Wednesday, December 10, 2008

God grant me the serenity...

Most of us have heard the very famous "Serenity Prayer"...

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

It has been used as the key motto of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-Step programs. Today, however, a friend gave me some quotes to read which she had collected. Amongst those quotes was the Serenity Prayer, but in an expanded version I had never before seen. I thought I would do a little research to see what the original quote actually was, and I found the following, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

I like the way the original read, as it included the concept of God's grace. It is by grace, and by God's strength, we can live with this attitude and perspective. Not 'God give us serenity' but 'God give us GRACE to accept with serenity' the things of this life. It puts a different spin on it, don't you think? It is far more rich and God-focused...

I also really like the expanded version (though there seems to be some question about who actually wrote the extra portions):

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;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Wow. So very rich. So very focused on God. So very focused on how it is that we should walk as He did -- accepting hardships as the pathway to peace, taking this world as it is not as we would have it, trusting that He will make all things right IF we surrender to His will... and with the ultimate goal in sight not being happiness here on earth but SUPREME happiness with Him in the life to come! I must ponder this... Lord, grant me this grace...
...think on these things...

1 comment:

  1. I've never seen that expanded version. Much, much better I think. And you're right, that IF is important.


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