A Prayer For Acceptance and Guidance
The Serenity Prayer

I want to share a simple and beautiful prayer of acceptance called the serenity prayer. We pray this prayer and fall into a place of acceptance in our lives.

The Serenity Prayer

Dear 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.


The original serenity prayer was by Reinhold Niebuhr, and includes further lines.

the serenity prayer

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This prayer for acceptance and guidance for change became famous when it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other twelve-step programs.

Click to read a spirituality article by an author who found her spirituality through AA.

An Affirmation For Acceptance and Courage

The serenity prayer can also be said as an affirmation:

The Serenity Prayer Affirmation

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

In difficult times, living with hardship, I practised meeting the frustration and not-knowing with this prayer for guidance and acceptance.

I was willing to switch from fear and desperation to trust.

Practice and willingness are good words :-)

It can be hard to know the difference between those things in our life we need to make an effort to change, and those things we need to meet with acceptance.

It seems sensible to hand over the decision and ask God to guide me.

It feels good to affirm that I have the wisdom to distinguish between the two.

There are times when it certainly doesn't feel like I have the wisdom!

Acceptance Vs Resignation

When life is difficult, we can be reluctant to accept things as they are. We think if we do so, they will just stay the same.
But acceptance is not the same thing as resignation.

It is a paradox, but when we truly sink into the present moment and accept things as we are, our lives can shift in quite magical ways.

By saying the serenity prayer we are choosing to have a moment in which we are willing to believe:

God can handle this.
I can handle following God's guidance.
So I can handle this.
There is an answer.
I don't know what it is.
And I don't need to know.
I take the next step.
It is enough.

The Universe responds to our trust.

The wisdom to change what I can change

The serenity prayer asks for the wisdom to change what we can change. 

The truth is that we have limited influence over our physical world. Even when we have this influence, we know that there are others in the world (or perhaps ourselves at times in our past) who don't have this influence. 

In the spirit of Oneness and of helping ALL, the ONE thing we can always change, and perhaps the only real change, is to include God, Spirit, Light in more and more of our daily life.

Prayer to include God

Dear God, to the experience of illness and difficult relationships, I'm tempted to add shame.
(Fill in the area of your life in which you feel shame.)

Please let me see the areas of my life over which I have little influence.

Let me see and act upon the enormous influence I have over how much I include you in my life,
and how much I allow myself to receive your love.

I include you. 
I receive your love.

I pray this for myself and for anyone here who wishes to join me in asking for this guidance.

Living With Illness – Help, I Don't Know What To Do!

When you are living with chronic illness, particularly an illness which requires energy management like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis /CFS it can be so hard to know what you need to change and what you need to accept.

In any moment, we can ask:
“Do I need to rest or to keep active?”
“Do I avoid what I am allergic to or expose myself to it?”
“Is it right to try the next treatment or to rest and live the life available to me?”

When I had very severe ME, I would often find myself saying:
“I don't know what to do.”

I set out to watch out for these words and replace them with the serenity prayer.

Here is another affirmation for spiritual guidance.

I know what to do
and I know the order in which to do it.

I said this short affirmation prayer for guidance a lot!!! each time I found myself saying:
"Aaargh, what can I do?"
"Everything I do seems to be the wrong thing."

Here's a slightly longer version.

I am connected with a source of infinite Wisdom.  Therefore I say...

"I know what to do
and I know the order in which to do it."

I let these words of trust be a channel through which God's guidance reaches me.

God is guiding me from a place of knowing what is best for me and what is best for everyone.

I take time to sit in silence and hear the answer.

I trust the answer will come.

Writing this article is a reminder that I need to do this more often!

Let me aim to say the affirmation for guidance and be willing to rest in the space of trusting God for the guidance I need.

Let me access the part of me that is always in touch with Divine guidance and always knows what to do.

I ask to touch this place of knowing right now.

I hold a place for you to touch that place of knowing right now:

You know what to do
and you know the order in which to do it.

God is guiding you from a place of knowing what is best for you
and what is best for everyone.


Articles on a-spiritual-journey-of-healing relevant to The Serenity Prayer:

  • There is a FREE ebook available on this spiritual website on Releasing Judgement - Forgiveness Exercises for Self And Acceptance and Inner Peace.
    The free book outlines a powerful technique I developed to help me find peace and acceptance in difficult situations, receive guidance and forgive my way out.

Click on the link below to move from the serenity prayer to a list of prayers suitable as daily prayers - said by me in the past. But not quite as often now! oops.

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For 14 years, Katherine T Owen was severely disabled with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, unable to walk, with little speech, and with inadequate care.

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