The “Serenity Prayer”

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!

5 Timeless Truths from the Serenity Prayer that Offer Wisdom in the Modern Age

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Serenity Prayer

Most of us are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer”.  It’s most famous use is as the prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,

the courage to change the things I can change,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

I include this prayer every day in my Divine Office.  For some reason it occurred to me this morning just how difficult it is to live this out.  I spend a fair amount of my time trying to change things that just can’t be changed.  I often lack the wisdom to know the difference between what I can change and what I can’t.  This lack of wisdom makes it hard to achieve the serenity that we all desire.  What I see as courage is actually a lack of wisdom on my part.

Persistance is a positive trait but persisting in pursuing the impossible is something else altogether.  It leads to frustration, anger, and a feeling of failure.

They say you should be careful what you pray for.  In my case, I have to seek wisdom first, then the courage to change the things I can change.