The Serenity Prayer

This simple, and wonderfully universal, prayer has been on my mind and heart a lot over the last few weeks. I decided to do some reading on it and decided to use it as an official post this week. Many of us know it, and can even say it from memory, even if you aren’t particularly religious or prayerful in your daily life.

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.

Reinhold Niebuhr

This prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian and seminary professor, in 1932-33. It became immensely popular rather quickly appearing in magazines, prayer journals, and many other publications. The notion of “serenity” appealed to the higher ideals and spiritual philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous and was officially adopted as their organizational prayer in the 1940’s.

I never realized that the snippet which has become so pervasive and ubiquitous over the last nine decades was only the opening foray. The entire prayer goes like this:

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.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

And here is a cool graphic I found in the source article. If you want to read that article in its entirety, just click the image below.