“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.”
~Reinhold Niebuhr, The Serenity Prayer.
Life is a flow not unlike a river. Whether we’re going with the flow or against it determines the direction and success of our lives.
There are times for both; to go with the flow by accepting what appears unchangeable or to go against the flow with the courage to co-opt change. To the value of how much we get these two right is the measure of our wisdom.
This leads us to pray, for prayer is the language of intercession to God in the seeking of the holy will.
Prayer – Looking for Guidance
The wisdom of choosing the appropriate time for going with or against the flow is as easy as disconnecting emotive strains whilst having context wired to reason.
Many prayers are said but just as many, and more, are thought of. This is the humble certitude to weigh matters in humility, for that’s certainly God tipping wisdom in through us.
Prayer is not just eyes closed and hands together knelt on the floor.
It is the issuance of the Spirit at the request of the person seeking help. And the Spirit helps by informing, goading and restraining.
For or Against? – Choice, Then Deployment
Inspired lives are lived in the lap of wise decisions—whether with the flow or against.
The quality of those decisions is dependent on the Spirit-sense that the person has guiding the moment one way or the other. Then comes the actual deployment of the decision, for there’s no point going for or against if a lack of care or discretion despoils a good decision.
Deployment can’t be understated, and therefore neither can humility. Humility never gets carried away with itself.
The Serenity Prayer can indicate that when we get decisions right regarding acceptance and courage—for or against the flow—serenity is the felt result. Serenity isn’t just the forerunner for accepting things we cannot change—it’s also a product of wisdom.
Serenity is wisdom’s reward for the effective life. Serenity is also confidence for more of the same. Similarly, faith is vindicated by accepting or challenging the appropriate circumstances.
Perhaps the best thing about true serenity, the way it functions via this prayer, is it’s kept simple.
For or against the flow of life is best begun simple—life has a way of being complicated enough.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.