The Meaning of the Serenity Prayer - Busy Blessed Women (2022)

The Serenity prayer crossed my path recently. I’ve seen it many times but hadn’t given it much thought. It’s a well-known prayer that asks God for His help in achieving what many of us are craving right now- the comfort of His serenity. Let’s break down the meaning of the Serenity Prayer and see how we can apply it’s comfort to our own lives.

Our 24 hour access to internet, television, radio, and social media make it hard to get away from all the bad news, disagreements, unrest, and uncivil discussions happening around us. We can get caught up in reading, listening, and responding to it.

It’s even harder to rise above all the noise and discover ways to make lasting, positive changes.

Maybe that’s why this old prayer touched me so much. It gives incredible Biblical wisdom on dealing with difficult circumstances. God sees what we have been dealing with these past many months.

He has a wonderful plan for us to rest in His mindset, peace, and wisdom which brings us the serenity we crave.

What Does Serenity Mean?

Serenity is a state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? The state of our world right now seems the complete opposite.

Is it possible to attain a state of serenity? Yes, but not on our own. We need God’s help and strength to make it a lasting reality.

There are circumstances in our lives- illness, job loss, losing a loved one, etc.- that are out of our control. Tragedies seem to make daily headlines. It’s hard to accept these things that we can’t change.

But the beauty of this prayer is how we can come to a place of serenity and peace instead of confusion or anger.

Who Wrote the Serenity Prayer?

An American theologian, Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote the Serenity Prayer. He first used it in his sermons in the 1930s. It then spread to other literature, its use by Alcoholics Anonymous, and its inclusion in a prayer book issued to Army chaplains in 1944. (The Complete History of the Serenity Prayer (

The Full Serenity Prayer

Dr. Niebuhr published this expanded version of his prayer in 1951. I had never seen this version before, but it adds much wisdom to the short version.

(Video) The Serenity Prayer

It is more often quoted and used in its shorter form:

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Where is the Serenity Prayer in the Bible?

We won’t find the Serenity prayer in the Bible, but we can find many Bible verses which uphold its essence. Let’s look at a few…

One which comes to mind is Philippians 4:6-7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

•When worries and concerns invade your thoughts, practice immediately turning them into prayers. Then, Paul says, our hearts and minds will be guarded by God’s peace!

Serenity Prayer Meaning Line by Line

Grant me the Serenity

There are so many verses in the Bible which speak about peace. God’s peace in our lives can give us a spirit of serenity and freedom from any inner or outward disturbance.

We have peace with God through Jesus. We also have the gift of Christ’s peace in this world. Jesus explains:

•“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV.

Oh yes, we know trouble; and it’s comforting that Jesus tells us to expect it. But He reminds us we can still claim His peace amid troublesome times.

•“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11 NIV.

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This message from Paul puts the exclamation point on how he trusted God in all his life’s circumstances- good and bad. He reveals his secret for contentment in verse 13- claiming Jesus’ strength- “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJV)

Accept the Things I Cannot Change

•“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.

Accepting God’s plan is the only way to find peace when we find ourselves in situations that are out of our control and unable to change. Trusting God to do His work in our lives will bring serenity.

Give me the Courage to Change the Things I Can

•“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV.

I love how direct Paul is in his instructions. Be on guard against spiritual dangers (is Satan stealing your serenity?), stand firmly on your faith in Christ, be ready to face difficulties (no shrinking back!), and summon up the strength of Christ.

I just sat up a little taller in my chair.

We can look around and see things we would like to change in this world. Everyone has things they’d like to change about themselves and their lives. Jesus prepares us for change by giving us the strength and courage to push forward and change the things we can for His good.

Grant Me the Wisdom

•“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 NIV.

And I thought wisdom was just wise advice and information! James tells us God’s wisdom is so much more.

We can pray for this abundant wisdom of God when we need to know the difference between the things we can change, and those we cannot. His wisdom is perfect in so many ways and can lead you to peace in your situation.

Living One day at a Time

Living one day at a time,Enjoying one moment at a time…

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•“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 NIV.

