The prayer we have come to know as the Serenity Prayer, attributed to American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, comes to our aid in the present moment, a time when we are faced with much that is unacceptable, and asked to accept it as ?the new normal.? In essence it says:
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 Jesus 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.
The words to the Serenity Prayer have special meaning for those seeking peace at a time of turmoil, despair, or uncertainty in their lives. This prayer has become closely associated with 12 Step programs, offering strength and calm to those in the throes of disorder and confusion.
The prayer speaks of acceptance, courage, and wisdom. It all comes down to surrender, and asking and allowing God to give us these things. It reminds us to trust that God will work things out, that we don?t have any real control over hardships in this imperfect world, or the actions of others.
Jesus Christ is faithful. We can trust him; living one day at a time, savoring each moment of his presence. We don’t always need to understand the “why” of things that happen, but if we recognize that Christ is truly the only one who can bring us inner peace regardless of chaotic circumstances, we will have serenity. In our times of weakness, we learn to rely on God’s strength.
The challenge is in knowing which things we can and should change, and which we can’t and shouldn’t. The way forward is to connect with the Truth, to seek the kingdom of God and ground ourselves in his love. From whence comes the wisdom to discern, the grace to accept and the courage to make changes.
The first step towards building the kingdom of heaven on earth is to admit our powerlessness and humbly ask God for the tools and guidance we need to make the world a safer and holier place. Then, go and make a difference.