Posts Tagged ‘the serenity prayer’

The Serenity Prayer. Have you ever read the rest of it?

August 16, 2010

Here is one of my favorites from the movie Billy Jack which starred Tom Laughlin. The movie launched my one of my teachers, Grandmaster Bong Soo Han and the Korean art of Hapkido, into international fame.

Movie fact: Filming began for Billy Jack in Prescott, Arizona, in fall 1969

Frequently quoted but rarely credited or cited in it’s entirety. According to Wikipedia it is most well known today as the serenity prayer, used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) since 1941 and common to many other 12 step programs. The prayer was also printed on small cards and circulated to soldiers in the Armed Forces.

Here is the complete prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the prayer for use in a sermon, perhaps as early as 1934.

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.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

–Reinhold Niebuhr

The extended version:

God, grant us the…
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

The philosopher W.W. Bartley juxtaposes Niebuhr’s prayer with a Mother Goose rhyme (1695) expressing a similar sentiment, but without comment:[13]

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

Another version of it also appears in the 1950s in this version.

O God and Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Buddhism also relates to the Serenity prayer as Buddhism emphasizes Passaddhi which is similar to serenity. Buddhism also strives to change bad or unskillful things.