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 prayer for serenity 
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 969
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
I have always liked having the Serenity Prayer as a part of meetings because I liked its focus on seeking serenity, acceptance, courage and wisdom. I seek those things and I like it that other people seek them too. I like it that this seeking is encouraged at every recovery meeting and most group conscience meetings too.

A problem that I've run into is that people have suggested using the prayer in my daily life, and I've tried it, and the wording of the prayer doesn't fit what I'm seeking at all. So, of course, it makes no sense for me to recite someone else's words, especially when they don't click with me, when I can simply pray for serenity, acceptance, courage and wisdom in my own words. That's what I do and it works great.

Ever since I started doing that, I've been less comfortable with opening a meeting with a prayer with wording that makes little sense to me. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Higher power grant me

Not all concepts of higher power are ones that grant requests. Personally, I am very open and open-minded and have several concepts of power greater than myself that I use, and I have nothing against other concepts. Still, I do not feel comfortable opening a meeting with a prayer that only part of the group could honestly say with integrity when there are prayers or affirmations that are workable for all, that do not focus on particular concepts of higher power.

the serenity to accept

With any significant time in recovery, we quickly learn that it is acceptance that brings serenity, not vice versa. If we wait until we have serenity to start practicing acceptance, we're going to be waiting a very very long time. I pray for acceptance so that I find serenity.

the things I cannot change

I find serenity when I practice acceptance of everything being as it is in this moment. That includes the things I can change, the things I cannot change, the things I can strongly influence, the things I can only weakly influence, and everything in between. Most especially, I need to practice acceptance with the things I can change or influence, primarily myself, my behavior, and my relationships.

the courage to change the things I can

A major source of serenity that I have found is the attitude of focusing on solutions and my actions, leaving the results up to the universe. Focusing on "changing things", i.e. to force specific results, is a source of frustration and stress. I pray for the courage to do the next right thing, not to force certain changes and expect certain results.

the courage to change the things I can

I am not looking for the courage to change all things that I conceivably can. I seek the courage to take actions that higher power is guiding me toward.

and the wisdom to know the difference

Sure, it's useful to know what I absolutely have no control or influence over. I have a good sense of what's outside my influence and I mostly don't bother with it and feel no need to pray about it. When I pray for wisdom, I pray for the wisdom of knowing the difference between what higher power is guiding me toward and what my ego wants me to do. I seek the wisdom of knowing and seeking higher purpose.

When I put these pieces together into sensible words as a prayer or a brief statement of intention and direction, it sounds like this:

I am open and willing to accept that reality is exactly what it is in this moment. I seek the serenity that acceptance brings, the wisdom to distinguish lower desire from higher purpose, and the courage to act as guided by power greater than myself.

For a meeting that I am leading, I would feel much better using a prayer with wording that makes sense to me than wording that doesn't. I just wanted to put this out there before I started doing so.

Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:36 am
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 11:37 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Rockland NY
State/Province/Country: Rockland NY

There is no one to tell us what to do or how to do it.

I know that AA has kept its literature and prayers in a format that conforms to the judo/Christian concept of a HP. I don't know of any fellowship that has any other format.

Do we have any members here who have successfully worked the steps with a HP that does not restore them to sanity? I wonder what their thoughts are on the format.

leveling in steps, serenity, sponcys, sponsors, exercise, and sleep, (sanity has been downsized)

Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:12 am
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:21 pm
Posts: 147
State/Province/Country: NC, USA
Scott, is this post meant to inform the group conscious of only the meetings you lead, or the OOMG meetings as a whole?

Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:30 pm

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 969
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
MorganF wrote:
Scott, is this post meant to inform the group conscious of only the meetings you lead, or the OOMG meetings as a whole?

Yes the meeting I lead. I'm going to try it out and maybe in the future suggest adding it to the list of prayers and affirmations in the meeting format.

P.S. while on the topic, I doubt that I'm the only one who tried using Reinhold Niebuhr's serenity prayer on a regular personal basis and found it unhelpful. So I'm wanting to connect with and be helpful to those others. Here's something I've discovered about prayer (and I'm sure I'm not the only one): The mindless recitation of prayer-like words accomplishes nothing. Prayer is powerful when the person praying is speaking from the heart, meaning every word they say, and feeling it emotionally. Very powerful. I don't know why, but it is. So, the more that a prayer clicks with me and makes sense, the more I'm able to say it sincerely from the heart and get powerful results. That's my motivation, that plus wanting to be helpful to others.

Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:38 pm

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:21 pm
Posts: 147
State/Province/Country: NC, USA
Then I have no comment.

Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:26 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:59 pm
Posts: 680
Location: Colorado (Front Range Urban Corridor)
State/Province/Country: Colorado, USA
Thanks for putting this out there, Scott.

Just for me, I have also noticed a couple of the things Scott has noticed. Indeed, acceptance and serenity could be switched, and there are a couple of other things one could change. The variety of good prayers is endless.

Also just for me, ritualistic prayers serve a different purpose than prayers that are new, that you have to think about. To really internalize some new ideas, it helps to have new prayers. But rituals serve important group functions. Every group of human beings has them. For me, the fact that we say the serenity prayer, read the mission statement out loud (I love the mission statement) and do "hugs" at the end: these are pleasant rituals that serve to bind us together, and the Serenity Prayer in addition joins us to a large family of addicts recovering from many addictions. So that's a purpose that makes sense to me. And the prayer itself also reminds me of the importance of acceptance and keeping to my side of the street, which have been incredibly important principles in my recovery. As well, it doesn't have to be worded perfectly to remind me of those things. So I like it, I'm happy with it.

Are there other prayers that might express similar ideas in different, maybe even better ways? Sure. I just think it's important to realize that if we change the Serenity Prayer we're changing a ritual, as well as a prayer. Changing the ending prayers and adding new ones is a good idea, for sure, and that's not so much of a ritual.

In any case, groups of gaming addicts who meet for recovery can do what they(we) believe will help us, and I would hope that people would be trying out new prayers and formats and things like that. We don't all have to agree or do it the same way to be in the same fellowship.

You have to go the way the way your blood beats:
If you don't live the only life you have,
You won't live some other life,
You just won't live any life at all.

I was dan1 in a former life.

skype: dan939f
reddit: DansNewLife

Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:39 am

Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:55 am
Posts: 133
State/Province/Country: The Netherlands
After reading the prayer a bit, I think it's a great prayer to add to the list of prayers mentioned in the format.
I'm quite interested to see what the group couscience of the OOMG thinks of having this prayer at the start of the meetings.

Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:03 am
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