The Prayer of St. Francis

More than a handful of faithful GraceWaves readers have remarked that they wish I had printed The Prayer of St. Francis I referenced in this week’s offering. I’d thought about doing exactly that but wanted to keep from adding to an already lengthy GraceWave.

A further encouragement today has prompted me to send it out to you. So, the prayer is printed below, and I do encourage you to pray it regularly and even commit it to memory. It is such a comfort to me when I wake up in the middle of the night with events of the day swirling noisily around my head.

A few quick words about the prayer since you’re get an extra edition of GraceWaves this week. There is no official script of the prayer, so the one printed below may be slightly different from forms you may have seen. More surprisingly, the prayer doesn’t appear in any of St. Francis’ writings, and in its present form did not appear until the early 20th century, about 800 years after St. Francis.

Further, the Franciscans (the order St. Francis founded) do not include it among the prayers of St. Francis. Some historians have noted that the prayer in many ways is very un-St. Francis for it has a great many first-person pronouns which would be atypical of the Franciscan focus on God and others.

Still, the prayer is a wonderful expression of a heart that is both tuned to God and concerned to bring His peace into the world through enlightened and submissive individuals. In this way the prayer certainly honors both the spirit and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in whose name we pray…

Lord make me an instrument of your peace.                                                                                                                                                                       Where there is hatred, let me sow love.                                                                                                                                                                           Where there is wrong, a spirit of forgiveness.                                                                                                                                                                 Where there is discord, harmony.                                                                                                                                                                                      Where there is error, truth.                                                                                                                                                                                                 Where there is doubt, faith.                                                                                                                                                                                                Where there is despair, hope.                                                                                                                                                                                             Where there are shadows, light.                                                                                                                                                                                        Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may seek                                                                                                                                                                                   To comfort, rather than to be comforted.                                                                                                                                                                                To understand, rather than to be understood.                                                                                                                                                                       To love, rather than to be loved.

For it is by giving that we receive.                                                                                                                                                                                              It is by forgiving that we are forgiven.                                                                                                                                                                                       It is by dying that we rise to eternal life.                                                                                                                                                                                    Amen