Serenity Prayer

Scott Shatto Peace Church

The Serenity Prayer is a Christian prayer written in 1943 by the American Protestant theologian and man of letters, Reinhold Niebuhr, here in its most familiar form:

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.

In 1951 Niebuhr added the concept of “grace” to the opening lines, which I think was an unnecessary clarification. Wikipedia also notes that the prayer didn’t come out of nowhere. There are many antecedents throughout the world’s wisdom literature. Also, and quite interestingly, there was even a case of plagiarism with this prayer. Quite ironic considering the subject matter! For details see the excellent Wikipedia entry.¹


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