In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

wisdom: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action, discernment or insight; knowing what is right and doing it.

Feelings are our worst enemy.

When we come to the decision point described in The Serenity Prayer asking to know the difference between things we can change and  the things we can’t change; often our emotions blur the process. Our feelings often keep us attached to people, things and behaviors long after we should’ve let them go.

Where can we get the wisdom that we need?

Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10) So if we start by having a holy reverence for God we’ve made a good first step. James tells us that if we need wisdom to ask for it. (James 1:5) It seems pretty basic and simple. Our biggest challenge is to put aside our pride and ask!

How do we know we have wisdom?

There are several characteristics of wisdom we can look for in our life.

…the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. ~ James 3:17

Let peace be the ruler of your heart.

When we’re at a decision crossroad, we can filter our process through the character qualities James teaches us. We can be gentle, showing no favoritism, yielding to others when necessary. Walking in mercy, compassion and sincerity we can prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us with the peace ruling our hearts.

When in doubt do without.

For many years this has been my life motto. When shopping for groceries, buying a car, or taking next steps with important decisions… I stop and check the peace in my gut. If I don’t have a peace I won’t go forward. If there is any doubt at all, I will wait. It’s better to wait than to rush and make what could be a costly mistake.

The Spirit of Wisdom.

As Christians we have within us the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that created all things is available to guide and direct us in our daily lives as we follow the peace.

As you listen to this beautiful worship song, take a few moments and prayerfully meditate on God’s wisdom and grace that is available to you for the asking.


In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are dissecting this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These posts will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

serenity:  a state or quality of being serene, calm, tranquil, peaceful; having an inner calm in the midst of the ups and downs of life; involves learning to be content with the things in our life that can’t be changed. (Serenity’s opposite is agitation.)

Human beings aren’t naturally serene creatures. We don’t have to be taught agitation. It seems to come with the inner selfishness which is built into our nature. I certainly lean more towards agitation with most things in life. That’s why we need God’s help!

Our lack of peace is directly related to our thought life, worry and ingratitude. The Apostle Paul teaches this in his letter to the Phillipians:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Now brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worth of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.              ~ Phillipians 4:6-9

It’s to us to decide what we’re going to think about. No one can control our thoughts but us. When we look for good we will usually find it. The opposite is also true.

Stressing over situations and people that we can’t change only makes more stress. If we can settle into life as it is, finding a way to be content, we can trust God will work all the good and bad for our good.

Let’s lean into God and put Paul’s teaching into practice. Then the peace of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will put a guard over our hearts and minds, and ultimately our life.

Take a few minutes to contemplate Christ’s peace with this beautiful worship song by Bethel Music.