HOME>>The Serenity Prayer Principles - Finding Serenity in a Simple Prayer
By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
Can you imagine that the hardships in your life can be
the very things that may lead you to peace? I am
talking about peace of mind where your mind is untroubled, calm and at ease. It’s the kind of peace that you can have in the midst of the storm. Although there is great turbulence in the waters nothing can disturb the serenity within the deep. It’s the kind of peace we long for. Yet, how often we give it up! We get soaked by the heavy rains. We get deafened by the crashing waves. We get shaken by the violent winds.
What keeps serenity at bay? It’s not our troubles as much as it is our resistance to them. There are some things in life we simply cannot change no matter how hard we try. The more we resist accepting this truth, the more frustrated and angry we become. And we end up losing our peace.
There is a well-known prayer that has comforted many people known as the Serenity Prayer. Many are acquainted with only the first part of the prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” It is the remainder of the prayer that gives us some instruction on how to receive the serenity that God wants to grant us. It continues like this: “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. Amen.”
There are several keys to serenity as outlined in this prayer. First, true peace comes from living in the present moment. It is the only place happiness exists. If we begin enjoying and appreciating the here and now we will learn to grow more and more content. Secondly, if we want serenity in our lives we need to stop resisting and begin accepting what we cannot control. Acceptance results when we come to realize that it is not in our power to change some things and that only He can. Thirdly, we need to surrender to God who is all-powerful. When we surrender we are essentially saying, “Lord, may Your will be done—Your will, not mine.” Finally, living one day at a time in complete surrender and acceptance requires that we put our trust in the Lord. We can trust that He will work all things out for us. We can trust that He will give us the courage to change the things that are in our power to change. We can trust Him for wisdom, direction and guidance. We can know that as we trust Him we can have happy lives now and a glorious future in heaven to look forward to.
When the world all around you is shaken; when you face a squall or tempest that you can’t escape, remember that you can have an anchor of perfect peace that keeps you safe. With surrender, acceptance and trust in the Lord you can weather any storm that threatens to batter you down or drown you. You can have peace that exceeds anything you can understand and that guards your mind and heart. It can start with a simple prayer for serenity.
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. Amen.