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The Serenity Prayer is one of the best-known prayers in the world. It is a widely known prayer that has its origins in 12 step programs. It contains the words:
“God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, Courage to change what can be changed, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
So, what does that all mean?
The keyword in this prayer is “serenity”. The person saying it wants peace of mind when facing challenges. They want what they cannot control to be okay with them. Not necessarily because they think everything will work out perfectly for them, but rather because they are not going to let what happens to ruin their life. Then they have the courage to face what might go wrong head-on without fear. Finally, they know how much effort is needed when they have to change what can be changed and what should just be left alone.
The Serenity Prayer is a very short prayer, only 14 words long, but it has a lot of meaning behind it. It began as a World War II-era anti-war prayer which was attributed to many different people who were involved in WWII. The idea is still the same, though – wanting strength and wisdom to cope with what life throws at you without letting emotions get you too far out of control. Many religions use this prayer as well as Atheists and Agnostics because the message is one that everyone needs from time to time.
Who wrote the serenity prayer?
During WWII, an American chaplain named Reinhold Niebuhr was serving the US soldiers abroad. Many soldiers were experiencing what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after what they had experienced during battle. During this time, Dr. Niebuhr began to pray with the soldiers, encouraging them not to dwell on what happened but instead let it go and move on, which he said would also give him peace of mind. He used what has become known as the serenity prayer to help him accomplish this goal. This version of what is now known as the serenity prayer is what Dr. Niehbur wrote in his journal at that time, which he later included in his autobiography.
The serenity prayer has three different sections that are separated by what is now known as the “philosophical” and “practical” statements. These responses to what happened before them were what helped Dr. Niebuhr’s patients (US soldiers) move on, and it also can help anyone who struggles with moving on from what they have experienced or what has happened to them. It is considered a powerful response for those struggling with PTSD because it reminds people that what has been done cannot be changed, but what you do have control over is how you respond to what happened.
In this quote from his autobiography, he explains why he created the serenity prayer:
“For some time, I had been thinking about what more could be done for the soldiers than what we were doing. Initially, at least, what bothered me was not what they had done or even what they might do when confronted with death and the possibility of imminent death. What bothered me most was what these men would have to face in their memories.”
This prayer can be found on many different websites today, but remember that this is only one version of what is now known as “the serenity prayer.” It has changed slightly over time because people like you and me change it based on our own struggles. Instead of changing the words around too much, however, it’s best to use what Dr. Niebuhr wrote as a guideline, which is what is found below.
The following are what I believe to be the key points of what Dr. Niehbur meant with each statement in what is now known as the serenity prayer. It goes without saying that sometimes people forget or don’t even know what it is they need to be reminded of when what they are dealing with becomes too much for them. This can make it very difficult for anyone who struggles to remember what is essential and what isn’t during times like these. Still, if you can remind yourself of what happened before this moment (which was out of your control), then, with time, you will find peace outside of what brought on your struggle.
- God, give me the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed;
- Courage to change the things which should be changed;
- And wisdom to distinguish one from the other;
- Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
- 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;
- That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
What is the serenity prayer?
The first part of what is now known as the serenity prayer begins with what Dr. Niehbur originally called “grace.” When he was writing this for his patients (soldiers), he was trying to convey what grace means in that it is what you are given, what you do not earn or deserve. This means that whatever happens to you can be dealt with no matter what it is because it isn’t your fault. No one could ever ask for more than that when what they are dealing with brings them too much hurt and pain, so they cannot move on from what happened before this moment.
The following phrase, which has become “courage,” is what many people believe to change what you have control over. It does not say what needs to be changed, but it does say what should be changed, which leaves room for individuals’ care because what was taken care of before cannot be changed no matter how much time goes by. Think about what happened before this moment and what could’ve been done differently because whatever can’t happen again can’t be controlled or changed no matter how hard you try.
The third section is what Dr. Niehbur originally called “wisdom.” This means that whatever happens next has an end, but if something happened before this point in your life, then keep perspective on what was not meant to hurt anyone at all, even if it did. This is what happens in life, but what was good with what happened before can be seen in what is happening now when you know what has ended and what has come back around again.
