Compassion & The Prayer of St. Francis

by Benjamin Langley on August 15, 2009 · 3 comments

It is by forgiving, that one is forgiven

-The Prayer of St. Francis

compassion, prayer, meditation, heart

The more I study compassion, the more the prayer of St. Francis deeply resonates with me.



It is a prayer of kindness.

It is a prayer of compassion.

It is a prayer that also deeply embodies the same values of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Vow.

How does this seemingly simple prayer achieve all of this?

This is a request for higher power to help you develop the qualities that will maximize your benefit to your fellow members of the human race.

It can begin to bring to the surface the community and connection that already exists deep in all of us and in all things.

One of the most valuable activities we can engage in is giving.

One of the most powerful things we can do for ourselves is to be truly kind and forgiving with others.

The world is our mirror!

This prayer recognizes the reflective nature of all that we do.

  1. When we love ourselves deeply, we reflect that love out to the world… and all those who interact with us get to appreciate it (consciously or otherwise) as well
  2. When we are kind and giving to others, that sincerity and kindness passes through us… the emotions we direct towards others are reflected in ourselves as well.  In addition, there is a wonderful feeling which comes from giving/sharing/loving that leads us back to benefit #1

There are plenty of slightly different versions of this prayer out there (you can find many on the web)… but I’ve included it here, as well.

Read it, and notice how it resonates with you… pay attention to the way it makes you feel.  Like all feelings, I encourage you to accept and enjoy those that arise as you read.

The Prayer of St. Francis


Make me a channel of your peace and wisdom

Where there is hatred, I can bring love

Where there is wrong, I can bring the spirit of forgiveness

Where there is discord, I can bring harmony

Where there is error, I can bring truth

Where there is doubt, I can bring faith

Where there is despair, I can bring hope

Where there are shadows, I can bring light

Where there is sadness, I can bring joy

Lord, grant that I may seek to comfort, rather than to be comforted

To understand rather than to be understood

To love rather than to be loved

For it is by giving oneself, that one finds

It is by forgiving, that one is forgiven

It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life


It puts me in a really good state when I hear this prayer… I feel even better when I read it, and as such, I read it several times per week.  I enjoy reading it before meditation… but this prayer can act as a powerful meditation all by itself.

But where can we use it specifically?

  1. Whenever you see anger or hatred inside yourself or others, begin to bring yourself into a place of love (if you notice that it helps, read the prayer at this time, or during any other challenging time)… you’ll find that your conflicts start to disappear, and people really enjoy your presence more and more.
  2. When you are frustrated with someone… or if you feel someone isn’t listening to you… seek to understand their side of the issue… once you truly feel the understanding of where they are coming from, you may not even care whether they understand what you used to see as ‘your side’… because when we really understand… the different ‘sides’ begin to disappear.
  3. Whenever you feel wronged, see if you can completely forgive the other party… when you are really ready to let go, accept the emotions, and soften the internal tension that goes with anger and judgment… you will get to feel the sublime bliss of forgiveness as well!

Experiencing this prayer is powerful.

It’s a bit like remembering why we’re here!

Enjoy this prayer!

Enjoy your compassion & kindness… offering heartfelt positive feelings to others is one of the best things you can do for yourself…

Funny how that works :-)

keep smiling,


P.S.  My schedule was a little bit too tight this week to do the 101 Proven Tips for Powerful Meditation post (it usually takes me several hours to complete those posts).  I will release part 6 on next Friday (8-21-09).

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