Serenity Prayer

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The Serenity Prayer goes, "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference."[1]

Although the ending, "wisdom to know the difference", sounds like a punchline, the prayer is no joke. It is part of the most serious organized program of spiritual and religious development known to modern psychology (see Twelve Steps).

In life having the wisdom to know what we can change and what we cannot change is frequently the hardest part of an endeavour. How long do we keep trying to change something that resists change? When do we switch and look for something to do that is productive?

The Serenity Prayer is not found in the Bible. Instead, it was written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.[2]

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.

See also


  1. "Never had we seen so much A.A. in so few words," Bill W. wrote. The Origin of our Serenity Prayer
  2. The Serenity Prayer