What Is Serenity Prayer? Discover Peace And Strength

April 30, 2024


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.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.


What is The Serenity Prayer?

Often identified by its opening line, "God grant me serenity," this profound prayer for serenity, courage, and wisdom stands among the world's most renowned prayers. In 1934 at Heath, Massachusetts, an American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr composed this prayer which was later added and updated. The purpose of this prayer is to navigate aspects of life beyond our control. During the 20th century, it was popularised by Alcoholics Anonymous and was soon entitled as ‘AA Prayer’ for being the firm favourite among the group.

Adaptation to 12-Step Recovery Programs

In 1942, Bill Wilson, the founder of the very first 12-step group, known as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) wrote of a New York member, Jack, who brought to everyone’s attention a caption in a routine New York Herald Tribune obituary that read the following lines:

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.”

The Twelve Steps aim to help individuals overcome compulsive, unmanageable behaviors and bring a sense of order and control back into their lives. It is a set of guiding principles in addiction treatment that outline a course of action for tackling problems related to alcoholism, drug addiction, and behavioral compulsion.

Step 1: Acknowledge our lack of control over alcohol and recognize our lives have become unmanageable.

Step 2: Embrace the belief that a Higher Power could restore sanity to our lives.

Step 3: Decide to entrust our will and lives to the care of a Higher Power as we personally understand it.

Step 4: Conduct a thorough and honest self-reflection, examining our morals and actions.

Step 5: Confess the exact nature of our wrongs to God, ourselves, and another person.

Step 6: Prepare ourselves for the removal of our character defects by a Higher Power.

Step 7: Humbly requested the removal of our shortcomings.

Step 8: Compile a list of individuals we harmed and become willing to make amends.

Step 9: Make direct amends wherever possible, except when doing so would cause harm.

Step 10: Continue self-reflection, promptly admitting when we were wrong.

Step 11: Seek to improve our connection with a Higher Power through prayer and meditation, seeking knowledge of its will and the power to follow it.

Step 12: Having undergone a spiritual awakening, we endeavored to share this message with those struggling with alcohol and applied these principles in all areas of our lives.

How Does Serenity Prayer Help In Addicts and Recovery?

In so few words, the serenity prayer does indeed sum the essence of recovery for many. Here is why reciting the prayer helps addicts in recovery and why reiterating it has been encouraged as a timeless tradition within the rooms.

The following are ways in which the prayer has proved useful to the malady of addiction:

  • Acceptance is not apathy towards a particular cause: Acknowledging our limitations is not indifference; it's a remedy for those who feel burdened by the weight of the world. Active addicts often escape responsibility, unable to accept the conditions of the world. Acceptance enables surrender, allowing a higher power to take charge of uncontrollable issues.
  • Change is never easy and often times scary to even contemplate: Recovery demands embracing change, a daunting prospect for many. Facing the harsh realities of addiction and venturing into the unknown realm of recovery requires extraordinary courage. The acknowledgment of powerlessness over people, places, and things is where the Serenity Prayer becomes effective, fostering the significant change needed for personal growth.
  • Wisdom is part of the complete version of the serenity prayer: Though not part of the daily 12-step meetings, the wisdom aspect is intimately connected to the prayer's often-recited version. Early recovery individuals may initially interpret wisdom as choosing the easier path in life. However, true serenity often follows making difficult choices, challenging addiction's apathy, and fostering spiritual growth.
  • Serenity itself means the freedom to be happy: Serenity, synonymous with the freedom to be happy, extends beyond surrender. Reciting the Serenity Prayer serves as a reminder of the rewards awaiting those in recovery—a life filled with complete joy and carefreeness even in the face of hardships.

MORE BLOG Articles:

Why Choose Us?

Our values make us the best addiction treatment facility in the region.


We offer addiction treatment services to clients and their families. As the first private residential rehab in Malaysia, we set the benchmark for ethical treatment.


We have the ability to provide treatment not only in English, but also Bahasa Melayu, Mandarin, Cantonese and even Arabic! We are truly local yet global.


All our treatment has the Asian culture embedded in our modalities. We are 100% locally owned and operated agency, every center in Asia are owned by expatriates.


We don't only do Addiction Treatment, we also teach it! We are a NAADAC Approved Education Provider. We are also on Udemy, the worlds largest education platform.

Contact Us Today!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.