There is no shortage of theories as to who wrote the Serenity Prayer. Records from Alcoholics Anonymous show that Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, of the Union Theological Seminary, NYC, composed it in 1932 as the ending to a longer prayer. In 1934, Dr. Howard Robbins, the doctor’s friend & neighbor, requested permission to use that portion of the longer prayer in a compilation he was building at the time. It was published that year in Dr. Robbins’ book of prayers.
In 1939, it came to the attention of an early A.A. member who liked it so much, he brought it to Bill W., the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill & the staff read the prayer & felt that it particularly suited the needs of AA. Cards were printed & passed around. Thus the simple little prayer became an integral part of the AA movement.
Another popular theory states that Reinhold Niebuhr actually accredited Friedrich Oetinger, an 18th century theologian, for writing the Serenity Prayer. This theory suggests that in 1947, Niebuhr read the prayer in an obituary notice in the New York Tribune & was so taken by it that he shared it with Bill Wilson.
Dear Lord, Heavenly Father, God, Take away my difficulties, Take my will & my life, Dear God, Higher Power, Dear God, My Creator, Higher Power, Higher Power, I pray I may continue: Higher Power, as I understand You, Dear God, Our Father, who art in Heaven Lord, O Divine Master, We are going to know a new freedom & a new happiness. We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word Serenity & We will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we’ve gone, That feeling of uselessness & self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things & gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude & outlook on life will change. Fear of people & economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which use to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not to for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
12-Step Prayers & Promises
Prayer of St. Francis
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.
I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand
The true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.
I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity.
I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought &
Addictive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit & restore in me a clear mind.
I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
That victory over them may bear witness
To those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy love & Thy way of life,
May I do Thy will always!
Guide me in my recovery,
Show me how to live.
It is I who has made my life a mess.
I have done it, but I cannot undo it.
My mistakes are mine &
I will begin a searching & fearless moral inventory.
I will write down my wrongs
But I will also include that which is good.
I pray for the strength to complete the task.
My inventory has shown me who I am,
Yet I ask for Your help
In admitting my wrongs to another person & to You.
Assure me, & be with me, in this Step,
For without this Step I cannot progress in my recovery.
With Your help, I can do this, & I do it.
I am ready for Your help
In removing from me the defects of character
Which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery.
Help me to continue being honest with myself &
Guide me toward spiritual & mental health.
I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad.
I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character
Which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding.
I ask Your help in making my list of all those I have harmed.
I will take responsibility for my mistakes &
Be forgiving to others as You are forgiving to me.
Grant me the willingness to begin my restitution.
This I pray.
I pray for the right attitude to make my amends,
Being ever mindful not to harm others in the process.
I ask for Your guidance in making indirect amends.
Most important, I will continue to make amends
By staying abstinent, helping others &
Growing in spiritual progress.
To grow in understanding & effectiveness;
To take daily spot check inventories of myself;
To correct mistakes when I make them;
To take responsibility for my actions;
To be ever aware of my negative &
Self-defeating attitudes & behaviors;
To keep my willfulness in check;
To always remember I need Your help;
To keep love & tolerance of others as my code; &
To continue in daily prayer how I can best serve You,
My Higher Power.
I pray to keep my connection with You
Open & clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers & meditation I ask especially for
Freedom from self-will, rationalization, & wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of correct thought & positive action.
Your will Higher Power, not mine, be done.
My spiritual awakening continues to unfold.
The help I have received I shall pass on & give to others,
Both in & out of the Fellowship.
For this opportunity I am grateful.
I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day
On the road of spiritual progress.
I pray for the inner strength & wisdom
To practice the principles of this way of life in all I do & say.
I need You, my friends, & the program every hour of every day.
This is a better way to live.
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread & forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, & the Glory forever.
Make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness.
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console.
To be understood as to understand.
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
we’ll see how our experiences can benefit others.
They’re being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.
They’ll always materialize if we work for them.
Take away my difficulties,
Take my will & my life,
I pray I may continue:
Higher Power, as I understand You,
Our Father, who art in Heaven
O Divine Master,
We are going to know a new freedom & a new happiness.
We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word Serenity &
We will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we’ve gone,
That feeling of uselessness & self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things & gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude & outlook on life will change.
Fear of people & economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which use to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not to for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not.
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