Thursday, May 29, 2008

Reinhold Niebuhr: A Scrap of Paper

Reinhold Niebuhr vacationed in Heath, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1934. He was invited to preach in a small church in the town. During the course of his sermon, he prayed a prayer that he had written on a scrap piece of paper.

A person in the congregation that morning asked Niebuhr for a copy of the prayer. The parishioner wanted the prayer to put as a message on his Christmas cards that year. He put the prayer on his cards and circulated them during the Christmas season.

The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous received one of the cards and requested permission to use the prayer for his group. It has become known as the Serenity Prayer.

“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.”

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: Reinhold Niebuhr