December 1, 2009

The Serenity To Accept...

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." -- Reinhold Niebuhr

A group of saleswomen met weekly to pray for success in their businesses. They said they were "turning their businesses over to God." I was not a part of this group, but I observed something in the room where the ladies met. One feature of the meeting room was a posted sign with the phrase, "P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens."

At the time, I was impressed with this phrase. The phrase seemed to exemplify powerful faith, a belief that God could and would do anything requested. The phrase seemed to represent an unlimited commitment to the power of prayer, a type of persistence in prayer that would settle for nothing less than a full manifestation of what was sought.

I look back on it all now, and I wonder what it really meant. Prayer can never be rightfully used as a tool to control and manipulate other people or circumstances. I can pray until something happens, but that "something" may happen inside of me. My outer circumstances may remain unchanged. Can I be peaceful with this outcome? Or, will I continue to "pray until something else happens"?

Yes, God can do anything. Still, the history of the world proves God does not always give His children what they request. He always gives something better, but that "better thing" may only be evident in hindsight. Am I willing to be serenely peaceful and wait for that manifestation?

I cannot change everything. No amount of badgering or "persistent prayer" will revise that fact. God does not always choose to follow my time frames. In the meantime, I can choose serenity. That serenity may be the best possible answer to my prayer.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..."

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