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Thoughts on the Serenity Prayer

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

Serenity prayer

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;

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life

And supremely happy with Him

Forever and ever in the next.


The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971), even though there was some controversy about who wrote the prayer. The prayer spread rapidly, in the 1930s and 1940s and was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs.  During this coronavirus pandemic I have been reviewing the Serenity Prayer and truly, it is a prayer for more than just 12 step programs.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...

What is Serenity? The dictionary tells us it is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Serenity needs to be in the heart of every Christian.  We must ask ourselves three questions:

  1. How do we invite Peace in our lives as Christians during the times when seasons are difficult?

  2. What is the life-giving part of this season?  

  3. Is there an absence of hope?

As I looked through the scriptures after reading the Serenity prayer my first thought was to look at the testimony of Paul. In 2 Corinthians, Chapter 4 - Paul said he was troubled on every side yet not distressed.  So in that season of Paul’s life there were difficulties and problems on every side.  On the outside were pain, sorrows and anxieties, and on the inside were fears. But, he made it clear that no matter what he was going through he was not distressed. Paul had experiences which caused him to remember the power of God working in his life.

As Christians, we must remember that the Lord is working in our life and we will have trials and problems too.  But, the Lord will use them to teach and strengthen us. There will be seasons of victory and seasons of defeat.  Just remember when the Lord has turned seasons from bad times to times of blessing.   If we remember what God did for us yesterday we will trust him for today and tomorrow.  Do you remember the times when Jesus brought you through those troubled times?

In 1 Samuel 7:12, Samuel set up a monument to remind the people of God’s strong hand and how He gave them a victory after they had a defeat.  Samuel named the place Ebenezer which means, the LORD has helped us.  Each time they saw the place they remembered God’s help in the past.  The place Ebenezer was a picture for them of how the LORD answered prayer during a difficult time.  Every time they saw that place, they remembered what God did. What is your personal Ebenezer?  What picture do you have in your mind that remind you of past victories? Didn’t God lead you out? Didn’t God forgive you?  How do we invite peace in our lives when seasons are difficult?  We must remember!  You too can have an Ebenezer that reveals His presence in your life when things are difficult. In the New Testament the bible speaks of how God remembered His covenant and His promises to His people.  Christians are to remember the death of Jesus Christ, His Commandments and remembering should lead to rejoicing and repentance.

Remembering how Christ has brought you through many trials, toils and fears should produce hope for the future. Without this, our Serenity prayers are just words without the power of God.

The great Serenity prayer is also for the Church today.  This prayer puts things in perspective.   For example, when we need peace in our life the Lord will give us peace and understanding to help us get through the difficult times.  HE IS OUR LIFE GIVER AND OUR HOPE.  

Philippian 4: 7 tells us the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Do you know what transcends mean?  It means to rise above or go beyond, overpass, and, my favorite part, is to exceed in excellence. If we will use this time of quarantine to draw close or closer to the Lord, He will replace fear with His peace.  Not knowing what to do or how to manage life storms causes us to forget whose we are.  There are things we can’t change but we can change how we respond to the storm.

Courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

John 16:33 KJV

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What are you facing today that you need courage and Wisdom to overcome?

In this scripture, Jesus tells us, “these things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation.” So there are seasons when we need to be strong in the Lord.  We can find strength in the Lord and in His Church.  There is unity and strength.  When the people of God come together there is power in His name. We must ask God for wisdom in all things even when we are overwhelmed with life.  God will keep us in perfect peace during difficult times.

The Serenity prayer reminds me of how we need to refocus. Seasons will change and we need to know what to do when trouble comes knocking at our door.  This prayer shows us how important God’s peace is and our relationship with the Lord.  What about you? Do you need to refocus?

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