The Hidden Wisdom in the Serenity Prayer: How It Can Help You

September 30, 2016 Kerry Sutton

"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". ~ Dr. Rheinhold Niebuhr

The serenity prayer has been apart of our culture for decades. No matter what you do or don't believe, it's likely you have heard of it. In fact many people can quote the first section by heart. Does the serenity prayer have significant meaning for you? Not yet? Then read on...

The serenity prayer was written by Dr. Rheinhold Niebuhr in the 1940s and adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1942. Before you read this see if you can put aside your personal perspective on religion, no matter what it is, and open your heart to its message.  

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.


♥   Acceptance – Some things can’t be changed. So why not give up the struggle and surrender to outcomes you have don’t have control over.  Your energy and focus for any given moment is not limitless. It’s a precious resource for creating a life of meaning and purpose.

  Courage – You may have noticed the things you can change require considerable courage to do so. Often they are behaviours and ways of responding that have served you at some stage in your life, but are now causing you grief in someway. For example, you might have found a glass of wine after a long day relaxes you, but now your alcohol consumption is affecting your health and / or relationships.  

  One moment, one day at a time – Begin to practice Mindfulness in your everyday life. Learn how to live in the moment and reap the wonderful benefits, such as calmness, satisfaction, contentment, peace, joy, love, gratitude, and serenity.

  Hardship – Hardship is a normal part of life! This is an uncomfortable truth that gets easily swept under the carpet. But it is common to us all, and accepting it as a normal part of your human journey can actually be a relief. So start treating yourself and others with compassion. We are all in it together.

  Trust – It requires acceptance of what is, whether you believe in God, the universe, human evolution or nothing at all. You will have encountered moments in your life when you simply have 'no control' over a situation or an aspect of your life. Your mind might try and hook you with distressing negative thoughts about the past or fears related to the future.

Trust is about taking your hands off the controls, which can be really scary to do, but also incredibly freeing. 

  Reasonably happy – Hang on a minute, this doesn’t seem right! Aren’t we entitled to experience more happiness than this? Russ Harris describes this as “The Happiness Trap” . Constantly striving to feel happy, makes it virtually impossible for you to accept and be in the moment. The consequence is missing out on the simple uncluttered emotions of joy, peace and contentment...



♦   What are you struggling to control in your life or maybe someone else’s, that is wasting your time, energy and creativity?

♦   What areas of your life have you wanted to change, but have been putting off?

♦   Do you live in the moment, or does your mind pull you into the future or drag you into the past?

♦   Do you treat yourself and others with compassion when life is challenging?   

♦   Are you constantly taking on other peoples struggles even when they don’t need you to?

♦   Are their situations or experiences you need to let go of and trust the outcome?

♦   Are you caught in the happiness trap?

In a nutshell the serenity prayer is about accepting the things you can't change, having courage to change the things you can, recognizing challenges are a normal part of the human journey, and enjoying the simple contentment and peace available to you by living in the moment. 


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If you want to experience more contentment, gratitude, joy and peace in your life, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.

0403 064 874

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