I’ve seen what is called the “Serenity Prayer” for years. Most commonly it is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, written during the early 1930s. It became famous in modified form by 12 step programs. I’ve seen it cross-stitched on walls. I’ve seen it printed on posters. I’ve even seen it written on bathroom stalls.
Until recently, I thought it only contained three lines:
God, 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.
That little bit of the prayer has actually helped me in numerous situations. It has kept me from blowing up at people I cannot change. It has kept me from falling prey to temptations I cannot change. It has kept me from sinking in the mire of past actions I cannot change.
However, I have learned that the original prayer/poem was a bit longer and I want to share it with you.
- 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, not as I would have it;
- Trusting that He will make all things right
- If I surrender to His Will;
- So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
- And supremely happy with Him
- Forever and ever in the next.
I know this prayer is not inspired scripture. But it certainly was inspired by scripture. I want to remember this prayer. I want to remember that there are numerous things I cannot change and I need to quit wasting my time and energy trying to change those. There is something I can change, by the grace of God. That is me. May I always have the wisdom to remember that.
I want to live one day at a time (cf. Matthew 6:34) and quit trashing today by worrying about tomorrow. I want to trust that God will make all things right in His time. I want to surrender myself to His will and simply do the next right thing. Through that, I can have happiness, not through pursuing my own ideas. My best thinking messed me up. God’s thinking is what will save me and make tomorrow better.
Just thought I’d share.