Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Serenity Prayer

from w
When life is crushing you, when you feel powerless, when the past stories catch up and haunt, or the future stories are imagined with fear, it is time to recall a very simple prayer that has been taken up by thousands of people, not only those who belong to Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the Serenity Prayer.

"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."

The original "Serenity Prayer" was conceived in a little stone cottage in Heath, Massachusetts by Reinhold Niebuhr and, per his daughter, was written like this:

"God, Give us the 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."

Early in World War II, with Dr. Niebuhr's permission, the prayer was printed on cards and distributed to the troops by the U.S.O. By then it had also been reprinted by the National Council of Churches, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous. Also, n a rather dreary hall of a converted hotel, overlooking the Rhine at Koblenz, there is a tablet inscribed with the following words:
"God give me the detachment to accept those things I cannot alter;
the courage to alter those things I can alter;
and the wisdom to distinguish the one thing from the other."

For fifty years, the prayer has become so deeply imbedded into the heart and soul of A.A. thinking, living, as well as its philosophy.

One variation comes from Ireland -
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.

Well I have had an interesting day. A writing friend helped us cart a trailer load of stuff to the recycle depot - old chairs, lounge, hundreds of plant pots, wall board when Peceli rebuilt a fence, etc. etc. Then I spent several hours reading two of our helper's manuscripts to go to a publisher - a short story collection and a novel for teenagers. From the reality of the day's chores to the pleasure of the imagination. But then I'm reminded of Fiji and as I read the abbreviated news on the web, I imagine other stories that are not told. But Heaven help us to read the Serenity Prayer and take that on board for today. Peceli is spending his time well, assisting with village projects of small scale development. way to go, watiqu sia!


laminar_flow said...


Check this video about Fiji Prison Fellowship and the efforts.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello Laminar,
Yes, it's good that those who make mistakes can restore their life. Nice video - the Russian subtitles were a surprise though!
I still think the Fiji media give too many stories though about the prisons. But of course Jesus took care of troubled people and he told the people to feed the hungry, visit the prisoners, and so on.

Eileen Flanagan said...

Good to find others who love the Serenity Prayer!


Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference