Serenity Prayer Worksheet

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.

GOD: the being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is the creator and ruler of the universe

GRANT: to permit as a right, privilege, or favor.  Grant implies being given something as a courtesy or act of grace that is not necessarily due to merit and could be withheld.

ME:  Used to indicate an individual who it the object rather than the subject of a verb.

SERENITY: the quality or state of being calm, peaceful and tranquil.

ACCEPT: To receive or take something that is offered willingly; To recognize or believe as true.  When I am accepting, I surrender to the situation and take responsibility for what I have agreed to or received.  When I am in a place of acceptance, I am tolerant and I do not resist what is.

CHANGE: to make or become different; transform.

COURAGE:  The mental or moral strength to persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Courage is the willingness to confront fear, danger, uncertainty, and intimidation, either  externally and internally, with bravery, perseverance, honesty and zest. The Latin root of the word courage is cor, which means heart.  So to be courageous means to live with the heart and requires both endurance and love.

WISDOM: The knowledge and insight to discern inner qualities and relationships through personal experience.

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change

What does this phrase mean to me?

This phrase embodies the first step principle of surrender and acceptance. God is giving to me what I am asking for as an act of benevolence and grace.  Serenity is a gift from my HP.

I cannot control what happens to me. I can only control how I respond to what happens to me.  When I admit that there are people, places, things, and situations over which I am totally powerless, those things begin to lose their power over me. I learn that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgment, or assistance!

The key to my serenity is acceptance. But “acceptance” does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. It does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it… and I have to accept that fact.

Nor does it mean that I have to accept “unacceptable behavior.” Today I have choices. I no longer have to accept abuse in any form. I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown. I no longer have to fear “change” or the unknown. I can merely accept it as part of the journey.

What areas in my life would I like to change but know I cannot?  I would like to have everyone do everything that I want, when I want it.  I would like to be physically healthy, never suffer pain or illness. I would like to be normal, have a perfect family and have normal, healthy children.

Courage to change the things I can, and 

What does this phrase mean to me?

This phrase embodies the second Step: doing things differently to change the outcome from insanity to sanity.

The only thing that I can change is myself.  I have control over my attitude and how I respond to what happens to me.  Changing how I react is a discipline and takes courage because it involves risk and a willingness to take responsibility and confront my fears.

Wisdom to know the difference

What does this phrase mean to me?

This phrase embodies the third step: doing the mature and responsible thing, not our own self-centered will.

This phase means seeking to know the difference between when I need to be silent, change my perspective, act differently or accept the situation as it is.  Our difficulties arise when we exert our will to change something over which we have no power or not change something that we can change.  It is the challenge of knowing when   to start doing something and act with courage or when to stop doing something and practice acceptance.

Wrap up questions 

What affects serenity?

The best answer I could come up with is from the Big Book: “my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations. The higher my expectations of other people are the lower is my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. I have to discard my ‘rights’, as well as my expectations, by asking myself, “How important is it, really? How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety?”

Does serenity come from situations outside us or from somewhere inside ourselves?

Serenity is a quality that emerges from within. We cannot directly control our feelings. However, we can influence our feelings through two other factors we can control — our thinking and our actions. As it says in the Big Book: “When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is at this moment.

I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Acceptance has taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we each have a right to be here.”

Are there differences between serenity and happiness?

Happiness is defined as” A state of well-being and contentment.”  True happiness arises from within oneself rather than from situations outside us. It is a byproduct of thinking and behaving in a positive manner.

True and enduring happiness is achieved when we live a life with meaning and purpose in harmony with our values and principles. Trust and faith in the God of our understanding brings peace of mind and happiness. As it says in the Big Book: “Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.  Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Things themselves don’t hurt or hinder us. Nor do other people. The root of our suffering is our attitude and reactions.  A positive attitude leads to serenity and happiness.

Howard Young provides an everyday example of how this works:

Suppose two young children are playing in the ocean, and a big wave knocks them both down. One child might run to his mother crying and be quite frightened. The other child may be quite thrilled and decide to stay in the water until the next wave comes along. The facts, as you can see, are the same. The wave hit both children; however, it was their evaluation that was different. Thus, it was not the wave that caused the different reactions, but rather the different attitudes of the children about the wave.

Serenity is the outcome when we are at peace with ourselves, our fellow-man and God.  Accepting things as they are in reality rather than how one might wish them to be with joy is the secret to having serenity and leads to true happiness and satisfaction in this world.

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