The Prayer of Saint Francis
is a Christian prayer
. It is attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi
, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in France
, in a small spiritual
magazine called La Clochette
(The Little Bell) as an anonymous prayer, as demonstrated by Dr Christian Renoux
in 2001 (Cf. Christian Renoux, La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François, une énigme à résoudre
, Paris, Editions franciscaines, Paris, 2001).
The prayer has been known in the United States since 1936 and Cardinal Francis Spellman and the Senator Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II (Cf. C. Renoux, op. cit., p. 92-95). Many different versions of the prayer exist. The most popular is this following one :
- Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
- where there is hatred, let me sow love;
- where there is injury, pardon;
- where there is doubt, faith;
- where there is despair, hope;
- where there is darkness, light;
- and where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master,
- grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
- to be understood, as to understand;
- to be loved, as to love;
- for it is in giving that we receive,
- it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
An alternate translation is found in Chapter 11 (Page 99) of the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", a book published by Alcoholics Anonymous* World Services, Inc.
- Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
- that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
- that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
- that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
- that where there is error, I may bring truth;
- that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
- that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
- that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
- that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
- Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
- to understand, than to be understood;
- to love, than to be loved.
- For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
- It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
- It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
The hymn version of Make Me A Channel of Your Peace is an anthem of the Royal British Legion and is usually sung every year at the Service of Remembrance in November at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
It goes as follows:
- Make me a channel of your peace,
- Where there is hatred let me bring your love,
- Where there is injury your pardon Lord,
- And where there's doubt true faith in you.
- ''Make me a channel of your peace,
- Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope,
- Where there is darkness, only light,
- And where there's sadness, ever joy.
- O Master grant that I may never seek,
- So much to be consoled as to console,
- To be understood as to understand,
- To be loved as to love with all my soul.
- Make me a channel of your peace,
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- In giving to all men that we receive
- And in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The prayer was most famously referenced by Margaret Thatcher
shortly after she won the 1979 United Kingdom general election
. Having "kissed hands" with Queen Elizabeth II
to become Prime Minister
she paraphrased the prayer on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street
, surrounded by a throng of reporters while setting out the aims of her Government.
Musical adaptations of the prayer include those by Sebastian Temple , John Foley, Sarah McLachlan, Moya Brennan, Sarah Hart, Rob Stroh, the Ragamuffin Band, and Peter Torsiello.
Also Mother Teresa and the Roman Catholic religious order she established, the Missionaries of Charity, begin each day by reciting this prayer.
The prayer is recently quoted in the movie Rambo by a priest as he blesses Sylvester Stallone before he sets off into Burma to rescue humanitarian workers. The use of a passage such as this is in a similar context to the use of 17 in the movie Pulp Fiction
The medic Eugene Roe recites part of the prayer in the episode "Bastogne" of Band of Brothers
The prayer was used in a slighlty abbreviated form in the 1972 film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon
- Christian Renoux, La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François, une énigme à résoudre, Paris, Editions franciscaines, Paris, 2001
- Christian Renoux, La preghiera per la pace attribuita a san Francesco, un enigma da risolvere, Padova, Edizioni Messaggero, 2003.
Albert Haase, OFM
, Instruments of Christ. Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2003.