2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Serenity prayer is a name given to a prayer that was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). The best known form of this prayer is highlighted below:
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.
This serenity prayer is a timely prayer, in fact , if only Christians can understand the power of this prayer, there will be peace in our lives irrespective of the storms of life. The word serenity means calmness or to be calm, it also means peace of mind or of heart. Serenity prayer helps us to understand and accept the complexities and complications of life. This prayer helps us to understand that there are things in our life that we can change and there are other things in our life that we just have to live with. The ability to know the difference between the two is the key to lasting peace and personal acceptance.
The serenity prayer teaches us to love and accept ourselves despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. Man is not a perfect creature, no one is perfect, not even one. No matter your good intentions in life, there must always be certain aspects of your life that must be lacking. The truth is this, man will never be perfect till the end of time. Serenity prayer helps us to embrace the aspects of our lives that we cannot change, and also gives us the courage to change the aspects of our lives that we can change. It helps us to do our best in life and live the rest to God. God does not expects us to be perfect, He just wants us to give Him our best, God is OK with our best, however inadequate it is. Now let us look at a scriptural example about the power of serenity prayer:
Bible Case Study: Serenity Prayer:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
The above bible verse tells us about the dilemma of Apostle Paul, Paul was a man of revelations, God revealed a lot of things to paul in His day, in fact paul had more revelations of the person of Jesus more than all the Apostles put together, He wrote two third of the old testament and the gospel of Jesus Christ is based on the foundational teachings of Paul. But Paul’s life was not all perfect, he faced a lot of challenges in his personal life ( See Romans 7:14-25). In this case study, we see that he struggled with a problem he called ‘a thorn in the flesh’ he used a figure of speech to describe it because even paul was ashamed to mention it. It was a weakness in the life of paul, and paul cried to the lord on three different occasions. He desperately wanted to change his situation, he desperately wanted the thorn in his flesh to go away, he was frustrated until God responded to His cry.
Now I want you to see what God told Him, He said: My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. What an answer!!! One would have expected God to remove the problem instantly, but God was teaching Apostle paul and all of us the power of serenity prayer. He told paul, my grace is sufficient for you, I didn’t choose you because you are perfect, so stop trying to be, I choose you by grace and it is that grace that will keep you. Whatever you cannot change in your life, learn to accept it, my strength will guide you all through your weaknesses. Now see what paul now said after that: Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Wow!!! Isn’t this beautiful, paul was no longer depressed, he said I will glory in my infirmities, I have learn to accept what I cannot change in my life. I will no longer beat myself up any longer, I will love myself no matter what. The things in my life that I can change, I will change, but the things in my life that I can’t change I will live with. I know that my Father in heaven loves me for who I am, not because I am perfect. When I am weak, I am strong. This is how serenity prayer transformed the life of Apostle paul, and it can do same to you today. Let’s quickly look at 7 ways serenity prayer can improve your life.
7 Ways That Serenity Prayer Can Improve Your Life
1). Gives You Peace: When you pray serenity prayer, you understand that God loves you irrespective of your weaknesses and short comings. This assurance of His love gives you peace. When you know that the strength of God is made manifest at the point of your weaknesses, your imperfections will never depress you again.
2). Courage To move On: Serenity prayer gives you courage to go through live victoriously, irrespective of your imperfections. When you know that you are not perfect and may never be, but God still loves and accepts you anyway, you will have the courage to move forward in life. Those who allow there short comings weigh them down, can never have the courage to make progress in life. Serenity prayer gives you courage, because you know that God still choses the weak to shame the strong
3). Humility: Serenity prayer helps us to be humble in life. When we acknowledge our weaknesses, we come to see how fragile mankind is, and this can make us humble. When the strength and grace of God becomes our anchor in life, self ego is destroyed completely from our lives. That is why paul said I will rather boast about my weaknesses not my strength, this is because he has seen that His progress is by the grace and the strength of God. He has become humble.
4). Patience With People: Serenity prayer helps us to develop patience when dealing with people. Because we now acknowledge our weaknesses, we now learn to acknowledge the weaknesses of others. Our deep understanding that no man is perfect, now helps us to create rooms for improvement in the lives of the people around us.
5). Unconditional Love For Others: Serenity prayers helps us to love other people for who they are and not because of what they do or don’t do. When paul cried to the Lord to help him change, God let him know that I don’t need you to change before I love you, I will always love you whether you change or not. Understanding this love helps us to love one another unconditionally. We learn to love people whether they are perfect or not.(they are always not perfect).
6). Wisdom: The knowledge that comes from praying serenity prayer gives us wisdom.it makes us wiser in the way we go about life and how we see life. Remember that the wisdom to know the difference between what you can change and what you cannot is a great wisdom indeed.
7). Dependency On God: We are saved by grace and not by our own efforts. No matter how hard man tries, he can never be perfect before God,man will always depend on God to be accepted by Him. Christ Jesus , paid the price for our salvation, His righteousness have become our righteousness, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Serenity prayer opens our eyes to what Christ did for us in redemption. This makes us depend on God as we go in life. We know that our forgiveness is fro Him, our righteousness is from Him, our Holiness is from Him.
I believe we now see the power of serenity prayer. We now know why we must always pray this prayer. Knowing the unconditional live of God through Christ Jesus is key to having lasting serenity in life. I pray for you today that you Christian life will be peaceful in Jesus name.