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Prayer: Finding Serenity in the Midst of Anxiety

The Serenity Prayer is the framework for United Methodist Women’s spiritual growth study.

The Serenity Prayer written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr against the backdrop of two world wars and the Great Depression is the framework for United Methodist Women’s spiritual growth study because it is a well-known and time-tested example of how prayer can teach God’s people to manage anxiety, namely through serenity, acceptance, courage, and wisdom.

The longer version of the prayer as recorded by Niebuhr’s daughter, Elisabeth Sifton, reads:

God, grant me the serenity  
To accept the things I cannot change;  
Courage to change the things I can;  
And the wisdom to know the difference. 
Living one day at a time;  
Enjoying one moment at a time,  
Accepting hardship 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;  
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life  
And supremely happy with Him  
Forever and ever in the next.  

The prayer does not deny that anxiety exists or that it is powerful, but instead encourages us to place our trust in God. This is a prayer for times of uncertainty, for feelings of anxiety, for moments of fear; it is both a soothing balm and a weapon of resistance.

-Elisabeth Sifton, The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003) as quoted in Finding Peace in an Anxious World leader’s guide, United Methodist Women, p.5. 

Click Here.Finding Peace in an Anxious World - Spiritual Growth Mission Study 2020

| 5/29/2020 2:07:05 PM | 0 comments


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