Tag Archives: 12 Steps

God, Grant Me Acceptance—Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 16, 2015

serenity prayer small

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. [1] 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.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 96.

Pray, Celebrate, Keep Coming Back

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 29, 2015

keep life simple

Pray, Celebrate, Keep Coming Back

Once more, I prayed through the Evening Prayer from www.dailyoffice.org on my laptop this evening. Just like last Saturday, I noticed one piece of the service, in particular. In the Collect for Saturday: “Grant that as we sing your glory at the close of this day, our joy may abound in the morning as we celebrate the Paschal mystery; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

I particularly noticed this sentence last week, it seems, out of the clear blue sky. Last week, I subbed for a pastor friend of mine, who was on vacation. And, celebrated Communion. This week, I led a Communion service at my church. A special Communion—or, Eucharist Service, for people who have a Christian concept of God as their Higher Power.

Higher Power? Isn’t that a Recovery concept? Well, yes, it is.

This Communion Service was (and is) for those in Recovery and for those who find the 12 Steps useful in their personal lives. And, who also have a Christian concept of God as each one understands God. (I have led this service on three occasions, and we’re planning for a fourth, next month, on Saturday, Sept. 26.)

The Paschal mystery part of the prayer? That part intrigued me, again.

As someone who finds the 12 Steps useful to my way of living life, I tried to incorporate these principles and way of life into an ecumenical Communion service. All the while, the Paschal mystery was bubbling away, on the back burner of the stove in my mind.

I remember what I found out last week. The Paschal mystery hearkens back to the narrative of manna in the wilderness. God was faithful in supplying the manna for huge numbers of the nation of Israel! As well, God is faithful in expressing love, caring and help for all those who are on the path of Recovery.

I’m keeping it simple. One day at a time.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Love? Connection with the Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love? Connection with the Soul.

change everything

I appreciate Bernie Siegel’s chapter in the book Handbook for the Soul, in several different ways.

First, as clergy trained in chaplaincy, I understand what he’s talking about. From speaking to patients, their loved ones, and hospital staff, I have an appreciation that is much more of a reality check. Yes, so many have a renewed understanding that they have “today.” Just one more day. Today is the most important time, the best time. Not next week, and certainly not next year. Getting lost in anything other than “today” is not conducive to true joy.

Second, I relate because of my familiarity with the 12 Steps and the Recovery program. “One Day at a Time” is all important. As someone trained with a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, as well as many acquaintances involved with Recovery, I understand the concept that NOW is the most important time. The only time worth living.

Third, I agree with Dr. Siegel’s recommendation: change your attitude toward your life. (italics his) I am strongly reminded of a quote I saw several years ago that deeply moved me. It said, “Some people see the glass half empty. Others see it as half full. Be glad you have a glass.”

Dr. Siegel suggests: “. . . if you can’t change your external circumstances at this point, you can change your attitude toward your life. You can say, ‘All right, I choose to be happy. I choose to view what I do every day as a way of contributing love.’ When you go about your life with this attitude, you’ll find that your circumstances do begin to change.” [1]

And, each day is filled with choices. Little choices, larger decisions. Forks in the daily road. The Recovery program tells me to choose the next right thing. I would go that one better: I strive to do the next loving thing. This I see as closely linked to changing my attitude toward my life, exactly what Dr. Siegel tells us to do in this chapter. Otherwise, if the little, incremental choices I make day by day lead me down a path towards a person I do not want to be, what good is it? Do I really want to end up feeling awful, even if I see awful things at work? Even if someone confides awful things to me in confidence?

Yes, attitude is everything. God, I choose love. I choose the next loving thing.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 41.

A Daily Examination, or Inventory

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 15, 2015

my own way

A Daily Examination, or Inventory

I went to a seminar this morning. The topic of the seminar was self-care, which was helpful to me as someone who works with people. Having so much and such intimate contact with others can deplete me, internally. So, self-care is something I must pay close attention to.

Yes, taking time to do beneficial things for myself is a wonderful way to do self-care. However, there is another way of maintaining balance and caring for myself, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually: doing a regular inventory.

I know about this practice. Yes, because I have learned about prayer and meditation, and learned about the spiritual practices involved in spiritual formation. In other words, I have a good introduction to this spiritual side of things. But—I was also thinking about the 12 Steps of the Recovery program. (Specifically Step 10.)

I have a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, so I know a few things about the Recovery program. One of the important aspects of the 12 Steps is taking care of one’s shortcomings and mistakes, promptly. In other words, “cleaning my side of the street.” Making sure that there are as few difficulties and mistakes left hanging. I consider this to be an excellent way of dealing with fear, anxiety and resentment, and I have recommended a regular Step 10 to a number of people over the years.

Under the general topic of Ignatian prayer and meditation comes something very similar to the Step 10 inventory: the Daily Examen, or examination of one’s own spiritual state at the end of the day. Perhaps I ought to simply show a brief form of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.

  1.     Become aware of God’s presence.
    2. Review the day with gratitude.
    3. Pay attention to your emotions.
    4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
    5. Look toward tomorrow. [1]

I will be looking more closely at this way of praying and taking inventory in the next few days. I am looking forward to it! God willing, I hope and pray that it will be fruitful in my life. Stay tuned.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen (A service of Loyola Press.)