by: Rich Vaughan
If anyone would ask a Christian today what is your greatest prayer, I think all of us would answer without hesitation, The Lord’s Prayer. How do you top a prayer voiced by Jesus, and used by Him to teach his disciples and we who would follow, how to pray? The answer is: you don’t! It is the greatest prayer ever prayed and one I have begun working as a sermon scheduled for the last Sunday in September (the 27th). However, I have just started working on it, and if something happens in our world, nation, state, or community, (or a nudge by the Holy Spirit), that needs to be addressed spiritually, well that sermon could be changed to another time. With all that said, what would you consider the SECOND GREATEST CHRISTIAN PRAYER?
My answer would be the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
“Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
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 might 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.”
For me, this is the perfect discipleship prayer. It defines how we as Christians should live and how we as a church should operate! Now interestingly enough, the prayer was not written by St. Francis of Assisi. In fact, it was not seen until 1912 when it was published in “La Clochette” (The Little Bell), a small French spiritual magazine published monthly from 1901-1919 by the Roman Catholic Church. It is thought that the author of the prayer was Father Esther Bouquerel, who was the editor of “La Clochette”. It became associated with St. Francis of Assisi because the prayer reflects the same theology and life style that St Francis lived and shared. St Francis was born in Italy around 1181-1182 and died in 1226.
It doesn’t matter that he did not pen the prayer that has his name attached to it. What matters are the words. In this crazy year of 2020, if we as Christians and the church would sow love, share faith, offer hope, give light, and spread joy what a difference we could make! Instead of getting angry every time you see a news item or a post that you don’t agree with, try to understand the another’s viewpoint. You may not agree with their point but at least try and understand it. That goes for Conservative and Liberal Christians, Republican and Democratic Christians. That goes for Black and White and any other color you want to add, people! Maybe then we will understand the words “console, pardon, giving, and born to eternal life”. Amen? Amen.