Waiting for a new album to be made publicly available is like a 6-year-old waiting for Christmas morning. And just as a child might be given a gift on Christmas Eve or even earlier to satisfy the need to open at least one present, I always like posting one song in its entirety before the whole album is made available for purchase.
So my gift to you — “Prayer of St. Francis” from my new CD. It’s the only religious song on the album. I plan on doing an all-religious album in the next year or two, but I chose to put “Prayer of St. Francis” on this album because I wanted its message of peace and love to reach all audiences, not just those interested in liturgical music.
I’ve wanted to write a musical version of St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer for years, but every time I sat down to work on a melody, nothing sounded right. Things finally clicked for me late one night in Munich this past spring. I retreated into the bedroom after dinner to play the piano and try and write some new material for the album. I kept the lights off so that I was playing in a mostly dark room. I wasn’t planning on working on this text, but as I started to play the beginning chords, the song sort of just wrote itself from there. From beginning to end, the song took about 5 minutes to write. Sure, there was tweaking afterwards, but the core of the song — the original MP3 of which I still have (I always record my brainstorming sessions so I don’t forget the melodies later) — took only a few minutes to write. Like I said, it just sort of wrote itself, almost as if there was a higher power at work.
As for the recording, I chose to use a guitar instead of a piano. My good friend Chad Griesel recorded both a strummed part and a picked part from his basement in Wisconsin and sent them to me via ‘the Cloud.’ I then layered the two parts and added my voice. I was working on harmonies when I made the decision that this song would be infinitely more powerful with just a solo voice, giving the listener a better reason to truly hear the words.
I hope you find the prayer’s text as inspiring as I always have. And I hope you like my musical interpretation. Enjoy!
Audio of “Prayer of St. Francis”
Lyrics to “Prayer of St. Francis”
Make me an instrument of peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon let me bring.
Where there is doubt, let me sow the awesome power of faith.
Where there’s despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me give light.
When life is sad, let me spread happiness and joy.
And grant that I may
Never so much seek to be consoled as console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love,
To be loved as to love,
As to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
And it is in pardoning, we find our pardon.
And it is in dying that we are born,
Born to eternal life.
Make me an instrument, an instrument of peace.
“Prayer of St. Francis” is a song off of Matt’s newest album, “It’s Time,” a collection of 11 original songs released in January, 2013. For more information on how to purchase, please visit www.mattwesselmusic.com.