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The Senerity Prayer Under the Microscope

Updated on October 5, 2008

What's The Serenity Prayer Really All About?

How to improve letting go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables in your life?

In order to let go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables in your life, you need to follow the words of the Prayer for Serenity by Reinhold Niebuhr.

Prayer for Serenity by Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity

This requires that you establish a healthy spirituality and relationship with your Higher Power to whom you can let go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables in your life.

To accept the things I cannot change

You need to be realistic and rational and accept that you can change only your feelings and attitudes about things which you are powerless to change.

Courage to change the things I can

You need to accept personal responsibility for your own life, thinking, emotions, and actions. You need to take care of yourself better. You need to stop being a martyr, fixer, rescuer, advice giver, and enabler.

Wisdom to know the difference

You need to allow your Higher Power a place in your life along with correcting your unhealthy, irrational and unrealistic thinking so that you can better discern what is uncontrollable and unchangeable in your life.

Living one day at a time

You need to be patient and not want total self-change or recovery overnight. You need to let go of the need for immediate gratification.

Enjoying one moment at a time

You need to relax and smell the roses. Have fun! Tune into your inner child and enjoy life for what it is rather than for how you want it to be.

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace

You need to recognize that you are a human. It is only by fully accepting and admitting your humanness, imperfection, and inability to control and change every person, place, or thing in your life that will you be able to achieve peace and serenity for yourself.

Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it

You need to accept that life cannot be as perfect as you would like it since every person, place, and thing is imperfect because the human condition is this way. You need to become realistic as to what is really possible in your lifetime if you are to be free of stress, anxiety, and tension.

Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will

In letting go of the uncontrollable and unchangeable people, places and things in your life, you need to hand them over to your Higher Power. You need to have a strong spiritual belief, take the risk, and have trust that your Higher Power is strong enough to handle these problems. By handing them over no answers are guaranteed, but at least you have unburdened the crushing weight of these concerns off your shoulders.

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

By letting go of the uncontrollables and unchangeables in your life you have allowed these people, places, and things to be responsible for themselves which takes a tremendous burden off you. By freeing yourself of this huge burden, you will appreciate life more for what it is. You will have the energy and strength to pursue your own interests. You will be able to relax and have fun. You will be free to pursue your spiritual life with your Higher Power now and forever.

12 Steps of Recovery Serenity Prayer


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  • St.James profile image

    St.James 8 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    I understand Priscilla....

  • profile image

    Priscilla 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. This pray means a lot to me at this moment in my life.

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Elegantwork...Very elegantly stated, many of us have the same stopping point. For the sake of this piece, it was best to dissect the entire prayer. The beauty of the serenity prayer is that it has a special meaning for many of us.

    Thank you for spending a litle bit of time.

  • Elegantwork23 profile image

    Elegantwork23 9 years ago

    I have had to replace the meaning of serenity with the word ability until the serenity happened. Wisdom to know the difference is the end of the prayer for me. It seems like after that it becomes all denominational and religious.

  • St.James profile image

    St.James 9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    "Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace" is something I' ve found to be trying, but very meaningful right now

  • sweetoneangel profile image

    sweetoneangel 9 years ago from New Jersey

    I agree with Teresa McGurk, "the wisdom to Know the Difference" is hard for me too. Very well written.

  • Teresa McGurk profile image

    Sheila 9 years ago from The Other Bangor

    "the wisdom to know the difference" has always been my stumbling block. But I'm making progress, I think. Love the mandala design.

  • profile image

    Becca Faulkner 9 years ago

    I go to Church but only found serenity prayer through AA and it has changed my life.

  • Mighty Mom profile image

    Susan Reid 9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

    I've said the Serenity Prayer thousands and thousands of times. I've accepted its premise and its brilliant simplicity. And yet, reading your hub with the examples and descritptions for each section of the prayer -- I got a new perspective on it. I really like what you said for "the courage to change the things I can" and all the things to "stop" being. I will incorporate that thinking into my prayer from now on. Thanks for spreading the gospel of serenity! MM

  • BizzyMuse profile image

    BizzyMuse 9 years ago from Southern California

    Very interesting read - glad I ran across it. Thanks for sharing!

  • ChristineRitter profile image

    ChristineRitter 9 years ago from Ohio

    The serenity payer has always been one of my favorites.

  • profile image

    sickfingers 9 years ago

    I don't believe in Jesus or any deity, nor have I ever read the serenity prayer in its entirety, until now. It's very Buddhist.

    I like it.


  • Benson Yeung profile image

    Benson Yeung 9 years ago from Hong Kong

    great hub. new angle for me to view this old prayer. thanks.