God Grant Me the Serenity: Biblical Explanation


The Serenity Prayer is originally written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous groups. It has become one of the most popular prayers around the world, resonating with individuals regardless of their background or beliefs.

In today’s world, filled with worries, noise, unrest, finding tranquility can be a challenging task for most people. However, God grant me the serenity prayer offers a way to live untouched by this chaos, acceptance and courage.

This article explores the words of this prayer to help you discover a life-changing secret for comfort in all of life’s struggles.

The Serenity Prayer: Full Version

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. 


Serenity Prayer Meaning

To glean the unique wisdom from the words of this petition, it is important that you first understand the words and what it implies.

Here’s a line-by-line explanation:

  • God grant me the serenity;

The Serenity meaning is a state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. This is hard to maintain in a world filled with so many stressors, and yet these opening words ask God for that tranquility. This simply means that it is possible to stay peaceful above the storms of the world, and He is the key to achieving such a feat. 

The first step to experiencing change is realizing that it is achievable. However, what further steps can you take? The next words give us more insight.

  • To accept the things I cannot change;

The place of acceptance in finding serenity cannot be overemphasized. It entails acknowledging that not everything is within your control but in God’s hands. 

As a human being, it’s not unusual to harbor a tendency of trying to fix everything. However, this will always lead you to worry, especially when things aren’t going the way you originally expected them to.

Accepting that you will encounter problems and that often you won’t have control over the course your life takes when they arise, can diminish the power those troubles hold over your mind.

Trusting God enough to leave those things you have no power over inorder to hand them over to Him is how you can truly have peace in this world.

  • Courage to change the things I can; 

While there’s a lot that’s not up to you, there are the little things in life that you can do to change your situation. But many times, you may lack the bravery to step up and take those required actions.

For example, while you may not be able to keep your car from having issues on your way to work, you can choose how you respond to that situation. It requires courage and faith to decide to have a good day. It is the little things that make a huge difference.

  • Wisdom to know the difference;

This may be the most important part of all of it. The wisdom to recognize the things that can affect you and the things that can’t. This discernment keeps you from the frustration, worries, and anxieties that arise when you expend energy trying to change things beyond your control.

The Bible in Matthew 6:27 says,

“Who by worrying can add a single thing to life?”

Instead of worrying about everything, understanding this difference guides us to take action on what can genuinely respond to our efforts.

Who Said God Grant Me the Serenity?

The original prayer reads,

“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.”

This version is attributed to Dr. Niebuhr, a Protestant theologian who used it in a sermon he gave in Heath, Massachusetts in 1943.

He also published the expanded version in a magazine in 1951.

In more recent times, it was discovered in prints dated to 1933 and 1940 by Winifred Wygal, an associate of Niebuhr, who also attributed it to him.

Over time, various versions of the prayer have surfaced and made their way around groups, but the message of the prayer remains the same.

It was specially made popular by Alcoholics Anonymous. The AA co-founder Bill Wilson, as well as the staff, liked it so much that they printed it out and distributed it to everyone. For this reason, it is also known as the AA prayer.

When Can You Use This Prayer?

The Serenity Prayer can be used by anyone and for different reasons. However, its most common use is by those in recovery from addiction.

People can recite this in their daily meditations to remind them of how to face life’s challenges; with a sense of peace. There’s no need to worry, especially about things we have no control over.

It can also be used in seasons or moments of difficulty, as a way to find relief or peace when facing such hard times.

God Grant Me the Serenity Bible Verses

“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.”

“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  

“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.”  

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” 

“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.”  


The Serenity Prayer is one that helps a believer find help and hope in times of hardship. It increases your faith in God’s ability to give you complete rest even when you see yourself going through the fiercest of trials.

The next time you encounter or recite this prayer, let it serve as a reminder that embracing your faith in God and His promises can lead to a better life, free from worry, anxiety, and fear.