The 11th step prayer can be used as a personal transition point, encouraging individuals let go of self-centredness, and to begin to deepen their spiritual connection away from the mind and ego.
Peace away from the mind
By seeking guidance through prayer and meditation, individuals are acknowledging the limitations of the mind and surrendering to a higher power or a greater wisdom. This is often viewed as a shift away from ego-driven behaviours and a movement towards humility and selflessness. The process of seeking knowledge away from self will aligns with the idea of living in accordance with nature and helping others, which are key aspects of a spiritual journey.
The 11th Step bridge
In essence, the 11th step serves as a bridge into step 12, away from self-centred behaviour towards a more spiritually centred and altruistic way of life. The 11th step prayer encourages individuals to not only maintain their own peace but also actively start participating in helping others on their paths to recovery, embodying the principles of service and selflessness that are fundamental to many 12-step programs.
The 11th Step prayer is a tool
The prayer begins with a focus on setting intentions for peace, which is a fundamental step in any meditation practice. By expressing a desire to be an instrument of peace, individuals begin to develop a clear goal towards reaching harmony away from the ego.
The prayer encourages individuals to reflect on their own behaviours and attitudes, seeking to replace hatred with love, injury with pardon, and despair with hope. This self-reflection is a crucial aspect of starting to become aware of the inner workings of the mind that can hold back spiritual growth.
Acknowledging One’s Role
The prayer emphasises the importance of taking personal responsibility, and not desiring anything external to find peace. It reminds individuals that they have the power to make positive contributions to the world and that they already have everything they need.
Empathy and Compassion
By praying for others to receive love, pardon, and consolation, we are reminded of the value of empathy and compassion. These qualities are an essential tool for being able to step away from the ego. Consider using a shorter daily mantra to remind yourself that all suffering comes from the mind.
The prayer’s emphasis on seeking to understand rather than be understood promotes open dialogue and reconciliation between individuals or groups with differing perspectives. It is a reminder that everyone is equal, and that we should work to offer goodwill to everyone, both friend or enemy.
The 11th step prayer for inner and outer peace
Ultimately, the 11th step Prayer serves as a tool to find inner peace. By cultivating qualities of love, forgiveness and hope, individuals can experience a stable inner harmony, which can then radiate outward and contribute to peace in their interactions with others and in the world at large.
The full 11th step prayer (also known as the Prayer of Saint Francis)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.