The prayer of Saint Francis is a lovely and powerful prayer that can heal damaged marriages. It has been spoken by Mother Teresa and countless world leaders. In listening to Wayne Dyer recently on his “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem,” he provides a special insight and relevance into the words attributed to St. Francis. It doesn’t matter if you are religious, spiritual or even atheist; the words of the prayer offer a way of living that encourages peace and harmony for all people.
The Prayer of Saint Francis and Marriage
Daniel Horan, OFM, wrote an excellent article about the Prayer of St. Francis on the Huffington Post. He explains the origin of the prayer and why it is attributed to Saint Francis. As he explains, the words offer a way of life that is centered on peace, not conflict. In so many marriages there is too much conflict and anger.
When I listen to the way a person talks about their marriage, it is often full of blame and anger. We so often want to point fingers where the pain we feel is caused by someone else. The unhappiness we experience is the fault of someone or something else. I hear things like:
He just doesn’t love me the way he used to.
All she does is nag me all the time. Nag. Nag. Nag.
However, at some point in time earlier, there was love and happiness. Something happened. Something slowly changed. That slow change towards conflict is important to recognize and accept a share of the responsibility. The change out of conflict and anger is going to take a change in behavior.
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The Prayer of Saint Francis
Below in bold is the prayer of St. Francis. The content in (…) is my comment.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
(Not grant ME peace, but rather let me bring peace to others)
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
(Give love even where there is hatred or being hated)
Where there is injury, pardon;
(Forgive/pardon when others or you are injured)
Where there is error, the truth;
(Speak the truth where gossip and lies are spread)
Where there is doubt, the faith;
(Give certainty where there is uncertainty or distrust)
Where there is despair, hope;
(Give hope when someone is depressed or feeling lost)
Where there is darkness, light;
(Expose the truth where there is evil and corruption of truth)
And where there is sadness, joy.
(Bring happiness where there is sorrow)
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.
Prayer Sung by Sarah MacLachlan
Put it Into Motion
Putting the prayer of Saint Francis into motion is not an easy task, especially if your marriage is already suffering. The most important thing it will take is a change in your thinking. Thinking, you may ask? Absolutely! Too often when we are stuck in the mire of a problem we focus on the problem. Focusing on the problem just yields more of the same problem. We need to change our thinking to the solution of the problem. We need to stop talking to others about the problem and start focusing our mind on the solution: peace and harmony.
Men, you need to stop thinking about your needs and start thinking about the needs of your wife. Focus on her. Focus on what you used to do when you were dating and early in your marriage. She needs you to do a lot of little things that make her feel loved. Give her the peace she needs. She is feeling depressed and lonely. Give her hope and something to be happy about. When you do this, you will get the respect you need.
Women, stop nagging your husband about every little or big thing he does wrong. Think about and look for the things he does right and give him respect for whatever he does right. Build him up privately and publicly. Go back to your dating and early marriage years and think about what you did and said to him. Repeat those words and actions. If you give him the respect and significance he needs, you’ll find him giving you the love you so desire.
Focus your mind on the solutions as written in the prayer of Saint Francis, not the problems.