Although St. Francis of Assisi is commonly credited with composing the St. Francis peace prayer, no real evidence exists to suggest he wrote it. It's a prayer for selflessness, which asks God to help the one praying to seek less and give to others. The prayer ends with the contrasting principles that "it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life."Continue Reading
The major theme of the prayer is a plea to God to allow the person praying to be an instrument of God's peace and, in so doing, to see what is wrong in the world and make it right. Another name for this Christian prayer is "Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace," which are words from the first line. St. Francis lived during the 13th century, but the prayer is only traceable back as far as 1912 in France.
The prayer's first appearance in the United States was in 1927 when it was translated into English in the Quaker magazine "Friends' Intelligencer." The author is not known. In present times, the words are frequently used as a prayer and have also been set to music and sung as a hymn. The musical form was used as part of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. Alcoholics Anonymous uses references to the prayer in its 12-step program, and politicians have often invoked the prayer in public settings.Learn more about Christianity