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A Song For St Francis

Updated on October 17, 2014

The Prayer of St Francis

St Francis Prayer is such a well known and inspirational prayer, a verse that is has inspired many people to create art and music! The Prayer of St Francis has also inspired many composers. I wrote a song for St Francis too. Last year it inspired me to set it to music and I have since recorded St Francis Prayer. If you read on, I will tell you how I came to write the song. St Francis Prayer is my most popular song and this page is about St Francis. Next to the Lord's Prayer St Francis Prayer is probably the best known of prayers. This is about St Francis Prayer and how it came to be a song for me. I also hope to share some beautiful imagery with you, along with some gentle music I have for you.

At this time, St Francis Prayer has even more significance for me. My father, who was a great fan of St Francis, passed away suddenly this February. He loved this song from my album and we played it for him as his funeral service ended. He was steadfast in his faith and a true Christian in the tradition of St Francis, kind to all animals, gentle with all people and well aware of how God surrounds us in nature. Whenever I hear this song, or the Gaelic blessing which he also loved, I will count my blessings to have had the most wonderful of fathers.

Image credit - cover from St Francis Prayer, photo of Golden Dragonfly taken by myself a Harrison Lake

Who was St Francis anyway?

Why is Saint Francis relevant today?

There cannot be many who have not heard the inpirational story of Francis of Assisi. If you have heard of the Franciscan Order of monks and their vow of poverty you will also have realized a connection here. St Francis, in common with the Buddha in fact, was born to a wealthy family but he eschewed all this for his faith in God and the spiritual life. He had extraordinary respect for life and love of nature referring to God's creations as his brothers and sisters. To me, this was the main reason I developed a childhood admiration for St Francis that has persisted throughout my adult life.

Once when campaigning politically for Westminster I was interviewed by a reporter about my beliefs. She asked me to describe my faith and I said it was close to St Francis. In our world we desperately need to defend nature. We need to save the plants in the jungles that we have been given for medicine, we need to prevent extinction of further species due to human greed.

WJ Hirten E24-314 Prayer for My Pet, Clear Holy Cards
WJ Hirten E24-314 Prayer for My Pet, Clear Holy Cards
So appropriate, as Saint Francis is patron Saint to animals and pets...

We need to get our very existence into perspective and learn to live in harmony with Creation rather than selfishly exploit it. All these were things understood by St Francis with his love of animals and assumption of poverty as a rich way of life. He had discovered an abundance that was both material and spiritual but not conditional on possessions.

Saint Francis DVD For Sale - Saint Francis of Assisi movie

Product Description

Filmed on location in Assisi and other actual locations where St. Francis lived and died, this feature film vividly tells the story of this greatly beloved saint from childhood through his death. Beautifully filmed with outstanding cinematography and fine acting talent, this film stars Italian actor Raoul Bova as Francis and was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Michele Soavi. Captured by the enemy as a soldier and put in prison, he has a life changing experience that inspires him after being freed to abandon his riches and dedicate his life to living the Gospel in simplicity, poverty and charity towards all. This DVD contains the following language options: dubbed in English, Italian with English subtitles, or Spanish subtitles. Also includes a special 16 page Collector's booklet.

Saint Francis
Saint Francis
If you are interested in the story of Saint Francis, you might enjoy this Francis of Assisi movie.

St Francis Prayer is on Flying To meet The Sunrise - St Francis Prayer on my new CD album

Flying To Meet The Sunrise is my new 14 track album. St Francis Prayer is one of the 14 tracks.

Flying To Meet The Sunrise
Flying To Meet The Sunrise
Why is is worth spotlighting? Because I finally did it :D
Golden Dragonfly
Golden Dragonfly

How I came to write and record St Francis Prayer.

And why the Golden Dragonfly....

I learned about Saint Francis in school and the St Francis Prayer was a regular feature in assemblies - in those days religion was not frowned upon. We were told stories about missionaries like Gladys Aylward too. It was a secular school, but the Headmistress liked to give us an uplifting talk each morning! The prayer was a favourite at home too. My mother loves it to this day and so the scene was set that I would one day probably sing my own version.

