I find the Prayer of St. Francis to be a helpful prayer as a caregiver. That prayer grounds me and gives me direction. To pray it seriously is to know that I am never without a purpose and definition for my day. Persons of all faith traditions can pray it. This prayer calls me to claim my larger purpose in the midst of my mundane life. It calls me to be more than myself, to get beyond being sorry for myself. Helen Keller framed it well when she said: “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”
As I try to let St. Francis’ prayer take hold in my life each day, my whole identity and sense of life’s meaning is reframed. The prayer reminds me that the world and my situation in life are no longer enemies—my circumstances no longer a cruel sentence.
The prayer reclaims the world as a place where I live, work and serve with purpose and meaning. I am no longer passive. I am an active instrument seeking to make life less cruel. When I encounter hatred, injury, despair, doubt and sadness, my role is to sow seeds of love, pardon, hope and comfort. If I can allow myself to be made so, I shall be so—at least more often than not.
Many prayers can provide perspective for our lives. Holding them close to us can eventually transform our vision of each day and each small action we embrace as caregivers.
The Prayer of St. Francis: A prayer for caregivers
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
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.”
—St. Francis of Assisi
For more insight & help
This comes directly from a chapter of my book about prayer. If you would like to learn more, please take a look at my book, Guide for Caregivers. Guide for Caregivers is designed to restore balance to your spirit—to replace sadness with laughter, fear with hope, exhaustion with vitality, mourning with gratitude, emptiness with joy and burnout with a rekindled passion.