The Serenity Prayer

It is not certain how old the Serenity Prayer is or who really wrote it. It may date as far back as Boethius (500 A.D.) who was a philosopher. Before he was martyred by the Christians, he was in prison for a long time during which he wrote “Consolation of Philosophy.”

Reinhold Niebuhr is often credited with writing the Serenity Prayer but he credited Friedrich Oetinger who was an 18th century theologian.

In 1947, Niebuhr read it in an obituary notice in the new York Tribune. He liked it so much that he shared with with Bill W. (of Alcoholics Anonymous fame). Because it seemed so fitting for AA it has ever since been associated with the group.

The prayer, is as follows:

    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;

    Living one day 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;
    that I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with you forever in the next.