How it came about was strange. I joined Total Fitness to "Fight the Flab" as Terry Wogan would have said. Total Fitness has a swimming pool (swimming used to be my sport) and a hydrotherapy pool. I would go to swim a mile, then soak in the bubbles and steam in the sauna for a while. The night before this, my mother had reminded me that St Francis Prayer was her favourite. I think it had been read out in church perhaps? Anyway it was planted in my subconscious.

McVan St. Francis of Asssisi Pewter Medal Pendant with Prayer Card 3/4"
McVan St. Francis of Asssisi Pewter Medal Pendant with Prayer Card 3/4"
St Francis medals are very popular. This set includes a pewter St Francis Medal.

When I arrived at the pool I discovered it was closed for essential maintenance, it was a little irritating, but I had been attending Buddhist meditation classes to help with stress so I did a short breathing meditation in the car and drove off feeling reasonably happy under the circumstances. As I drove back along the bypass, the song came to me full force. I sang it and when I got home I headed straight for the computer to "rough it out" with Sibelius software. It is not often that inspiration hits, but when it does perspiration needs to follow and six hours later I had the SATB choral version ready to upload to the Sibelius music website....

And why the Golden Dragonfly? In 2006 I visited Harrison Lake in BC for the first ever time and spotted the dragonfly on a bush. I had no idea that it was even rare, but I did have my digital camera with me and I managed three shots before it left. I felt so privileged to see a dragonfly so close.... It was a natural choice for the image of my song as St Francis would have loved it!

Why not listen to St Francis Prayer on iTunes or you can buy St Francis Prayer on Amazon too - I hope you enjoy it....

St Francis Prayer - Lisa Marie Gabriel - Lord make me an instrument of thy peace....

This is the Amazon release of my version of St Francis Prayer. I hope you will enjoy listening to it.

How long did St Francis Prayer take to write - Inspiration and perspiration in writing a song for St Francis.

The melody came to me almost in a flash. That is not all that unusual for me. Sometimes I worry about it, but then I think artists and composers tap into something far greater than our own souls when we create. Writing the song down was made easier with Sibelius software, it takes time but the results are good. To produce a choral version of St Francis Prayer for SATB took me about 6 hours from start to finish.

Recording the song was actually a lot easier than any other step. I had to find a quiet day when my voice was on form (the hard bit is finding time when you are on form especially when there are so many flu bugs floating around lately). I set up the studio, imported the solo version of the song as a guide and took several takes. When I felt tired and could see no improvement I stopped. The eventual song used the first take. I then exported the vocals back onto the computer. The process took about 2 hours.

I had decided I wanted a string and choral backing. If I were a rich star or a famous producer I could have paid session musicians from an orchestra and backing from a professional choir, but I am neither.... So it was back to Sibelius again. I worked and reworked a new arrangement until I was happy with it. I wanted it to be lush without being heavy. It probably took me another 12 hours to get it right in a rough mix. Then I was ready to play with the files.

The first step was to extract all the individual parts. These had to be saved as wav files, normalised for volume and then "submixed" The submix groupings were upper strings, lower strings, high voices, medium voices and low voices. To this were added drums, piano, harp and individual violin tracks. This process took maybe another 12 hours.

When I had all the submixes ready, I put them into the main mix and panned them to resemble an orchestra "shape" with choir. Drums and vocals were placed in the centre. For more details of this, check out my lens on how to mix vocals successfully.

Another three mixes followed - and some independent ears helped when I got tired - finally I thought I could only go downhill from there and I left it alone! I have just added St Francis Prayer to my jango station where you can hear it for free although the Napster link is higher quality!

Popular Catholic Prayer Cards On Sale - Buy St Francis and St Anthony Prayer Cards

Whether you are looking for the prayer for peace or praying for lost causes or whether you just enjoy prayer cards this is a nice selection.

St. Anthony Prayer Card (RCC 11E)
St. Anthony Prayer Card (RCC 11E)
I have included St Anthony because you don't have to be a Catholic for him to find your lost things! A prayer to St Anthony from my Buddhist friend managed to manifest a neighbour carrying a Persian cat who had disappeared for a week. The desperate measure was recommended by a Catholic friend and apparently never fails!

What makes St Francis special for you? Or do you have another favourite saint? Or perhaps you would simply like to tell me what you think about the lens, or my song? Here is the place! Thank you for visiting!


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