Prayers that Changed the World: “An Instrument of your Peace”

By: Lemuel Sandoval

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me bring love.

Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.

Where there is discord, let me bring union.

Where there is error, let me bring the truth.

Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.

Where there is despair, let me bring hope.

Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.

Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O Master, let me not seek as much

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love,

for it is in giving that one receives,

it is in self-forgetting that one finds,

it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,

it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.”

This prayer is usually attributed to Francis of Assisi, an Italian monk who lived about 800 years ago. But the truth is that no one knows for sure if he wrote it or not, because its first written appearance was in a French magazine in 1912; some even say that it is impossible that he wrote it.[1] However, that very fact emphasizes the universality of the prayer. It is not only a prayer that anyone can say, but it is a prayer that calls every Christian around the world to join Jesus’ call to establish peace. When He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Mt 5:9), He was not referring to those who refrain from participating in conflicts. Rather, it is a call for a peace initiative; other versions are translated, for example: Blessed are those who “work for peace.”

From this perspective, it is interesting that this prayer became known and popularized during one of the darkest periods of the contemporary era, in the First and Second World Wars.[2] In those days, world peace was broken in many aspects: armed conflicts, crisis economics and uncertainty. But God answered the prayer of thousands of men and women who said, “Make us instruments of your peace.” And it is not that from then on there are no longer wars, crises, diseases, or thousands of other issues. There always have been and always will be until Jesus returns to definitively establish the Kingdom of God. The truth is that when we pray for the Lord to make our lives instruments of peace, He takes it very seriously. He pours his Holy Spirit into our hearts and sends us out to work for peace in the world. You and I, with our imperfections and mistakes, become instruments in the capable hands of the Master Craftsman to build families, churches, societies and nations founded on peace, transforming the world.

[1] Renoux, Christian. The Origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

Thompson, Augustine (2012). Francis of Assisi: A New Biography

[2] Manning, Kathleen (2017) What do we know about St. Francis, the most popular saint?

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