Why do we call it “The Serenity Prayer”?

For decades I heard “The Serenity Prayer” as God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” I thought that was the entire prayer.

Finally I heard the rest of it…

“…and the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

(That’s not exactly the way Niebuhr said it, but he was seminary level theologian. They are not known for using only simple words.)

When I hear the whole thing it seems to me it is actually a prayer for the wisdom to know when to act. It is part of a faith that is proactive in changing the things that should be changed.

I guess that means that a rocking-chair, personal-only religion is not one of wisdom. It may have the serenity but it has left off the courage.

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