The Serenity Prayer - Part 1 — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

The Serenity Prayer – Part 1 — Morning Devotions

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference. - The Serenity Prayer

By Chris WittsSaturday 11 May 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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This morning I read of a lady who wrote a letter to a newspaper. She was looking for help. A lady was desperate looking for answers to her own life. And I think she was typical of how many people feel today. This is what she said, she said – ‘I’m an intelligent, attractive woman under 40. I’ve got a great career. I make good money, own a nice home, new car. I wear designer clothes and everyone loves me because I’m outgoing and funny. But what’s my problem? I don’t enjoy living. And it would be OK with me if I didn’t wake up tomorrow morning.’

And this woman apparently has suffered from depression as a younger woman. So her son was born and she really enjoyed that experience. And she said, now that he’s grown up, I can’t find a reason to live. I have no success in my relationships with others. I don’t see any point going on. Can you please help me.

A very sad letter indeed. Counsellors and ministers of religion talk to people like this woman every day. And for some people, it’s obvious that life has become an emotional and spiritual battleground. You know, the joy of living is gone, and in its place there’s that feeling of a deep, dark despair and that could well have happened to you. Now we can take the Bible and I talk about this. Every morning we could read a verse from Psalm 31:24 for example.

Be strong and take heart, all of you who hope in the Lord – and that’s a great verse.

Serenity Prayer

But the trouble is, it may not help on its own. Question is, what do you do when it’s hard to have hope? Well, I want to mention this morning and then take this a bit further tomorrow, something that is known as the Serenity Prayer. Have you heard this? This is a fairly old prayer, written in 1943 by a minister and a seminary professor. It was written when the world was spiraling in and out of economic depression and war, and it has helped many, many people over the years.

It says: 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. Now that prayer, the serenity prayer actually demands some effort. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Now think about that for a minute. We probably find it difficult to accept the things we can’t change.

We find it very challenging, I guess, to feel serene about some things that we might have done ourselves that we regret or things that we’ve done that we can’t change. I mean, you can’t change the past, can you? You can’t change the mistakes that you’ve made and you can’t take back the words that might have been said in the heat of the moment or change the ways that you might have hurt other people.

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And maybe there have been things that you’ve done to others.

Now we can make amends. We can ask for forgiveness. That’s a good thing. We can offer forgiveness to other people, but that’s part of it. This prayer has become very popular because it does make sense. It tells us really not to waste valuable emotional energy, battling with stuff that can’t be altered. So we might pray that serenity prayer. We ask for courage. We ask for wisdom. And what sort of wisdom is that? It’s the wisdom to know the difference between what we can and what we can’t change. Do you know in the Bible King Solomon one day had a dream, and God told him that he could ask for anything he wanted, and Solomon asked for wisdom. He said, ‘Oh, God, give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between what is right and what is wrong.’ That’s in 1 Kings 3:9. Now I think it’s one of the most beautiful petitions ever asked of God. Please give me an understanding mind, it really means a listening heart.

Actually, someone was basically asking, I want my heart to listen to you, And the Scriptures say that God answered that prayer. He gave Solomon wisdom, discernment and great understanding. So wouldn’t it be great to have that sort of understanding to prevent mistakes like that from happening? Well, of course, we need to ask God for his strength to rebuild our lives at times, even in the darkest moments.

Let’s Pray

Well, Heavenly Father, we thank you that you watch over us, that Jesus, your Son was wounded for our transgressions. We thank you Lord, because those actions have brought healing to ourselves. So, Lord, just help us to pick up the pieces and to move on. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

(The Serenity Prayer – Part 2 — Morning Devotions)