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Serenity

“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.”


We have come to know what is written above as the “Serenity Prayer.” Recovery Programs across the board have prayed this prayer and made this first part really popular, but did you know that’s not the whole prayer? The whole prayer is as follows:


“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 in the next.

Amen.”

Reinhold Niebuhr


Powerful, isn’t it? In a world where we are always grasping for control, we are choosing to surrender. In a world where it is easy to fall prey to fear, we are asking for courage. And in a world where impulsivity takes the win, we are asking for wisdom. We often want to live all of life right now. Plan ahead for next week, next month, next year, the next ten years; nevertheless, we are reminding ourselves to slow down and be intentionally present. We are asking that God help us accept the trials that come our way and allow Him to guide us into a deeper peace with Him. Jesus experienced all the sorrows and pains of this world and more. We have to choose to trust that His ways are higher than our own and that by surrendering to Him, we can experience true happiness here and in heaven.


This prayer is one I pray often, not because there is some special power in it, but because surrendering control is a reminder I need. What do you gain from this prayer? What speaks to you? I invite you to look over the Serenity Prayer and see if any lines stand out to you and talk with God about them. Then, I invite you to pray the Serenity Prayer for yourself, trusting God with everything so that you may experience His peace.

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