Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;

where there is sadness, joy.

In these times of division, fighting, and uncertainty, peace sometimes feels out of reach. When I am agitated and distressed, the Prayer of St Francis reminds me to ask God for the peace that only He can provide.

The Prayer of St Francis starts with the famous line, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” The man who wrote it. Francis Bernadone, aka St. Francis of Assissi, started his life with everything the world says will bring peace. He was wealthy and had a fairly carefree life full of entertainment and pleasure. Then, at 20 years old, Francis became ill, and his thoughts shifted to his relationship with God and eternity. 

Eventually, Francis left his lavish lifestyle and found true peace in devoting his life to God. He took an oath of poverty and cared for many suffering people. He compassionately offered people dignity and gave them hope. In his lifetime, St. Francis motivated thousands to rekindle their love of God. And his work lives on today through the Franciscan monks and others who follow Franciscan spirituality. 

If you are experiencing a season of confusion, frustration, or any kind of spiritual warfare, I hope that this prayer can help you find God’s peace amidst the storm and will empower you to share that peace with others.

God’s Peace

Each line of the Prayer of St. Francis is rooted in biblical truth. Let’s use the first half of the prayer to dig into what God says about peace.

Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;

where there is sadness, joy.

  • Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. 

As Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” True peace comes from God. And, if we’re willing, God will equip us to be ministers of His peace to a broken world. The rest of this prayer gives us many examples of how God gives us peace as well as how we can bring peace to others.

  • Where there is hatred, let me sow love. 

What does it look like to plant love in a field of hatred? It sounds difficult! But with God, all things are possible. He can help us turn the other cheek and love our enemies. As scripture tells us, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). 

  • Where there is injury, pardon.

You can’t have peace without forgiveness. This is true both in our relationships with each other and with God. Jesus told us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14). 

  • Where there is doubt, faith.

Have you ever noticed how kind and gentle Jesus was with Thomas when he doubted? Instead of chiding him, Jesus let Thomas feel his hands and feet. God loves us through our doubting and grants the gift of faith to those who ask. And we can encourage others in their faith, too. Thankfully, even a mustard seed of faith is enough (Luke 17:6). 

  • Where there is despair, hope.

When my friends struggle with despair, I say this beautiful prayer from Romans 15:13 over them, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

  • Where there is darkness, light.

Sometimes the darkness of this world seems overpowering. But thankfully, we know that God turns darkness into light (Psalm 18:28). God can use you to be a light in someone’s life by calling to check in, praying over them, or offering to help in some tangible way. 

  • Where there is sadness, joy.

God comforts us in our sadness and equips us to comfort others. In painful, lonely, low times, I remember God’s promise that “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

After that powerful start, the Prayer of St. Francis continues with this:

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.


According to Christianity.com, “the last seven lines [of the Prayer of St. Francis] describe the heart of the Gospels. They also serve as a good set of guidelines to live by every single day. It’s about giving than receiving, and it emphasizes the sacrificial nature of the love of Christ, which we also ought to show to others.” 

What brings true peace?

The Prayer of St. Francis uncovers one of the wonderful paradoxes of faith: when we help others, we find help for ourselves. This is the opposite of what the world teaches. It says that peace is found in selfishly acquiring more and more for ourselves. But, as Francis discovered, a full bank account doesn’t equal a secure heart. God’s peace, on the other hand, comes from selflessly serving others. 

In Philippians 2:3-4, we read about putting others first and doing nothing out of selfish ambition. Rather, in humility, we need to put others and their interests before our own. This is the mindset of Christ Jesus. I wonder if St. Francis was meditating on that passage of scripture when he wrote the Prayer of St. Francis. 

I hope that learning more about this powerful prayer will encourage you to serve others, and I trust that God will supply you with his peace along the way.