Making plans for tomorrow and beyond is sensible, worrying about it is not.

I tend to “multiply” worries into lots of “what ifs” that stem from fear. Jesus reminds us it is important to live one day at a time. It’s not wrong to remember the past or look forward to what’s ahead in our lives, but He wants us to concentrate on living each day with Him at the helm.

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,Taking, as Jesus did,This sinful world as it is,Not as I would have it…

Accepting the difficult things in life is hard. Haven’t we all asked, “Why God?” But hardship is inevitable and sometimes out of our control.

But Paul reminds us-
•“We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope.” Romans 5:4 NIV.

Hardships and challenges aren’t meant to discourage or defeat us.

They can help us grow and strengthen our character if we let them. It may not be pleasant, but they can deepen our trust in God and give us confidence when the next hardship rolls around. Hardships can be a path to peace when we trust in His sovereignty, love, and promises.

Trust in the Lord

Trusting that You will make all things right,If I surrender to Your will,

•“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV.

We don’t always want to surrender. There are times we want our own way and the outcome we desire. Fear and doubt play a part in those decisions and thoughts. We want to trust Him 100% but we can fear what His “no” or alternate course may look like .

(Video) Prevailing Prayer | Dwight L Moody | Christian Audiobook Video

Instead of leaning on our desires and thoughts, we need to trust Him completely. I need to go to God in prayer with my concerns, use His Word as my guide, and surrender my concerns over to Him.

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

•“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3: 1-2 NIV.

Being “heavenly-minded” is a beautiful motivation for living our lives for Jesus here on earth. He blesses us beyond measure, even with all the worldly troubles we endure. And our future is safe! Can you imagine when we see our Savior’s face for the very first time? That is our beautiful future!

Amen. So be it!

God, Grant Me Serenity!

The world was a different place in the 1930’s when Dr. Niebuhr wrote this prayer. One thing that has stayed the same is the difficult circumstances that come with our fallen world. We will continue to deal with them until God calls us home. In the meantime, there is a way to live in the here and now with God’s serenity in our hearts.

God’s serenity comes from knowing He is in control, even when our world is not. Can you see how different our world would look if we all adopted this prayer?

Blessings of Serenity,


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What is the meaning behind the Serenity Prayer? ›

What is the meaning of the Serenity Prayer? The Serenity Prayer means letting go of situations beyond your control and taking action toward things within your control. It also means being able to know when things are within your control and when things are beyond your control.

What is the biblical meaning of serenity? ›

The first is the serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed. The definition of serenity is a state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. If one will seek to honestly assess a situation, not be complacent, and learn to accept things it can lead to a sense of peace.

What is the full version of the Serenity Prayer verse? ›

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, living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; taking this world as it is and not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your ...

What is the prayer that says help me to accept the things I Cannot change? ›

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.

What does it mean to accept the things I Cannot change? ›

To accept things as they are means to let go of your expectations of how things should be. Instead, allow things to be what they are. It means to say to yourself, “It is what it is, and there is nothing I can do to change the current situation.” This is a contrast to asking the universe “why is this happening to me?”

Is the Serenity Prayer for everyone? ›

The 12 step Serenity Prayer is a prayer for everyone, not just alcoholics. The prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr and is specifically for people who want to break their bad habits, change their ways, and accept the things that cannot be changed.

What does Bible say about peace and serenity? ›

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What is the 12 Step Serenity Prayer? ›

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

Who wrote the Serenity Prayer Catholic? ›

As with a number of famous St. Francis quotes, this one is misattributed. The Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote what we now commonly call the “Serenity Prayer” that is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

What is the short version of the Serenity Prayer? ›

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.

What religion is the Serenity Prayer? ›

Now the Serenity Prayer is about to endure a controversy over its authorship that is likely to be anything but serene. For more than 70 years, the composer of the prayer was thought to be the Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, one of modern Christianity's towering figures.

