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Keep the Faith with Ty’Ann Brown: Breaking Down the Serenity Prayer

Guideposts’ VP of Ministries explores how the Serenity Prayer can positively impact your life, whether or not you are dealing with an addiction or are in a 12-step program.

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Hello everyone. I’m Ty’Ann Brown, encouraging you to keep the faith.

Whether or not you’ve ever been to a 12-step meeting, many of us know the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This prayer was written by an American theologian by the name of Reinhold Niebuhr in the early 1930s and was popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous, and it also stands as a mantra for self-help seekers everywhere.

Anyone that’s ever been to AA will tell you that this prayer, it works and it seems to bring peace. Let’s break it down.

The first part: Accepting the things that you can not change and things that you cannot control can seem really, really, really difficult. I mean, who hasn’t struggled with this?

I certainly have. When someone tragically dies or a relationship ends or when you lose your job, it can seem so hard to accept the reality of what has just happened, but the only real answer? Give it up to God, it’s out of your hands. You’ve got to let it go. Proverbs 20:24 says, that it is the Lord who directs our steps, so then how can anyone understand his own way? You have to follow the Leader, follow Jesus.

The second part: The courage to change what you can. Now, this can be tricky too. Think of losing weight or walking away from a toxic relationship, having to start a whole new career or trying to mend or fix a broken relationship. Sometimes you just don’t want to have to make big changes and you think, “God, this isn’t fair. Why do I have to start something totally new?” But you do.

It can be helpful to think of Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and of good courage. Do not fear nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Life can be super scary, sometimes you have to dig really deep to find your courage, but it’s comforting when you realize that God is walking right there alongside you.

And the final part: Asking God to infuse you with wisdom to know when to accept and when to change. I think the best way to do this is to pray and to listen for God’s voice. Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom: From His mouth comes knowledge and understanding.”

So you don’t need to have an addiction to gain strength, comfort, faith from the Serenity Prayer, whatever it is that you’re facing, whether it be an illness, financial problems, heartbreak, job loss, depression, the key is to accept, to change what you can and to turn to God for the rest. God bless you. Keep the faith.

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