Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. Romans 6:13 NIV
If you have spent even just five minutes with our youngest daughter, you would know that her favorite historical figure is Martin Luther. In fact, when we were preparing for our recent family trip to Italy, she refused to go until we told her that Martin Luther had traveled to Italy to buy indulgences before the Reformation. After she was aware that Luther had traveled there, she was 100% on board! One amusing part of our trip to me–and apparently to other eavesdropping chuckling tourists was when our daughter would repeatedly ask if the statues or paintings we saw at the Vatican were of Martin Luther. When I finally told her she would not find any accolades to Martin Luther there, she was very disappointed!
I was soon to experience a little disappointment of my own. As a protestant, I don’t have a great knowledge of the Catholic Popes or of their many saints; but since my late high school/early college years, I have often prayed the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. To say that it influenced my life significantly would be an understatement. So much so, that we purchased train tickets from Rome to the hilltop town of Assisi so that we could spend the day at the birthplace of St. Francis. The town was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
Photo Source: L. Hempel
Photo Source: L. Hempel
We took a city bus to the top of the village then walked down the geranium strewn streets to the bottom of the town where the mortal remains of St. Francis lay in a crypt at the Basilica of St. Francis.
Here lay the remains of the man whose passionate heart cried out this amazing 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 discord, harmony;
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.
…or so I thought. The remains of St. Francis of Assisi were indeed in the tomb, but as it turns out, he was NOT the author of my favorite and life changing prayer! Through many gift and souvenir shops in Assisi, I searched for something with this prayer and found nothing. Later, upon researching the origin of the prayer, I discovered that it first appeared only in 1912! The author of the prayer is a mystery which scholars are still trying to solve.
As I was working through my disappointment, it occurred to me that nothing important had really changed. Countless times in my weakness, I have cried out this prayer to God from my heart. And every time, God heard it as The Peace Prayer of Lisa Hempel of Kennewick!
In a warring world of international discord, national political dissension, family strife, and personal turmoil, peace is more necessary and yearned for than ever before. What if every believer prayed this prayer and sought to be God’s instrument of righteousness? We know the answer to this question! God’s Word proclaims, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Today, will you join with me and make this your prayer, The Peace Prayer of INSERT YOUR NAME of INSERT YOUR TOWN ? LH