The Significance of the Prayer of Saint Francis

Updated on February 12, 2020
FJG de La Guadalupe profile image

A 25 year Army combat veteran who studied Economics at the Eisenhower School and Strategy at the School of Advanced Military Studies.

The Prayer of St. Francis

In Times of Joy and Grief

Few prayers are more important to me than the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis or as it is simply known to most, the Prayer of St. Francis. During times of joy, I sought its humility and gratefulness and during times of grief, I sought its solace and peace.

This prayer is so essential to my life that not a day goes by where I do not recite its words at least once. I even find that there are days where I will pray it unconsciously since it is now so ingrained in my life.

I don’t want to make more of a prayer than one should. In the end, the key thing for us is a strong and devoted relationship to God that emanates his love and brings joy and comfort to those around us. Nevertheless, while God engineers the circumstances of our lives, it is still up to us to make good use of the gifts imparted upon us so we can be a source of joy, strength, and peace for others.

In addition, as you know, none of this will be possible if we don’t have ways to strengthen ourselves mentally and spiritually.

First, please allow me to begin with a little history.


The prayer of St. Francis has a beautiful harmony of words and the generous and joy-filled spirit we have learned of St. Francis of Assisi. However, we should know that St. Francis did not write it. The prayer originated during the early 1900’s by a catholic priest who sought to translate St. Francis’ love to his flock.

According to French scholar Dr. Christian Renoux the prayer first appeared in France in 1912 in a small magazine called La Clochette (the little bell) authored by a Father Bouquerel who incorporated it into his masses where he referred to it as the “Prayer of Peace.”

Even though bishops, cardinals and serving popes, knew the prayer in subsequent decades, the prayer did not become widely circulated until World War II where war wearied soldiers found it comforting and peaceful during the worst time of their life.

The Prayer of St. Francis

What astounds me about the Prayer of St. Francis is its simplicity, making easy to memorize, and its richness for intellectual and spiritual reflection. Intellectual because it makes us think of how we interact with others and spiritual because it speaks to our relationship with God no matter the stage our relationship with Him is in.

The following are my thoughts on my favorite prayer, the Prayer St. Francis.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon,

Like that of Christ, our mission on earth is to bring peace to others along with God’s forgiveness and completeness. Some of us come from great homes. However, others come from broken homes and feel as if life has been against them from the very beginning. This leads them to feel inadequate and incomplete. These first few verses emphasize God’s priorities for our lives. To live in peace, to love, and forgive even when we’ve been wronged. Surely, we, like St. Francis, can serve as an instrument of peace for those around us.

God teaches us to forgive even those who wrong us. I know that this is not easy. I struggle greatly with this. However, love is best expressed when we do not allow ourselves to be offended or injured by a wrong and forgive as easily as God forgives.

When I have a hard time loving or forgiving, I remind myself how much God has to love me to put up with me and forgive on a daily basis. This rather settles everything with that point.

What it comes down to is I. I can control my actions and behavior. Our goal is not for others to love us, but to make ourselves the most loveable people we can be. Wow! This will not be easy. However, let’s give it a try.

Fight Doubt, Despair, Darkness, and Sadness

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And And where there is sadness, joy.

Doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness are like wild fires that threaten everything around us. We need to be like firefighters in such cases and extinguish their flames with all of our might.

Early in his life, Francis found himself in a fog of doubt as God’s love for him. In response, he sought God through prayer and God opened his eyes to a marvelous spiritual relationship.

Because his doubt was now gone, he felt it important to help lift other’s burdens of doubt. He would do this mainly by the example of his life.

Think of Saint Francis and Father Damien of Molokai embracing lepers and lovingly caring for them. Surely, many of those suffering souls felt a surge of hope and human dignity when they experienced Francis’ or Father Damien’s care.

Many believe that the secret of Saint Francis’ joyful spirit was his strong belief in God’s overflowing love and how this love brought value to people’s lives.

Console, Understand, and Love

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.

These last verses tell us how we need to prioritize others in order to enrich their lives as well as ours. When we console others, we are telling them they’re important to us. We share their pain and strengthen them at the same time. We are there when they need us most. What a mission!

Understanding others starts by listening and having brotherly love in our lives. One of humanity’s greatest challenges is being overly judgmental. This makes others weary of us and voids trust. Let’s work on laying aside judgment and seek to understand primarily. It’s not about winning the person over, it’s about sharing a moment and time. We need to stop having so many dogs in the fight.

Let’s give more than we receive. This is something our parents taught us many years ago but we’ve forgotten it. A river is full of life because it continually gives of its waters to feed other bodies of water. And when things are going the most difficult, give of what you have of most value; your time. It’s not about what you might get in return, it is about living well. So never, hold back.

Lastly, be grateful for the life you have. God made you strong enough to live it because we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.

The Takeaway

Francis of Assisi may not have written the words of the prayer attributed to him, but he certainly lived them. This is why it is so easy to attribute the prayer to him.

Everyone who is able to read these words readily sees that they communicate the heart of the Gospels and capture what is most essential in our lives.

The Prayer of Saint Francis is a deep well of wisdom that can help grow and mature our mental and spiritual lives. We would be wise to visit it often.

© 2020 Fernando Guadalupe Jimenez


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)