Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is one of the most used tools of recovering alcoholics and addicts in the 12-step programs of AA and NA. At times of trouble, this prayer is recited (usually silently) repeatedly until the intensity of difficulty has passed. In so doing, the individual effectively reduces their focus on the "problem" and diverts some personal energy back into themselves to calm themselves and think about options. They are also actively seeking support from a Higher Power. Generally it is the "short" version, the most commonly known.

Here is the full version of the prayer. The short version would be only the first four lines.

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.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Despite years of research by numerous individuals, the exact origin of the prayer is shrouded in history. Also, every time a researcher seems to have uncovered the definitive source, another researcher comes forward to refute the former's claim, at the same time that it raises new, intriguing facts. What is undisputed is the claim of authorship by the theologian Dr. Rheinhold Niebuhr, who recounted to interviewers on several occasions that he had written the prayer as a "tag line" to a sermon he had delivered on Practical Christianity. Yet even Dr. Niebuhr added at least a touch of doubt to his claim, when he told one interviewer, "Of course, it may have been spooking around for years, even centuries, but I don't think so. I honestly do believe that I wrote it myself."

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