Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist. She has degrees in Psychology and Biblical studies
Versions of the prayer
Most people have probably heard of and or quoted what is known as the Serenity Prayer which is as follows: "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." This has become a mantra since the 1950s for those who attend Alcoholic's Anonymous meetings. It is also used in Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Perhaps like me, you were raised to pray in the Name of Jesus and felt awkward saying this prayer that does not invoke His Name. You will be elated to know that in its original form this prayer indeed was done in the name of the Savior.
The Serenity Prayer's true origin is not known but it is attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who allegedly wrote it somewhere between the late1930s and the early 1940s. Researchers suggest that Niebuhr wrote this prayer as a part of a sermon he was going to deliver. Elisabeth Sifton wrote a book that was published in 2003 titled, "The Serenity Prayer" and she says the following is the original version. "God, give us 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 the one from the other." The New York Times Book Review dated July 12, 1942. identifies the author of The Serenity Prayer as Reinhold Niebuhr and indicates that his original version was: "O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; the courage to change that which can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."
A popular prayer
I often quoted the familiar version of The Serenity Prayer and ended it in Jesus' Name, because this is the way I was encouraged to pray. I am glad to know that in its original form, Christ was already invoked. The Serenity Prayer is very popular around the world and is even in a song by the 70s rock group Boson, titled Higher Power. The following are a portion of the lyrics.
Hey, my high power
The world is spinnin', but I'm not afraid
Yeah, give me the power It's the beginnin', the beginnin' of another day.YeahLet me hold you
Take me back into the secrets of my mind
Let me know you
Come and save me Lord
Don't let me cross the lineHey, my high power
The world is spinnin', but I'm not afraid
Yeah, give me the power It's the beginnin', the beginnin' of another day.
Rapper 50 Cents used a portion of the prayer in Gotta Make it to Heaven.
Gotta Make It To Heaven. He says, "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, but wisdom to know the difference.
In the gaming community, the prayer is quoted by one of the Blood Elves in World of Warcraft Burning Crusade quotes the Serenity prayer.
Power in the Name of Jesus the Prince of Peace
The Serenity Prayer asks for the ability to discern what can and cannot be changed. This is a good mantra during the COVID-19 -pandemic because many are butting their heads trying to change things that they cannot at this time. There is confusion as to whether or not businesses should open or close and if children should return to school or continue to learn at home. There are varying opinions also regarding church services. Despite the desire of many to get back to normal, and not wear masks, in wisdom we should tread carefully. This new normal could go on for a while longer and the wisdom to know what we should and should not push for is invaluable. Anyone can quote the Serenity prayer that is widely popular as well as the one that was circulated decades ago. Only believers in Christ however can have the assurance of His power by invoking His Name. If you don't know Christ and the power in His blood through His resurrection, just call on Him right now and ask Him to reveal His truth to you. The dictionary describes serenity as being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Isaiah 26:3 tells us: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. True peace and serenity can only come through faith in Christ so keep your mind focused on the one who is the Prince of Peace.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on August 10, 2020:
Many people all over the world have changed the original contents of some words of prayers and songs to suit their ears and hearings, yet God remains unchanged. Nice to read about this ma.
JEREMIAH MWANIKI KILUNDA from Nairobi on August 10, 2020:
Good work. Continue teaching us.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 09, 2020:
I didn't realize the Serenity Prayer ws quoted at least in part in many other places. I first earned this prayer in Alanon. I always add Jesus to every prayer. I appreciate the information in this article, Cheryl.