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.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is;
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Serenity Prayer: What does it mean?
The words have special meaning to those who are often “looking for peace” at a time of turmoil, despair, or uncertainty in their lives. This prayer has become closely associated with 12 Step programs, offering strength and calm in pursuit of a more stable life.
First, through uttering these words, we are acknowledging God’s existence and recognizing that He is truly the only one who can bring us inner peace regardless of chaotic circumstances. His wonderful presence in our lives brings ‘serenity’ that can be found nowhere else. There is a Bible verse that says the peace of God is beyond all human understanding. “His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Until we allow the ‘peace of God’ to enter into our mind, heart, and soul, we will never experience that ultimate peace that defies the most severe circumstances in life.
The prayer goes on to speak of accepting, courage, and wisdom. It all comes down to asking and allowing God to give us these things. In other words, it is surrendering to Him. The second part reminds us that our trust needs to be in God to work things out and recognizing that we usually don’t have any real control over hardships in this sinful world or the actions of others. Trust Him and live one day at a time, enjoying each moment.
Serenity Prayer: How do I put this into practice?
Perseverance and successes aren’t born out of good times. They are born out of trials. 1 Peter 4:12says “. . .don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.” The Bible tells us that we will go through trials and going through them makes us stronger. In our times of weakness, we learn to rely on God’s strength and He takes great delight when we trust in Him. We all desire to be needed and wanted; God wants this from us as well. He wants for us to turn to Him and trust Him.
Be encouraged — Christ Jesus is faithful; we can rest on Him, trusting Him always for the outcome. We don’t always understand the “why” of things that happen and we don’t always need to. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” And in Hebrew 13:5, God says He will never leave us or forsake us. Never is long time. . .He is always there for us if we come to Him.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I carry is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
In these Scriptures, we can see the relevance of the last phrase in the Serenity Prayer. If we surrender to Him, we can be supremely happy in Him, in this life and forever after.