The Serenity Prayer

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 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.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4284976

 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

God’s Secret Agents

Years ago, I was exposed to prayer walking in a foreign country. Until then, I’d never heard of prayer walking. Certainly mobilizing to go half way around the world to do it didn’t match my idea of a hands on mission task. The team leader assigned a book (Prayer Walking by Stephen Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick), and the team practiced in his neighborhood prior to the trip. The main theme of this book was praying on-site with insight.

We learned to notice wheelchair ramps, children’s toys in yards, multiple cars in driveways, someone on their porch or in their yard, a political sign, a well-manicured yard. These and other things were clues for how to pray on-site with insight.

So, what does one pray when prompted seeing a well-manicured yard? You can thank God they care for their property and ask God to help them to understand there is a Creator. Ask the Father to convict them and to desire His beauty in their soul.

Sometimes walking isn’t possible. Prayer riding is just as effective. The speed of the road doesn’t hinder the ability to see clues around you…the speeding motorcycle, people on the side of the road, the elderly driver, the one texting, police driving by… As you begin to make it a practice, you’ll find there is no end to what the Spirit will let your eyes see, notice, and discern. For example, you may pass a crash. Ask God to bring peace to the situation and to give all involved wisdom. Pray for anyone who doesn’t know the Lord to cry out to Him to be saved.

A few times a year, I try to take the ladies of Buried Treasures Home on a Prayer Ride. Our time is more structured because I’m trying to bring awareness to them of how they can pray for their community in the future. This structure is useful if you’re trying to teach children or adults the importance and give the awareness of praying for their city.

This is what I do for a scheduled prayer ride:

  • I google how to pray for local churches, government offices, police and fire stations, your local shopping center, nursing homes, etc.
  • I make copies of these ideas and pass them out in the van before we leave.
  • We pray before we leave the property for God to help us see with spiritual eyes and to teach us what to pray.
  • I drive to the first destination, park in a place out of the way, but where we can still see it. Different ones individually pray out loud and when we’re finished we drive away to the next destination.

5 reasons to prayer ride or prayer walk:

  1. It opens the way for God to work. Evil is prevalent even in the most charming places. Ever since the Garden, evil has desired to interfere and disrupt all that is good on this earth.
  2. You get to pray for where you live! It’s where God has planted you. Caring for your territory and the geography you occupy is deeply connected to stewardship. Other than voting in the elections and your involvement in your local church, I know of no better way to be a good citizen.
  3. It gives you a sense of ownership for where you live. You are part of the solution for your neighborhood or your town to be protected from evil and to succeed. Our neighborhoods and towns belong to us, God’s people.
  4. Prayer is powerful, and praying for where you live gives you hope. Your spiritual eyes are opened and you care for where God’s placed you. Even if you don’t see an immediate answer, I believe evil is thwarted because of prayer.
  5. Your love for humanity will bloom. We all grow cold and aloof to this dark world and praying in this way softens your heart for all people.

Consider doing this. The next time you have your children or grandchildren in the car, tell them to look around and tell you what they see. Turn their observations into prayers. As you go to work, or run errands, keep your blood pressure down in traffic by praying aloud in your car for those around you.

Prayer is a quiet activity, but never doubt the power of your prayers. You are God’s secret agent in your community. Let prayer be part of your everyday life and watch God work while you pray on-site with insight.

Prayer walking is an intriguing concept. The general idea is that instead of moving blindly from one place to another, you spend your walking looking at what the world is actually doing around you. As you observe more closely, you see things, people and even areas to be prayed for, and pray for them as you walk. Graham Kendrick

 

God’s Secret Agents

Years ago, I was exposed to prayer walking in a foreign country. Until then, I’d never heard of prayer walking. Certainly mobilizing to go half way around the world to do it didn’t match my idea of a hands on mission task. The team leader assigned a book (Prayer Walking by Stephen Hawthorne and Graham Kendrick), and the team practiced in his neighborhood prior to the trip. The main theme of this book was praying on-site with insight.

We learned to notice wheelchair ramps, children’s toys in yards, multiple cars in driveways, someone on their porch or in their yard, a political sign, a well-manicured yard. These and other things were clues for how to pray on-site with insight.

So, what does one pray when prompted seeing a well-manicured yard? You can thank God they care for their property and ask God to help them to understand there is a Creator. Ask the Father to convict them and to desire His beauty in their soul.

Sometimes walking isn’t possible. Prayer riding is just as effective. The speed of the road doesn’t hinder the ability to see clues around you…the speeding motorcycle, people on the side of the road, the elderly driver, the one texting, police driving by… As you begin to make it a practice, you’ll find there is no end to what the Spirit will let your eyes see, notice, and discern. For example, you may pass a crash. Ask God to bring peace to the situation and to give all involved wisdom. Pray for anyone who doesn’t know the Lord to cry out to Him to be saved.

A few times a year, I try to take the ladies of Buried Treasures Home on a Prayer Ride. Our time is more structured because I’m trying to bring awareness to them of how they can pray for their community in the future. This structure is useful if you’re trying to teach children or adults the importance and give the awareness of praying for their city.

This is what I do for a scheduled prayer ride:

  • I google how to pray for local churches, government offices, police and fire stations, your local shopping center, nursing homes, etc.
  • I make copies of these ideas and pass them out in the van before we leave.
  • We pray before we leave the property for God to help us see with spiritual eyes and to teach us what to pray.
  • I drive to the first destination, park in a place out of the way, but where we can still see it. Different ones individually pray out loud and when we’re finished we drive away to the next destination.

5 reasons to prayer ride or prayer walk:

  1. It opens the way for God to work. Evil is prevalent even in the most charming places. Ever since the Garden, evil has desired to interfere and disrupt all that is good on this earth.
  2. You get to pray for where you live! It’s where God has planted you. Caring for your territory and the geography you occupy is deeply connected to stewardship. Other than voting in the elections and your involvement in your local church, I know of no better way to be a good citizen.
  3. It gives you a sense of ownership for where you live. You are part of the solution for your neighborhood or your town to be protected from evil and to succeed. Our neighborhoods and towns belong to us, God’s people.
  4. Prayer is powerful, and praying for where you live gives you hope. Your spiritual eyes are opened and you care for where God’s placed you. Even if you don’t see an immediate answer, I believe evil is thwarted because of prayer.
  5. Your love for humanity will bloom. We all grow cold and aloof to this dark world and praying in this way softens your heart for all people.

Consider doing this. The next time you have your children or grandchildren in the car, tell them to look around and tell you what they see. Turn their observations into prayers. As you go to work, or run errands, keep your blood pressure down in traffic by praying aloud in your car for those around you.

Prayer is a quiet activity, but never doubt the power of your prayers. You are God’s secret agent in your community. Let prayer be part of your everyday life and watch God work while you pray on-site with insight.

      • Prayer walking is an intriguing concept. The general idea is that instead of moving blindly from one place to another, you spend your walking looking at what the world is actually doing around you. As you observe more closely, you see things, people and even areas to be prayed for, and pray for them as you walk.
        Graham Kendrick