Hymnal 1982 #676[4]

Love divine, all loves excelling          Hymnal 1982 #657[5] 


A Song of the Wilderness  Isaiah 35:1-7,10[6]

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, * the desert shall rejoice and blossom;

It shall bloom like the rose, * and rejoice with joy and singing.

They shall see the glory of the Lord, * the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weary hands, * and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to the anxious, “Be strong, do not fear! * Here is your God, come to save you.”

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, * and the ears of the deaf be unstopped. Then shall the lame leap like a deer, * and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

For waters shall break forth in the wilderness * and streams in the desert;

The parched ground shall become a pool * and the thirsty land, springs of water.

The ransomed shall return with singing, * with everlasting joy upon their heads.

Joy and gladness shall be theirs, * and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


A Song of Christ’s Goodness  Anselm of Canterbury

Jesus, as a mother you gather your people; * you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

You weep for our sins and pride, * you tenderly draw us from hatred and judgment.

You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds, * you nurse us in sickness and with pure milk you feed us.

Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life; * by your anguish and labor we come forth in joy.

Despair turns to hope in your goodness; * in your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.

Your warmth gives life to the dead, * your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us; * in your love and tenderness, remake us.

In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness, * for the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.


A Statement of Faith, A Song of God’s Love (1 John 4:711)


Beloved, let us love one another, *

for love is of God.

Whoever does not love does not know God, *

for God is Love.

In this the love of God was revealed among us, *

that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us *

and sent his Son that sins might be forgiven.

Beloved, since God loved us so much, *

we ought also to love one another.

For if we love one another, God abides in us, *

and God’s love will be perfected in us.


The Collects

A Collect for Healing

God our healer, whose mercy is like a refining fire: by the lovingkindness of Jesus, heal us and those for whom we pray; that being renewed by you, we may witness your wholeness to our broken world; through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Spirit. Amen.

A Collect for Blessing

Almighty God, giver of life and health: Send your blessing on all who suffer from illness, want, or fear, and upon those who minister to them, that all weakness may be vanquished by the triumph of the risen Christ; who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer for Mission

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

A Litany of Healing

Let us name before God those for whom we offer our prayers, either silently or aloud.


God the Father, you will that all people be healed and made whole;

      We praise you and thank you, O Lord.

God the Son, you came that we might have life, and have it to the full;

      We praise you and thank you, O Lord.

God the Holy Spirit, you make our bodies the temple of your presence;

      We praise you and thank you, O Lord.

Lord, grant your healing grace to all who are sick, injured, or disabled;

      Hear us, O Lord of life.

Grant to all who seek guidance, and to all who are lonely, anxious, broken, or despairing, a knowledge of your will and of your presence;

      Hear us, O Lord of life.

Mend our broken relations, and restore us to soundness of mind and serenity of spirit;

      Hear us, O Lord of life.

Bless physicians, nurses, and all who tend the suffering and seek to cure, granting them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience;

      Hear us, O Lord of life.

Grant to the dying peace and a holy death, and uphold by the grace
and consolation of your Holy Spirit those who mourn them;

      Hear us, O Lord of life.

You are the Lord who does wonders:

      You declare your power among the peoples.

With you, O Lord, is the well of life,

      and in your light we see light.

Hear us, O Lord of life:

      Heal us and make us whole.

May God’s love make you whole; may the light of Christ guide your footsteps; and may the presence of the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and remain with you, this night and evermore.


About Episcopal Worship and this Service

Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, along with Holy Baptism, lies at the center of the church’s sacramental life, and has of late become our main form of worship as a community. In times of contagion and quarantine, however, the community may not gather together in person, as such liturgies require. What are we to do?

Fortunately, we have other worship resources suitable for online worship: the Daily Office. It consists of Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline (an end-of-the-day prayer), as well as Daily Devotions, for use by individuals and families. Each office, as they’re called, offers worship of praise and thanksgiving by means of word and song.

In addition, Healing Prayer, like prayers of supplication and penitence, have for many years helped the church face difficult times. When we or those whom we love suffer or are in times of danger and uncertainty, we might feel alone and unsure. Particularly in times when our health requires us to keep at physical distance, gathering as best we can for prayers of healing can help sustain us and reduce our feelings of isolation and fear. The service often makes use of an ancient, but now somewhat uncommon, tradition of understanding Christ as mother.

Vespers (Evening Prayer) is particularly well-suited to Healing Prayer. Evening is a time of reflection, a time to take stock of the day that is ending, be thankful for its blessings, be mindful of the chances and changes of our lives, and remember that even when we are most alone, God is with us, and we with God.

Healing Vespers opens with a call to gather in prayer to recognize our needs and give thanks for those whose are called to be healers. We sing songs and hear readings that remind us of how God has saved people in the past, and that they (we) are always in further need of it. We offer a statement of faith and a song God’s love, appropriate collects (prayers), a Litany of Healing, and a final blessing.

The Healing Vespers you hear in the church’s recorded services may from time to time differ from what is printed above. This leaflet is designed for you to use on your own, in addition to being a guide to worship online. Feel free to adapt it as best suits your and your family’s needs.

The readings for this service, and the prayers you see, come from The Book of Common Prayer and from Enriching Our Worship 1, 2, and 5. You will find links to these free resources below. As of April 2, 2020, all Youtube links given above were accurate.


Resources (available for free online)

Book of Common Prayer, www.bcponline.org

Enriching Our Worship 1, https://www.churchpublishing.org/siteassets/pdf/enriching-our-worship-1/enrichingourworship1.pdf

Enriching Our Worship 2,


Enriching Our Worship 5,


These resources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

The Revised Common Lectionary and Daily Office, https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online Bibles.

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington: www.edow.org

St. Mark’s, Fairland: www.stmarks-silverspring.org


A Prayer in Times of Sickness and Contagion

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health, source of all wisdom and peace: Comfort and relieve your servants who suffer from sickness or fear, give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, and let your grace be with all those who work to protect us from contagion and disease. May we be strengthened against any weakness, sickness, fear, and doubt, and place our confidence in your loving care through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

[1] Hear this hymn, sung by the choirs of St. John’s, Roanoke, VA, and St. Philip’s. Salem, VA, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjt_T38iS7M.

[2] Songs based on this psalm may be heard via the following Youtube links: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw9Fp6XWq7w, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zatMxbhWoi0,

[3] Sung by choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-D_aT8CXyc

[4] Sung by soloist and choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fcMxI_6xsk

[5] Sung by choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GenHMi5B7L4

[6] Sung, as set by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, by the Guildford Cathedral Boys Choir, dir. Barry Rose (2014): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhEZCm75FI8

Hymn version, “The Desert Shall Rejoice”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsyBR7Ehv48