Prayer of Serenity

Serenity Prayer

The “prayer of serenity” has a lot of memories for me. My Granny had a scroll calendar that hung in her hallway. On the back was the serenity prayer. After the “year” was over, you could turn it backwards to display the prayer.

And that is exactly what my Granny did. So, over the years, that calendar became a steady fixture throughout my childhood. And, yes, I could probably quote the shortened prayer in my sleep. Pure talent! Or, not so much. Lol!

Regardless, that prayer was such an integral part of my upbringing that subconsciously I have collected several items with the serenity prayer on it. Those items can be found scattered throughout my home now. And, now that I have grand-kids, I am hoping they too will absorb a little subliminal words of wisdom that will cling to them throughout their years.

There’s Actually More To It

If you look into this prayer very much you’ll soon realized this is actually a shortened version of a much longer prayer. You can go here for an on screen copy of the shortened prayer, the popularly shared full prayer, and the original full prayer. Interesting differences. But, for my post, here’s the original full prayer.

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.

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.


Reinhold Neibuhr

Serenity Prayer & Me

Since I have the shortened version memorized so well, it has been easy for me to draw on it from time to time. Especially in those times when I simply wasn’t sure how to respond to a person or a situation. It gave me peace, or serenity, if you will. A little needed guidance in those trying times.

But, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. You know, those lessons we learn as we travel over the river, through the woods, out of the ditches, off the cliffs of life, and treading the oceans deep. Those times when success is in simply surviving this thing we call life.

It was in those times that, among other things, I leaned on the shortened serenity prayer. (My Granny probably had no idea the impact that simple reversed calendar made in my formative years playing at her house.) I have no doubt I’ll learn more layers buried within those words in the years to come.

For example, take the line “The serenity to accept the things I cannot change”. This gives me strength to deal with other people when they are “acting stupid” (in my opinion). Because, you know, I cannot change other people when they choose to “act stupid”.

In reality, I was wrong. Well, I was right too. It is true in that I cannot “change” how others act or live their lives. But, there’s a part I can change. I can change my response to their words or actions. I can change my exposure to their behavior if it becomes harmful to my own well-being, or the well-being of those around me.

And, therein lies the “wisdom to know the difference” of which the prayer makes mention of. The wisdom to realize that which you thought was beyond your control, is in fact, already within your grasp. It’s sitting there simply waiting for you to realize the power you truly have. And that power will give you true serenity in any situation.

As it did for me… May the Serenity Prayer bless and empower you no matter the situation you find yourself in.

The Power is yours!


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