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Wisdom to Know the Difference

February Series - God, Grant me Serenity - Week Three

The Serenity Prayer is believed to have been written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr sometime in the 1930’s. Although at the time it was written, it was not directly related to alcoholics, later it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as the prayer stated at each of their meetings. It would then become a regular prayer at many other recovery meetings, including that of adult children of alcoholics.

I had heard of the prayer long before I realized the message it carried to so many suffering from addiction or the aftereffects of living with addicts. Now the simple prayer has become a staple in my everyday life. It wasn’t until just this year I learned the entire prayer. For years I only heard the first three lines. When something reminds me of my past or a harsh word is spoken to me, I say this prayer to 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.


With God’s help, I have learned the wisdom to know the difference between accepting what I cannot change and changing the things I can.

In week one of this series, I spoke about accepting things I cannot change.

  • I must accept I cannot control people

  • I must accept I cannot control situations

  • I must accept I cannot control outcomes

Last week, we looked at having the