Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The Seven Words of The Serenity Prayer

This image reminds me of a time in the late 90s when I was a part of ToughLove, a parents support group. Each night before we closed our meeting we would pray the Serenity Prayer and this is what we would pray:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I once led our ToughLove group in a discussion about this prayer that we prayed each week. I examined seven words from the prayer. He is a recap of what I said:
  • God: The Westminster Catechism defines as a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. If you are going to ask for help you need to ask somone who is both willing and able to help.
  • Serenity: Synonyms are calmness, tranquillity, peacefulness, quietness, uncloudedness. Worry is the opposite of serenity; a frustrated attempt to “do something”. When we act out of worry and other emotions we create more problems. When we act out of serenity we can have confidence in our actions.
  • Accept: To receive willingly or favorably, agree to, concur with, release. Wanting a “normal” life causes us to deny the way things really are. Only when we “accept” can we focus on the things we can change.
  • Change: To make different. Often we want things to be different as long as we don’t have to change. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got.
  • Courage: The ability to meet danger or opposition with fearlessness, calmness and firmness. The most courageous word in our language is often “no” (i.e. to old habits). Sometimes we need encouragement from others to support our actions.
  • Wisdom: Synonyms are discernment, judgment, uncommon-sense. Like serenity, wisdom often comes through patience and experience. Wisdom often comes from other people who have “been there” before.
  • Know: To be sure of, understand, recognize, distinguish between. To act or not to act - often our knowing is less than perfect. Often we can rationalize ourselves out of doing something we know to do.
If you find yourself worried, troubled, anxious, or just dealing with some angst in your life try praying the Serenity Prayer ... it may help you to cast your cares on the Lord.

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  1. Had to use tough love with one of our children years ago. Such a hard thing to do, but effective. Thanks for the explanation of each word.

  2. The Serenity Prayer is one of my tried and true favourites! Thanks for the breakdown of the seven most important words :)


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