The most well known version of the Serenity Prayer is attributed to 20th century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
However, Niebuhr indicates that the prayer has been around in a various forms for centuries. The prayer is not part of any religion, it is a non-sectarian prayer.
Serenity Prayer Continued
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.
The Huffpost article (updated 12-06-2017) describes 5 Timeless Truths From The Serenity Prayer That Offer Wisdom In the Modern Age.
The following are five areas that the article helps us to consider:
1. Acceptance is not a passive activity
When we focus on things that we cannot change, we devote emotional, physical and mental energy that could be better directed to important areas of our life. Accepting that there are some things we cannot change does not make us slothful or lazy. According to the article, it constitutes a leap of faith. The article also indicates that the prayer goes on to say, “that He (or the universe or time) will make all things right if I surrender to His Will.” Thus we learn to let go and have faith in the outcome.
2. Focus on changing ourselves
It is difficult to identify and change deeply ingrained habits. The Huffport article indicates that habits gain power through repetition and that it takes real focus to take a look at ourselves and ask, “is this how I really want to live?” This interpretation of the prayer leads us to the conclusion that self-investigation is an act of “courage.”
3. Hardship can be a good teacher
The prayer goes on to state, we must accept “hardships as the pathway to peace.” We all encounter obstacles and hardships. When we view these challenges as opportunities for growth, we can change and possibly even transform our circumstances.
4. Surrendering requires courage
The Serenity Prayer frames the idea of surrender as an act of faith. The prayer helps us see the wisdom in trusting powers beyond ourselves.
5. We can obtain happiness now and in the future
The prayer’s ending has a profound comment about happiness. It says that if you follow the prayer, we may be “reasonably happy in this life.”
The Huffpost article states that our culture measures happiness and success mostly in terms of money and power. The word “reasonably” gives us a modest definition of a successful life.
Instead of wondering about why we aren’t happier, the prayer helps us focus on the present and enjoy one moment at a time.
Finally, the prayer encourages us to celebrate our own potential, limits, and capacity for rising above our current situation.