Prayer Focus

Prayer of St. Francis (English translation, 1912)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me show 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.
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. Amen.

Prayer is conversation with God that involves listening as well speaking. I admit to spending more time speaking than listening. Anyone else want to own up, too? I suspect God isn’t too surprised about my lop-sided percentages. Prayer is for my benefit. For me, prayer is the time with the Teacher who sifts through the emotions and I end with the peace of the Truth. I hear the truth of the situation but also the truth of Who He is in the situation.

Too often I begin my time of prayer asking God to change a situation; change someone so they are better. The most powerful prayers, the ones I think God really wants to hear and answer, are the ones when I ask Him to change my character. Unfortunately it is easier, for me, if God will change the circumstance instead of changing me. For me to change, it’s hard work. Takes some spiritual, emotional, and often even physical, exercise! But having Jesus as my life coach ROCKS! Jesus got ready for His mission, didn’t He? Remember the mission for which Jesus trained? Yes, if I follow Him, I will be ready for whatever comes.

St. Francis’ prayer is major spiritual aerobic exercise. If I say it and mean it, I will be asking God to change me. Like Paul, I lament that I do the things I do not want to do and do not do what I do want to do (Romans 7). It is the power of God’s Spirit that can change that lament into joy. I become what God has created me to be. I will be offering this prayer to God as a desire of my heart. Jesus and I will be exercising together!

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