The Serenity Prayer is one of the most widely known prayers in existence. It was written and published by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1951, although he had used it much earlier in a sermon in 1943. This prayer is chalk full of lessons to learn. Here is the prayer and 7 lessons we can learn from it:
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.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Serenity means to be in a calm/peaceful state. The things in life that we can’t change (your spouse, boss, natural disasters etc.) can be looked at in a calm matter. Whatever it is that we can’t change we must be content and know that God has it under control. Nothing happens without His approval. He is sovereign over all things. “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
“God grant me…courage to change the things I can.” We all should be bold and confident when we are able to make a change for the better. By all means, God calls us to love, so if you can love others by changing anything at all, do it with courage! God is with you, so there is no reason to fear. “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“God grant me…wisdom to know the difference.” James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” If you have sin that needs repenting of, you will not be granted wisdom by God. Reconcile to Him first and then ask for wisdom. He will give you the knowledge to know what things you can or cannot change.
The Time Is Now
“Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time.” It is human nature to think ahead and plan, but what about right now? What about this very second in time? Cherish the present or you will miss out on life. The song “The Cat’s in the Cradle” comes to mind. A dad is so involved in what he is doing and planning ahead that he misses out on watching his son grow up. Don’t miss out on now! “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
God’s Will Be Done
“Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.” Nothing surprises God, which includes all of the hardships we face. Indeed, the hardships are a pathway to peace. There is no peace like the peace that passes all understanding. Have you experienced this? This is the overwhelming presence of God’s almighty calm. This peace you feel goes hand in hand with your trust in God. When you experience this peace you can also know that your faith is growing because you are relying completely on God to take care of everything. So, embrace this world for what it is, and love through the roughest storms. God has already ordained your situations yesterday, today and tomorrow. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
We Trust/God Restores
“Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will.” God will make things right no matter if we surrender to Him or not. God is a just God and He always does things rightly. However, He will make things right between you and Him when you surrender to Him. Let God take the driver’s seat and He will lead you exactly where He wants you to be. “Therefore, we have been justified (made right) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
“That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.” God loves us all and He does want the best for us all, which includes times of great happiness and joy. Such times can include: weddings, newborn babies, promotions, unexpected blessings and so on. God loves blessing His children, so enjoy those times and look with hope towards heaven where true happiness is at its fullest! Can you imagine how much joy will overflow from you as you walk with Jesus in heaven! It will be so amazing!
Also, something to think about is the word “amen”. This means “so be it”. Every time you say “amen” at the end of your prayers you are saying “so be it”. So, mean what you say because you are literally asking God to let things be done that you have prayed for. “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12)
The Serenity prayer is a wonderful prayer and there is much wisdom to be had from it. Please feel free to let us know things you have learned from it in the comments below. God bless you as you live a life worthy of the calling!
Serenity is a calm/peaceful state. Take a look at this article on peace:
Resources - The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. YouTube video “Prayer for Serenity” performed by Marisa.