Songs for Healing

by Bret Hesla

Singing is important when you’re going through times of struggle, illness, and despair.

This collection includes 20 songs of healing, hope and encouragement. Whether you’re singing by someone’s side, or in a group longing for hope and healing, there’s a song in here I think you could use. I compiled this resource with hospital chaplain and friend Bill Dexheimer Pharris (see reviews below). We hope you can use these songs. Thanks. — BH.

Find a song below. Listen. Download.

Order a hardcopy to keep in your backpack.

Photo by Emma Harper


“In my 25 years as a hospital chaplain, there are two songs I have turned to again and again, to sing with patients of a wide variety of spiritual traditions:  Bread for the Journey and Lake of Mercy, composed by my friend Bret Hesla.  Both these songs, with simple melodies that seem to sing themselves from the first time they are heard, consistently evoke images and experiences of healing and wholeness during times when there is hope for physical healing, and just as readily in the sacred context of letting go at end of life. I have sung them hundreds of times but for me they have never become tiresome or stale, for they always seem to bring joy and strength to others at first hearing.”

Bill Dexheimer Pharris, MDiv, BCC

Staff Chaplain Spiritual Health Services, M Health Fairview, University of Minnesota Medical Center

“I have been using Bret Hesla’s song “Lake of Mercy” for over twenty years with my hospice patients and it always brings a sense of peace, hope and calm. I have sung it at bedsides as well as memorial services, and have incorporated it into music assisted relaxation sessions countless times. In my opinion, it is a number one “must have” song for hospice music therapists. The song “May You Rest” is a close second. Bret has graciously shared numerous other songs with hospice music therapists in Minnesota, and through his music he continues to bring peace and comfort to many.”

Becky Pansch, MT-BC

Fairview Hospice Music Therapist, Minneapolis, Minnesota