living prayers - contemporary prayers for today

contemporary prayers for today

the serenity prayer

The words to the Serenity Prayer

"God grant me the serenity" is one of the most popular prayers in the world, and is most well known in its short form (up to and including the line "wisdom to know the difference"). It is thought that the words after this, which form the long version of the serenity prayer, were added at a later date, and are probably the work of a different author.

Popular questions about this famous prayer

Who wrote the serenity prayer?
Is the serenity prayer in the bible? If so, where can I find it?
What does the serenity prayer mean?

The Serenity Prayer
(full version)

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;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.


Some Popular Questions

Who wrote the serenity prayer?

The original words of this beautiful prayer are attributed to the Christian writer and theologian Reinhold Neibuhr (1892-1971). It is thought that Reinhold wrote the first four lines and that the words after this (beginning with “Living one day at a time”), which form the long version of the serenity prayer, were added at a later date, and are probably the work of a different author.

Is the serenity prayer in the bible? If so, where can I find it?

No, this prayer is not in the bible! However, it does allude to some biblical themes, such as:-
finding peace in God.
Seeking God for wisdom (read the book of Proverbs explores the nature of the Lord’s wisdom).
Asking for courage. When we pray the line “courage to change the things I can” we may think of how Joshua in the Old Testament was commanded to be strong and courageous, because God was with him.

What does the serenity prayer mean?

Julie Palmer from Prayerscapes explores how the serenity prayer can help us in our daily lives:-

The words of this prayer are a meditation on personal change. The serenity prayer raises a question – what areas of my life can I ask God for strength to change or overcome something in, and what areas are just too difficult to do now? For example, let’s say you have a fear of going outside. The biggest fear might be doing this on your own, so perhaps a more achievable prayer would be to ask that you have the courage from God to walk outside with a trusted friend. Or just to walk to the front door and open it etc. So the Serenity Prayer is really about giving space to discern what change is possible and asking for His peace for things that are not yet possible. You may want to bring before the Lord areas where you desire to see change. Part of this process may be about figuring out what changes are achievable for you right now.

The Serenity Prayer

A meditation on this famous prayer with beautiful images of distant galaxies and constallations. Just under three minutes long:-

download this prayer as a pdf

pdf image

printable serenity prayer

two more prayers for clarity and wisdom

Prayer for clarity of mind

Dear God,

Be in my thoughts like a torch shining in the dark.
Be in my heart like a drumbeat keeping time.
Be in my body like an intricate dance.
Be in my soul like a cascading waterfall.
Be in my speech like a poet spins lyrics.
Be in my spirit like a strong wind of change.
Sweep up all that I am, bring light to my being
And take me as an instrument for you.


Prayer for wisdom and knowledge

Lord of heaven and earth,
I pray that as I search for knowledge in study that I would discover divine treasure.
May I be able to sift through all I read to find the gems of your kingdom.

Lord, I long not for the wisdom that leads to power or fortune but the wisdom that leads to faith and love.

Guide my pathway as I thirst for your truths.

May I drink from your word and pour out this heavenly water on others,
Your water of life, faith, hope, truth and love,
Into the hearts and lives of all I meet.