There is so much goodness packed into this simple and ageless prayer.
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
Whether you believe in God or not, or whether you have your own vision of God, this is a powerful mantra that many of us (like me) have never spent much time thinking about it until this morning when I received an email referencing the prayer. It caught my attention so I decided to look up its origins.
While it sounds like something from the Bible it is not, and was allegedly written in the 1930’s (there is some confusion over the exact source) however many similar mantras have existed over the years dating back to 8th century Buddhism.
The version above stands out because it is so clear and simple and as a result it was adopted by army chaplains in World War II and then around the same time, by Alcoholics Anonymous as a way for its members to overcome addiction.
The author of the email from this morning was Steve Chandler who thought that this prayer should be renamed. Serenity is good he said, but calling it the Serenity Prayer ignores the other two amazing parts of this prayer and they are courage and wisdom. So instead he calls it the Courage Prayer.
Perhaps serenity comes from being courageous.
I prefer to think of it in reverse order: the Wisdom, Courage and Serenity Prayer.
To me, what makes it so powerful is that it cultivates inner strength and empowerment simply by asking for these things. And it is succinct.
Any way you name it this prayer is great and although it has never been part of my own morning prayers, it will be from now on.