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. Amen.

This is the full version of the Serenity Prayer written by Lutheran pastor and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. I find it fascinating that this prayer was distributed by chaplains to soldiers during World War II. Moreover, today it is said by millions of men and women who attend Alcoholics Anonymous or other recovery groups.

As I honestly face my addictions and attachments to the things of this world, I realize I am like a soldier combatting an enemy who is trying to brainwash me. I am bombarded by “not enough thinking” and the lies that a little more of this or that will perfectly free me of pain and problems. In reality, there is no perfection or serenity in my messy life until I finally accept that there are things I cannot control. Courage to face the enemy of my soul is a grace coming forth from wisdom and the process of discerning what can and cannot be changed.

And wisdom ushers in a greater hope that does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5 NASB). Only the love of God and the supportive fellowship of Holy Spirit can satisfy every longing within the human heart.

If you are like me, you can easily find yourself alone and attached to things or behaviors that control your life. The words of this prayer invite us to be honest with ourselves and God, but ultimately to be found in the serenity of the Lord’s loving arms.

God grant us the SERENITY
to accept the things we cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things we can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.


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