The Serenity 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.

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.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

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5 thoughts on “The Serenity Prayer

  1. I’m not sure I like the Serenity Prayer, any more. It’s a nice thought. Some of it is good. The first part – the part that is well-known, and what people remember when the words, “The Serenity Prayer” come to mind – are important. We do need to accept what we can’t change, and change what we CAN. We do need God’s wisdom to know the difference. God said, in His Word, that if anyone lacks wisdom, that person can ask, and God will give wisdom, abundantly.

    Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time –
    – This is Scriptural – Matthew 6:34 – we are exhorted to focus on one day at a time.

    Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
    – Not sure about this one. We would probably be mentally, spiritually, and emotionally healthier if we DID. But we serve a God Who saw the world as it was, became flesh, dwelt among us, and died on Calvary just so He could redeem the sinful world and all those who put their faith and trust in Him, through Jesus Christ. That was the plan, all along: Redemption of mankind and a fallen world, the only possible way: death on the Cross.

    Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
    – um, (according to the last 3 chapters of the book of Revelation) God is going to make all things right whether we surrender to His Will or not. That includes dealing with the enemy of God, all the demons, and all those people who rejected Jesus Christ all the way up to the point of their departure from this life and into the next. It’s true that God may not correct or restore everything in the life of someone who turns their back on Him, while that person is alive. But, ultimately, He WILL. God is not handicapped by a person’s refusal to surrender to His Will.

    That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
    – This is a good part. It’s a realistic expectation. One will never be 100% happy, 100% of the time, during this life. However, one can have the joy of the LORD as one’s strength. In Nehemiah 8:10, the prophet told the people to have a celebration. The book of Nehemiah is all about the Israelites repairing the wall of Jerusalem, and the efforts of their enemies at sabotage. The Israelites had to work on the wall while wearing everything necessary for war. The threats of the enemy did not cease with the completion of the wall. The point is that in the middle of a catastrophic event or a circumstance that just plain sucks, one can still feel JOY. It’s not normal to be happy when a beloved family member dies or one is falsely accused of wrongdoing, etc. But one can have the peace of God, that passes all understanding, in the midst of whatever sour situation in which one finds oneself.

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    • Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this article. You have made some very valid points, however I have a bit different viewpoint on “surrender”. That is why this blog is STRUGGLES, NOT Victories. I learned the well-known part of this in SA.

      Those of us who have read “the rest of the story” know that indeed, God WILL make all things new, with or without our permission. We also know that every knee WILL bow, and every tongue WILL confess that Jesus Christ IS LORD. That is the culmination of God’s plan for mankind.

      I believe that this prayer includes an invitation to surrender, which is here-and-now, not in the end. We, who are in Christ, are “holy” before God, not because we live holy lives, but because God sees us through Christ’s holiness. We are also “saints”, not because we live saintly lives, but because God calls us “saints”. We are also “righteous” because of the righteousness of Christ. We are all of these things POSITIONALy, even as we still struggle with sin in our lives.

      Even as we are a “new creation in Christ Jesus”, as we surrender to His lordship, we are renewed, made a new person, by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that, as I surrender to His will and guidance, I find myself having a changed heart, as He is replacing my heart of stone with a heart of flesh. It is progressive, not instantaneous, and it is a moment-by-moment struggle.

      God bless,
      Steve

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  2. Forgive me. While re-reading what I had written, it occurred to me that just because one CAN change something, does not necessarily mean one SHOULD. When we call upon God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of Holy Spirit, and decide to be obedient, we will have the wisdom we need to know WHAT needs to be changed, and HOW. Let’s not forget that a good part of the reason we’re screwed up like we are is that we thought we could manage our lives and do just fine, without God’s help

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    • I began attending a twelve-step group shortly before Connie committed suicide, and even though I couldn’t change what happened, or the pain it caused, the Serenity Prayer helped me understand that there were MANY things that WERE beyond my control, but not beyond God’s control. I had to, as best I could, release those things to God’s care. My current situation is another example of something that only God can change. It is also beyond my control.

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