All week long, every day, use the Serenity Prayer printed here. Pray through it. Sit with it. Add to it. Allow Christ to speak to you through the words and phrases. You will find it to be a pathway to connect with the Good, Good Father.
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. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
Day One: You Are Who You Are
Read Psalm 139.
Read this Psalm twice. Read it slowly, savoring each word and phrase. This entire Psalm is full of the presence of God filling your life. You are loved and you are blessed. God is with you. You are who you are. God made you that way. One day he will fully remake all that sin has damaged. Until then, trust, enjoy, love, follow, serve, and worship your Maker.
Pray: Pray the Serenity Prayer and finish praying with the words from Psalm 139:23-24.
Day Two: The Fixed Conditions of Life
Read Matthew 6:25-34
There are conditions of your life you just can’t change: your race, ethnicity, gender, age (it will change by itself), some things about your appearance, and some physical conditions with which you are born. These things are a given for you. We are blessed to live in a day and age where many conditions that could not be fixed are now correctable. Still, some things cannot be fixed. They just are what they are and we are what we are. For all of this, God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Reflect: Consider your ability to trust God, cast all your cares on him, and rest in his goodness and grace.
Pray: Pray the Serenity Prayer about those things that are fixed and locked into place for you.
Day 3: The Conditions of Life
Read Philippians 4:10-13.
There are conditions of life that you can work to change. You can change jobs and even careers, you can work for more money, you can buy a bigger home. You can get married. You can have children. You can move to a new region. The question is, should you? There is ONE thing you must keep in mind. Do not look to change a condition with the assumption that the new condition will make you happy. It is not the condition that makes you happy, it is what you do with the condition of life that brings flourishing and happiness.
Remember, whenever you move to a new condition you take your current self with you to that new condition. Paul says to learn the secret of contentment in all situations. When you are content, you can pray and discern whether God wants you to leave a current condition and move on to a new one or stay where you are.
Reflect: What are your current conditions that are possibly changeable? How are you currently thriving in those conditions? What else could you do to thrive? Why do you think changing to a new condition will lead to more flourishing and happiness? Remember, the grass is rarely greener in that new condition.
Pray: Pray the Serenity Prayer about the fluctuating conditions of life.
Day 4: Choices to Find Pleasure
Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 and 10:23.
First, think about these verses and make sure you understand the freedom and responsibility that Paul experiences and models. The choice to pursue pleasure means you are pursuing the entertainments of life that involve significant physical sensations. The primary examples are: food, sex, alcohol-drugs-stimulants. Everything God created is good when it is used in the context for which it was created and when it is experienced in the way it should be experienced.
These pleasures produce high levels of happiness and they do it quickly. But then, just as quickly, satisfaction and happiness drop off. When you experience these pleasures out of context and in the wrong way, you actually feel unsatisfied and unhappy. God’s good gifts are beautiful in the right way and they are addictive and harmful in the wrong ways.
Reflect: Consider the matters of food, sex, and stimulants. How healthy are you? Are you pursuing, practicing, and experiencing healthy eating, loving sexuality in marriage, and a very careful use of any stimulants that are legal? (Remember, the United States is the third worst nation in the world in our use of stimulants!)
Pray: Pray the Serenity Prayer, asking that you would not be mastered by the wrong use of any of God’s gifts.
Day 5: Choices that Gratify
Read Deuteronomy 30:19-20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:4-24.
Choose life, not death. Choose growth, not stagnation. Choose holiness, not sinfulness. Choose goodness, not evil. Choose love, light, laugher, and life. Choose flourishing. Choose happiness. That is the message of Scripture. The 1 Thessalonians passage is a sweeping encouragement to be responsible and wise, and to choose what is good.
Being gratified is a richer, deeper, more whole experience than being satisfied. Gratified is “satisfied multiplied by gratitude” (at least that is how I define the difference). What is wonderful is that we have so many opportunities to choose things that will bring real and eternal, more and better life than you ever dreamed of (John 10:10, The Message).
Choose to grow, learn, develop, mature, and expand. Invest in your journey. Be a lifelong learner.
Choose to spend lots of time with good friends, do life together, encourage one another.
Choose to love your family. Forgive as is needed, be reconciled, make peace, adjust your expectations, go the extra mile, turn the other cheek. Connect, love, and serve your family.
Choose to pray, worship, and reflect on Scripture daily. This is how you will be intimately connected to the Source of all Life—Father, Son, and Spirit.
Choose to do daily acts of random kindness and weekly acts of intentional goodness for others.
All of these choices are deeply gratifying. They bring energy, joy, purpose, and more into your life. As you do them, you flourish—and so do many others. That makes you even happier.
Reflect: How are you doing on each of those choices?
Pray: Pray the Serenity Prayer.
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