God, give us 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.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.
Alcoholic Anonymous also uses a shorted version:
“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.”
Why is this prayer awesome?
- There were many precursors to this prayer. Most notable are the ancient Stoics such as Epictetus (who was a Stoic slave/philosopher)
- Epictetus wrote: “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us [eph’ hêmin] and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions-in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.”
- Stoics believed in determinism: that we do not have control over people, places or things.
- Instead they believed that we only have control what inside us, inside our minds.
- Things were divided as things that are up to us change and things that are not up to us to change.
There are some things I can and cannot change. I can’t feed all the starving children in the world; but I can help out in the soup kitchen. All one can do is be calm, and trust in God’s Providence that He has it all planned out.