Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 16, 2015
God, Grant Me Acceptance—Serenity
The Serenity Prayer?
Today’s prayer is about Acceptance. This prayer is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). It comes under the section “As It Is in Heaven” (Prayer 301, page 96) from The Oxford Book of Prayer.  Pastor Niebuhr finally claimed this prayer a few years after it was first written and distributed. He included it in a wartime prayer book, and also in a sermon in 1943.
“God, give me 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.”
This is but a part of the entire, longer form of the prayer now known as the Serenity Prayer. This brief petition and prayer asking for acceptance and wisdom serves countless people today, and has since its first distribution. Bill W., one of the founders of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, brought the Serenity Prayer (slightly adapted) to the attention of those in the early 12 Step program. It caught on quickly, and soon became an integral part of the program of Recovery.
O Lord, give me grace. Give me acceptance. Give me serenity. I could ask You to give them all to me right now! But, that would be both impatient and childish of me. (I’m thinking of Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)
God, I want to have courage. No, I don’t want it quite as badly as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, but I still feel the need of it. Courage would help me in changing the things that need changing.
And, what about wisdom? I feel like Winnie the Pooh most of the time. (A Bear of Very Little Brain.) However, I know as I continue to walk with God and do the next right thing, the next loving thing, wisdom will come. My contact with God’s wisdom will grow.
Thy will, not mine, be done, O Lord.
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 The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 96.