The Meaning of the Serenity Prayer

Find out what the Serenity Prayer means to you!

The Serenity Prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr

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.

The serenity prayer is something which has been around for many years and many people have different ideas of what this prayer means and what you should or shouldn't do with it. It can be something which can be used to help you with your daily life and help you to live a happier life, but you do need to make sure that you understand what the prayer is about to truly make the most of it.

Let me begin with what it is not. This prayer does not mean avoiding things you don’t particularly care for. Life is all about the contrast. The world would be a pretty dull place is everything was the same color, taste and so on. Without it we couldn’t decide what it is we like or want. We would stop creating and growing.

Here is an example. You’re a little unhappy with your car for some reason. Without that reason, we wouldn’t begin to play with the idea of a new or different car.

Then what does it mean? It means that there is serenity in not pushing against things. There are things in this life we cannot change. You may have discovered some as you have grown older. Continuing to push against these things causes a great deal of stress in your life. For instance, the weather. You can’t change it. Accept it for what it is in this moment and move on.

Whoa wait a minute, Gwen! That is exactly the kind of answer that messes me up. Okay the weather is one thing. But what about people. People just get on my nerves. Great point. That is another one you can’t change. As much as you want to you can’t unless they are looking to be changed and have asked you pointedly.

Then what do I do? You said not to pretend that there isn’t contrast.

You’re so smart. I love that you were listening. Here is the trick to all of this.

As you see things in your life that get your attention in a not so pleasing way. Stop. Stop what you are doing and consider what you are thinking in this moment that is making you feel so bad. What is the thought and there is one. By doing so, you stop the spiral down the emotional scale. It is okay not to like some things. It gets your attention and allows you to shift to a better feeling place.

If you have an emotional scale to work with, think a thought one or two emotions higher than where you are in the moment. Can you begin to feel the relief in a new thought?

Because as the prayer says.... courage to change the things I can...….. and the only thing you can change is you and the thoughts you are holding onto. As you shift to better feeling thoughts that no longer push against things you can’t change, you feel the serenity and everything begins to change in a good way for you.


Gwen Peterson is the creator of Insights and Illuminations and conscious channel. She is a metaphysical teacher, author and spiritual Mentor to those searching for answers and guidance into spirituality, deeper meaning in their lives and perhaps building a dialogue with their Soul. Her programs support all levels of awareness of spirituality. Visit her website and create your personal journey at