The Serenity Prayer is commonly attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who composed it in the 1940s. According to its website, Alcoholics Anonymous adopted the Serenity Prayer and began including it in AA materials in 1942.
What is so special about this prayer that millions of people use across the world in 12 Step meetings? Let’s break it down and see.
God grant me SERENITY
Galatians 5:22-24 What happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good–crucified.
God grant me COURAGE
Matthew 14:22-27 As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain, so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night. Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
God grant me WISDOM
1 Corinthians 2:6-9 We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest–what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it– What God has arranged for those who love him.
What else are we asking God to teach us from this prayer?
To live ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Matthew 6:34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
To enjoy ONE MOMENT AT A TIME
Matthew 24:32 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner.”
To accept HARDSHIP AS A PATHWAY TO PEACE
John 16:33 “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
Taking this WORLD AS IT IS
John 12:31 At this moment the world is in crisis.
Trust that GOD WILL MAKE THINGS RIGHT
1 Corinthians 7:35 I’m trying to be helpful and make it as easy as possible for you, not make things harder. All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.
Why pray this prayer regularly as part of your recovery process?
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
What do we need to do to achieve happiness?
SURRENDER TO GOD’S WILL
(it’s in the prayer)