The Rest of the Serenity Prayer

Did you know there was another part to the serenity prayer?  I didn’t!  I had always recited,  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” That was it!   (NOTE:  I’ve since learned that’s not even the original interpretation.)

Once I started going to Celebrate Recovery, I learned there was a second (and more important) part to the prayer. I didn’t even know, until recently, that the Serenity Prayer was something that was used in lots of recovery programs across the nation (apparently, that’s what made it so famous). I assumed that everyone used the whole prayer.  To my surprise, I’ve come to realize the other recovery programs aren’t using the second half the prayer.  I think they’re missing out on the most pivotal part of the prayer.

The rest of the prayer goes like this:

“…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.”

Awesome words!  Some programs that do use the rest of the Serenity prayer substitute “He” for “Jesus”.  No matter, I love the thought behind this prayer.  On another curious note, I did some research and it’s interesting to trace back the history on who wrote it, when it was picked up by Bill W. for the AA programs and the interesting perspectives on how it evolved.

Anyway, I’m happy that Celebrate Recovery uses the second half because I think that part really speaks truth about how I learn from my hardships and welcome the diversity.  More importantly, I think it gives me an example to live by (“Taking as Jesus did…”), instructions on how do do just that (“If I surrender to your will.”), and a result if I do it…(“I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.”)

I have a new appreciation about the Serenity Prayer and it has given new meaning to my life.  What has been your experience with the Serenity Prayer?

The Complete Serenity Prayer

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.
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