Debate surfaces over who wrote "Serenity Prayer" | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Debate surfaces over who wrote `Serenity Prayer' [Excerpts]

As a federal judge tries to sort out who actually wrote the famous "Footprints in the Sand" poem, a similar debate is brewing over whether theologian Reinhold Niebuhr was the author of the "Serenity Prayer."

The origins of the Serenity Prayer, which usually begins with the words, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..., " has been called into question by the alumni magazine at Yale University.
Niebuhr...has long been considered the author, though there has been speculation about other writers.

"It is entirely possible that Niebuhr composed the prayer much earlier than he himself later remembered," writes Fred R. Shapiro, editor of "The Yale Book of Quotations," in an article in the July/August issue of Yale Alumni Magazine.

"But it also appears possible, indeed plausible, that the great theologian was unconsciously inspired by an idea from elsewhere."

Shapiro said Niebuhr's daughter believes her father wrote the poem in 1943 and his preferred version was "God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."

The prayer was popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous, whose version of it reads: "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."

(Banks, Religious News Service, July 12, 2008).

[TBC: Niebuhr was one of the leaders of the apostate Union Theological Seminary. We have exposed Alcoholics Anonymous in past issues of The Berean Call. http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5821.]

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