Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
We’re all familiar with this prayer. It’s usually associated with Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve step groups. It’s known as “the serenity prayer.” But notice that when we say this prayer we’re asking for three things: serenity, courage, and wisdom. It could be just as well be called “the courage prayer” or “the wisdom prayer”.
But we call it “the serenity prayer” because that’s what we’re all seeking. Sure, it’s great to be brave and wise, but isn’t serenity what we’re all really seeking? And to be serene, we also need courage and wisdom. Serenity isn’t easily achieved.
When we say the Lord’s Prayer at mass the priest follows it with these words,
“Deliver us, Lord, we pray from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may always be free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Again, we’re asking for peace and to be free from all distress; in other words, serenity.
We live in a stressful world. We can never be free from all things stressful. But, with God’s help, we can learn to handle stress and to create our own brand of peace in our lives. With can’t control what happens around us, but with God’s help, we can choose to be at peace.
The Serenity Prayer isn’t just for alcoholics, or addicts, or any other particular group. It’s something we should all include in our daily prayer lives. When we’re faced with stressful situations, why not take a few seconds to repeat this awesome prayer silently, or even out loud when the situation warrants it.
Say it with me,
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen!