Tag Archives: next right thing

Duty? Self-Discipline? Learn to Do the Next Right Thing

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, November 14, 2015

next right thing sunset

Duty? Self-Discipline? Learn to Do the Next Right Thing

Today’s reading opens with a quote from one of my favorite authors: Mark Twain. “Make it a point to do something every day that you don’t want to do.” [1]

Mr. Twain quoted several times about duty and self-discipline. Here is the second half of this particular quote: “this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”

Often, active drunks and druggies are nothing but unreliable. Unpredictable, and irresponsible. However, once the same unreliable people come into contact with a Higher Power, what a change can occur! This change people describe as “doing the next right thing.”

But, how one earth will I know what the “next right thing” is? I’m glad you asked.

Here’s a quote from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous: “In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.” [2]

Duty and self-discipline are still ideas that make many people in recovery hesitate, and even cringe. But if we give it another name? If “duty and self-discipline” get called the “next right thing,” that can make all the difference in the world.

Yes, finding the “next right thing” can be a challenge sometimes, challenging us to keep in touch with God, our Higher Power. “If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.” [3]

Duty. Self-discipline. Doing the Next Right Thing. With my Higher Power’s help, I can follow, one day at a time. One Next Right Thing at a time.


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] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 14 reading.

[2] Alcoholics Anonymous (New York City, Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.: 2001), 86.

[3] Ibid, 83.

Prayer Guide to Simple Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 2, 2015

Prayer Guide to Simple Serenity

sunset footprints

“ … praying only for knowledge of [God’s] will for us and the power to carry that out.” – Second half of Step Eleven.

My will? My will is often “self will run riot,” as one of the common sayings in recovery goes. Isn’t that the truth? Who else can admit that? Left to myself, my will—my ego—my hubris can get me in trouble faster than a speeding bullet.

So, how do I start to repair my mixed-up will? I pray for God’s will to help me. I pray for the power to carry out God’s will. The next right thing, the next loving thing. This course of action will bring me to God’s will. And, as my reading for today tells me, “God’s will guides us to simple serenity.”

Ah, serenity. So many people wish for it! And, so few people actually get it in their lives.

The rewards of serenity, sobriety and friendship are great. I have the opportunity to offer God’s care and encouragement to others, instead of hiding out in my own room. I have the possibility of sharing myself and my life with God (or, as some in recovery might say, my Higher Power).

Dear Lord, gracious God, Step Eleven has such wisdom, and such common sense. Help me to follow the path laid out for me through Your gracious support and encouragement. Help me to do 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

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. Sigh. (What Would a Shepherd Do?)

matterofprayer blog post for Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring-Lamb photo by Richard Peters

photo by Richard Peters

Pray. Sigh. (What Would a Shepherd Do?)

What do you do when things spin out of control? Sometimes I pray. But that’s only sometimes.

Today, I went with the flow. I did the next right thing, the next responsibility that came to my attention. Sure, there were some roadblocks. But if I handle one thing at a time, it all seems to be okay. Sort of okay, that is.

I just bought a book over the weekend at a used bookstore. It’s a reprint of the Phillip Keller classic “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” Today, I happened to crack it open somewhere around the middle. It did not surprise me that the words I saw were apropos to my current situation. The chapter talked about “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow, You are with me.” I read that our Shepherd does know all about our approaching storms in life. And yes, our Shepherd Jesus is with us through those anxious times.

Even though I’m not in the out-of-doors, living rough, or in the middle of a severe health concern, staying in the hospital, I still can feel the darkness, the anxiety of life. I can still feel things spinning out of control. I know I have little (if any) control over the actions and responses of others. However, with God by my side, I can choose to take action. I can speak kindly and act generously. I think that is what our Shepherd Jesus wanted me to learn today.

Like I said, it all seems to be okay now. Sort of okay, that is. Sometimes, that’s good enough. Good enough for me, and good enough for God, too. After all, God is always there, right beside me. Even when I walk through those dark valleys of difficulty and unmanageability. God will help me to walk every step of the way.

Let’s pray. Thank You, God, for leading me to this book. When I picked it up, I found just the words and thoughts to help me. Thanks! And You are wonderful to send me good and gracious gifts each day. Open my eyes—open our eyes and help us to recognize Your grace, forgiveness and love. Thank You for being right by our sides, each and every day. In the name of our Shepherd Jesus, Amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink: http://wp.me/p43g3i-4d