How do you pray for a hardship? ›

Prayers for guidance

Let me lean on you with all my heart instead of relying on my own imperfect understanding. Give me clear guidance in my life. I ask for your help to direct my path. Give me confidence that your direction is always the best way to go.

How do you accept a situation and move on? ›

Think about something you've been struggling with, and give these three tips a go to see if you can come to accept it.
  1. Imagine what a role model or admired friend would do in the same situation. ...
  2. Write down your thoughts. ...
  3. Talk to others about how you're feeling.

How do you accept the things you can't control? ›

Here are a few tips to living with greater acceptance so you can have more joy and peace of mind.
  1. Let Go of the Past. ...
  2. Learn Coping Skills. ...
  3. Make It Meaningful. ...
  4. Expect Less. ...
  5. Set New Goals. ...
  6. Embracing a Spiritual Outlook. ...
  7. Stop Worrying Unnecessarily. ...
  8. Focus on What You Can Control.
20 Jul 2020

How do you accept change gracefully? ›

  1. Freak Out For a Minute, Privately. There's nothing wrong with being scared of change, especially when it blindsides you, so go ahead and freak out for a minute. ...
  2. Give Yourself Time to Process. ...
  3. Be Honest About Your Feelings. ...
  4. Get More Information. ...
  5. Give Your Opinion. ...
  6. Accepting Change.
19 Mar 2017

What are some quotes about serenity? ›

Serenity quotes to calm your mind
  • “ Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity.” – Thich Nhat Hanh. ...
  • “ I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.” – ...
  • “ Serenity is knowing that your worst shot is still pretty good.” –
30 Aug 2021

How do you quote the Serenity Prayer? ›

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. Our Fellowship's Serenity Prayer can be recited either in the first (I, me) or third (us, we) person.

What is the most comforting scripture? ›

2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

What does the Bible say about the strength of a woman? ›

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come." The Good News: With God enveloping us in love and strength, we have absolutely no reason to fear for the future or life after death. "She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her."

Where is the Serenity Prayer from? ›

The Serenity Prayer has been variously attributed to an ancient Sanskrit text, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi and others. Many AA members were first exposed to the prayer in 1948, when it was quoted in the Grapevine, an AA periodical.

How many serenity prayers are there? ›

The Serenity Prayer and 16 Variations.

What is Pope Francis favorite prayer? ›

The Holy Father says one of the most beautiful prayers of praise is “The Canticle of the Sun” written by St. Francis of Assisi. The pope recommends that we regularly pray this most famous prayer of praise.

Who invented praying to Mary? ›

Actually, we owe the first half of it to the angel Gabriel and to Mary's cousin Elizabeth. “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,” are the words of the angel when he greets Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:28).

Who is the patron saint of serenity? ›

Saint Fina
Born1238 San Gimignano, Italy
Died12 March [O.S. 5 March] 1253 San Gimignano, Italy
Venerated inSan Gimignano, Italy
FeastMarch 12 and 1st Sunday of August
4 more rows

What are the 3 daily prayers? ›

Observant Jews recite the Amidah at each of three daily prayer services in a typical weekday: morning (Shacharit), afternoon (Mincha), and evening (Ma'ariv).

What is a powerful prayer to say? ›

Dear Lord, Help me remember what a difference it makes when I make time with You a priority in my morning. Awaken me in body and spirit each day with a desire to meet with You and to hear You speak words of affirmation, assurance, and wisdom over my heart as I prepare to go into my day. In Jesus' name, Amen.

What is the best short prayer? ›

You are my God and I know you can deliver me. I ask this in the name of your son, Jesus. Amen. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

What does the big book say about serenity? ›

I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. … Acceptance can go hand in hand with belief in a higher power. Trusting the greater order of things when things don't go your way can bring peace.

What religion is the Serenity Prayer from? ›

It is believed that Neibuhr first wrote the Serenity prayer as part of a sermon, which he then used at the Heath Evangelical Union Church in Massachusetts. He continued to use it in sermons from 1934, where it spread to Alcoholics Anonymous and was quickly adopted by the group.


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