The Serenity Prayer
9 May 2008

Last week, a friend showed me a short prayer:

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. Thy will, not mine be done.

A nice article explains why alcoholics identify so much with the prayer: it succinctly addresses the principal challenge facing an alcoholic: overcoming self-centeredness. Actually, we all face that challenge; it's only pronounced in alcoholics. Then I came across two expositions of the prayer in which each word is compared and contrasted with other concepts to make the intent behind the overall prayer crystal clear. This is a nice style of explaining something expressed succinctly!

First Exposition

Source: this website.

GOD Grant ME... Not my spouse, my kids or even good friends like you....altho they all may need it toooooooooooo......(smile).

the Serenity... the capacity to be tranquil, unruffled, unflappable in spite of it all.

To Accept... not just endure, suffer, or bear.

The Things... As well as people in my life

I Cannot Change... even tho I have tried and tried.

The Courage... which can only come from God or your Higher Power

To Change the Things I Can... particularly about myself — and you and I.

And The Wisdom... perceptiveness, foresight, discernment and sound judgment.

To Know... not just to guess or hope.

the DIFFERENCE... when i'm in your will and when I simply want my own.

Second Exposition

Source: This website

GOD... With the saying of this word I am admitting the existence of a Higher Power; a being far greater then I.

GRANT... With the repeating of this second word I am admitting that this Higher Power is an authority who can bestow and give.

ME... I am asking something for myself. The Bible states that if I ask, I shall be given. It is not wrong to ask for betterment of myself for with the improvement of my character, people around me will be made happier.

SERENITY... I am asking for calmness, composure, and peace in a life which will enable me to think straight and govern myself properly.

TO ACCEPT... I am resigning myself to conditions as they are right now.

THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE... I am accepting my lot in life as it is. Until I have the courage to change any part of my life I don't like, I must accept it and not accept it grudgingly.

COURAGE... I am asking for conditions to be different.

TO CHANGE... I am asking for a quality of spirit to face conditions without flinching.

THE THINGS I CAN... I am asking for help to make the right decisions. Everything is not perfect in my life. I must continue to face reality and constantly work towards continued growth and progress.

WISDOM... I am asking for the ability to form sound judgments in any and all matters.

TO KNOW... I want to be able to understand clearly, truths of facts.

the DIFFERENCE... I want to see things differently in my life so there can be some distinction. I need to sense a definite value in love over selfishness.

© Copyright 2008—2023, Gurmeet Manku.