We’ve all heard of the Serenity Prayer. Familiar as the Lord’s prayer to some and part of our culture for decades, yet most don’t know the prayer in its entirety.
We are familiar with the shortened mass-marketed one, seen in every bookstore, on every card table at garage sales, as plaques in thrift stores, and inscribed on mugs across the world. This overproduced version is only a portion of this reflective and meditative prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Have you ever seen the entire Serenity Prayer?
I learned about the full prayer when I began the curriculum of Celebrate Recovery years ago.
The prayers’ author is Rienhold Nieburh and his daughter, Elizabeth Sifton says her father was a deeply committed Christian and social activist. She asserts that he also was an evangelical who believed not so much in liturgical prayers but in prayers that were motivated by the Spirit.
The prayer was not intentionally written for addicts, as it is now mostly applied in our modern times. Alcoholics Anonymous adapted the prayer, but only the first portion of it. Celebrate Recovery has the prayer, in its entirety, in the front of its step books.
A significant discovery I made when exposed to the entire prayer was it gives honor to Jesus. Jesus is the only One who can understand our human suffering. Likewise, He’s the only One who can redeem suffering, though this does require our cooperation through surrender. This is the entire prayer.
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
Perhaps this prayer can serve as a tool for your walk with the Lord. It is not scripture, though scripture can apply to the principles mentioned. It is not magical and carries no power, but it can serve as a reminder of our humanity. Indeed, it clarifies who our Higher Power is, or may I say, who the Highest power is.
His name is Jesus.
For some additional information behind the story, you may enjoy this interview from Nieburh’s daughter from a few years back.
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
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