My Soul in Stillness Waits

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” this Advent hymn by Marty Haugen is based on the Medieval “O Antiphons.” Each verse focuses on a different name and character of the coming King. Consider using a different verse for each verse of Advent, perhaps pairing it with the corresponding verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”


Greg Scheer

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song refers to Jesus Christ in stanza 1 as “our only hope of glory.” This concept seems to carry all the rest with it. Similarly, Our Song of Hope centers on Jesus Christ, as “our hope of glory as well.” “We are a people of hope” it says (stanza 1) and “we know Christ to be our only hope” (stanza 2) and “our only hope is Jesus Christ” (stanza 3). But it declares even more broadly that “Jesus Christ is the hope of God’s world” (stanza 4), giving hope for two worlds – in this age and in the age to come (stanza 5)!


My Soul in Stillness Waits

Call to Worship

Our souls magnify the Lord!
Our spirits rejoice in God our Savior!
The mighty One has done great things for us!
Holy is God’s name!
Let us worship God.
For God is our Maker and our Redeemer;
from generation to generation God gives mercy.
—based on Luke 1:46-50
[Reformed Worship 57:10]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
As we enter this season of Advent,
may the love of God the Father, and the grace of Jesus the Son,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with us all.
[Reformed Worship 57:4]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Faithful God, we wait for you to come.
We know that you will
because you already have
and because you promised to return.
While we wait, send your Spirit
so that we may grow in grace.
Prepare us for your coming, Lord. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

In this Advent season of waiting on the Lord,
we trust in the Lord’s goodness.
We rely on his mercy.
We find shelter in his steadfast love.
In this Advent season of waiting on the Lord,
we walk in the Lord’s way.
We follow his example of love.
We keep our covenant promises.
In this Advent season of waiting,
Lord, forget our sins.
Remember your love.
Remember each one of us.
Remember your people everywhere.
In this Advent season of waiting,
Lord, we wait for your salvation.
We wait for your leading.
We wait for your coming.
—based on Psalm 25:1-10
[Reformed Worship 9:22]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

O send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God. Amen.
—from Psalm 43:3-5, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Gracious God,
sometimes we see your hand in little events,
and sometimes we see it in the broad sweep of history.
Stir our hearts, that we might be people of hope;
help us seek you in your Word;
and keep us from growing weary as we wait—
that we may not miss the glory of your appearing.
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord, in these days of trials and troubles,
help us to keep our lamps trimmed and burning.
Though the bridegroom may tarry,
help us stay awake through the night
so that on that day and hour we do not know,
we might find the door opened for us,
and greet our Lord with praise and adoration,
as he welcomes us to eternal life with him. Amen.
—based on Matthew 25:1-13
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

My Soul in Stillness Waits

Tune Information

d minor


Musical Suggestion

The text of “My Soul in Stillness Waits” introduces several names of the Messiah. Consider adding one stanza each Sunday during Advent, as follows: The first week the choir introduces stanza 1. In the second and following weeks the choir or a soloist sings the stanzas (a new one added each week) and the congregation joins in on the refrain. For placement in a bulletin, include the music of the refrain only, and simply print the text of the verses, adding one each week.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 53)
— Emily Brink

A song of poignant yearning, the archaic text and nearly modal harmonies give this song a lovely ancient sound, as if we have been waiting for Christ’s coming a long, long, time. Since we wait in “stillness,” keep the tempo quiet. If your congregation is sensitive to following musical leadership, ritard significantly during the first line of the refrain, coming to a lengthy pause on “waits” before resuming tempo on “surely.” A solo instrument on the melody is a nice touch. Use on with a timbre that matches the piece: an oboe or viola. If using a guitar, gently fingerpick, following the pattern established in the keyboard part, hammering the first string from e to f on the Dm9 chord. 

My Soul in Stillness Waits

Hymn Story/Background

This text of longing is based on Psalm 62:5 and four of the seven "O" Antiphons—medieval prayers sung during Advent (and the basis for the hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"). The antiphons (similar to refrains, but beginning the song) lead to the verses that each begin with "O" followed by one of Christ’s titles: Lord of Light, Spring of Joy, Root of Life, and Key of Knowledge.
A song of yearning, the ancient text references and modal melody give this song a lovely poignant sound, as if we have been waiting for Christ’s coming a long, long, time. To wait in "stillness," keep the tempo "quiet" also, and linger on the word "waits" before resuming the tempo on the confession, "truly my hope is in you."

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
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