The last thing to note about the serenity prayer is peace. We all need peace of mind because what happens next will happen regardless of how much it hurts or if it doesn’t make sense at the time.
Peace comes from making decisions, knowing that whatever happened before cannot be undone, not what happens next when what has passed brings you happiness in what did not hurt anyone. If anything, what happened before only brought joy to what did not last, and what would’ve been different if what happened next could ever be undone.
What is the full version of the serenity prayer?
“God, give us 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.”
Uncertainty and change – we cannot plan for them or pray away. What we can do – what we must do – is employ our God-given talents wisely and live lives of commitment and love even though we may not know how it will all turn out in the end.
Though much is beyond us, we must believe that somewhere there are still better days ahead, filled with hope and love. And when the sun goes down on this life, as it surely will, we can gather strength from memories of deeds well done, friends shared, and principles lived. It is in gratitude for the lasting beauty that springs from our lives that we raise this prayer.
God, grant me the serenity prayer.
- God grant me some courage.
- God show me a way to go.
- God give me a sign of your will.
- God help everyone I love find their own God who loves them too.
- God show me what it all means so I don’t have to do this on my own anymore.
- God grant me wisdom to know the difference.
- God grant me peace of mind that comes from believing that things are exactly as they should be.
- God give us all strength so we may never lose hope.
- God write our names in the book of life.
- God is love.
- God is a God who cares for all God’s children no matter who they are.
- God have mercy on God’s children because we’re all just people trying to get along in this world as best we can.
- God knows our hearts better than we do ourselves, so God knows when we follow our hearts or lose our way.
- God give me strength when I feel weak, wisdom when I make mistakes, courage when I am afraid, and understanding when my faults prevent me from seeing one more step ahead in my journey toward a good place where a good life awaits us all if only God shows God’s children the way.
- God gives each of us these things so we may find happiness, success, fulfillment, and serenity in whatever God wills for us to have on this Earth.
God grant me these prayers because if I don’t get them, then it won’t matter anyway.
I am grateful for all I’ve been given. All my blessings come from our heavenly Father, who rules over all God’s creation with love, wisdom, strength, and might. Without God, there is nothing but darkness where everyone struggles to find their own way alone, with no God to guide God’s children. God is with us even in our darkest hours when we are most afraid of what comes next. God promises everyone a place in God’s kingdom where God will wipe away all tears from God’s eyes, and there will be no more sadness, pain, or death. But until that day comes, there is still hope for God’s children because God loves us unconditionally, just as God loves God’s creation.
God have mercy on you just as I have been given mercy by God, my Lord, and Savior.
Serenity prayer keychain.
Serenity Prayer Keychain — What Is It?
The Serenity prayer is a famous saying used by many people in modern society and used by many people to help overcome obstacles and achieve peace. When times are tough, the Serenity prayer keychain reminds us of what is important in life while keeping us calm during making decisions that will affect our future. Serenity prayer keychains are meant to be carried around or pinned to something.
The Serenity prayer keychain is a simple yet elegant gift used for personal or professional purposes. The Serenity prayer keychain is an accessory that allows you to carry your prayer with you everywhere you go to help find serenity in any situation.
Personalize Your Own.
Do not settle for the mass-produced ones sold in stores; make personalized Serenity prayer keychains instead! Serenity prayer keychain is a fine example of how customization can be used to personalize your own accessories without major drawbacks.
There is nothing more powerful than a prayer, and there is nothing more meaningful than a prayer handwritten by hand. Whether you want to change your life or encourage someone you love for a better future, Eternity Letter can deliver an experience previously unavailable and make it incredibly influential and consequential.
Write down your serenity prayer and keep it with you whenever you are. When your friend or a family member is down, don’t wait and make a difference. Handwritten prayer gifted directly from your heart is a gift that truly matters and will last forever.
Sincerely, Inna Yakovleva – the founder of the Eternity Letter℗