Serenity prayer

The Serenity Prayer is attributed to the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It was was adopted and popularised twelve-step programs, and has been used in churches across the world. I particularly appreciate the most well-known version of the prayer with its later inclusion of the word “grace”.

I find the prayer helpful particularly after I’ve given time to notice disturbances and resistances in me. I may be come aware of this in my body, or mind, or spirit.

I invite you to this practice. First take time to notice any stresses or strains in your body. Next go on to consider where your mind has been in idle moments. And, then given the to consider your heart — noticing any dominant or reoccurring emotions. Take time to notice how your affect by these, before settling into a quiet posture of prayer. And slowly read these words of the serenity prayer (giving plenty of space between each key thought expressed).

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

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.


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