Are there things that are disturbing your peace today? You know where to take them. Lift them up to our Lord and find the peace you seek.
“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
Some girls keep a diary. Not me. I kept a book of quotes. Somewhere in my attic is a small loose leaf notebook filled with all manner of sayings. When I read something that caught my attention or stumbled upon some powerful pondering, I wrote it down.
If you think that sounds dorky, well, you would probably be right. But as a teenager, I spent hours in my room sitting cross legged on my bed thumbing through that notebook and adding new material. It was the 1970s, and quotes were all the rage. I loved to flip through posters at K-Mart to find just the right sayings. If I found a poem I liked or a profound quote in a book I was reading, it all went in that little notebook. Guess we know where my love of words came from, huh?
I can’t see the words on those notebook pages anymore, but I know full well what is written on one of them. …”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.”
Those words spoke to that young teenager, and they speak to this well seasoned woman. Serenity…it’s something we all crave, isn’t it? Even all those years ago, I could comprehend how accepting the things I cannot change could bring me peace. My problems were oh so different then, but the weight of them still bore heavy upon me. The trials of life still weigh heavy. Accepting those hardships, recognizing that there are things that are beyond our control does bring peace even as it demands trust.
“Courage to change the things I can.” Oh, how that young girl wanted to change the world, to help people, to right the wrongs. Perhaps that’s why I became a nurse. It is my ardent hope that in caring for people, I made a difference. Change does require courage, and service makes change. When we have the courage to serve The Lord in our callings, we can bring positive change to difficult situations.
“Wisdom to know the difference.” Wisdom…I guess that’s what that young girl was searching for. This much older girl isn’t sure she has found it, but I know where to go to look for it. We must seek wisdom from our God by praying through our problems and asking God to show us how to step forward in trust. When our hearts are turned toward God, when we yield our will to His perfect plan, we open the door to wisdom.
Yes, there is still power in these words I saved so long ago. We all crave peace, and this prayer speaks both peace and hope to me. Our world is fraught with chaos. We need serenity so badly, don’t we?
This prayer reminds me that serenity might be found in accepting what I cannot change, that having courage can make a diffference in this world, and that seeking wisdom in our walk with God opens the pathway to peace. Indeed, those are powerful thoughts to ponder.
Proverbs 2:6-7 tells us “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.” If we learn to rest in God’s sovereignty and trust in His plan, we can truly find the serenity we seek. It is a serenity not available through worldly pursuits, but rather only through His divine grace.
It was not until a few years ago that I realized that those powerful words I memorized as a teenager were only a portion of a longer prayer. I did some research on the origins of the prayer, only to find that no one really knows when or where it was first penned. Yet, its words are so powerful that there is evidence of its impact across multiple centuries and cultures. No small wonder when you consider the power of these beautiful words.
Will you join me in speaking the words of this life changing prayer on this Monday morning?
The Serenity Prayer
God take and receive my liberty,
my memory, my understanding and will,
All that I am and have, He has given me.
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 in the next.
O Lord, hear our prayer and grant us Your peace.
In the Holy Name of Jesus, we pray