The much-loved Peace Prayer of St. Francis embodies a self-effacing dedication to Christ-like ministry in the midst of adversity. It was not written by St. Francis but rather by an anonymous author early in the 20th century. An implied theology of justification by works in lines 14 and 15 undermines this prayer's value as a devotional aid.
Text of the Prayer
Lord make me an instrument of your peace Where there is hatred, Let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, truth; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And 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.
The Peace Prayer is not one of the writings of the saint. Father Schulz reports that it first appeared during the First World War, written on a "holy card" of St. Francis, which was inserted into a Normal Almanac. Although the prayer bore no name it came to be called the Peace Prayer of St. Francis because of this holy card.
Father Schulz, Das sogennante Franziskusgebet. Forshungen zur evangelishen Gebetslitteratur (III), in Jahrbuch fur Liturgik und Hymnologie, 13 (1968), pp. 39-53