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

Praying instead of worrying

In times of worry, prayer ought to be our first instinctive action. This is the reminder and promise of Philippians 4:6–7:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV)

One well-known simple and beautiful prayer we can pray is "The Serenity Prayer"

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Some background on this prayer from Glazier, M., & Hellwig, M. K. (2004).  The modern Catholic encyclopedia (Rev. and expanded ed.). Liturgical Press.

The prayer was composed and written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971), distinguished Protestant theologian and social critic, who taught for decades at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Niebuhr spent many summers in the village of Heath in Massachusetts where he often worshiped and preached at the local church. One Sunday, in the summer of 1934, he hastily wrote the Serenity Prayer on the back of an envelope; and ironically, while most of his scholarly work is now unread and forgotten, the brief prayer, so casually written, is recited all over the world.

Here is the original text of Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:

  God give me the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, 
courage to change the things that should be changed, 
and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other.

  During World War II the prayer was widely distributed to members of the armed services by the United States Organization. Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, adopted it and recommended its use by members of the AA program and it has been used by them for over sixty years. He is also credited with “polishing” Niebuhr’s prayer giving it its present popular format:

  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

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