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A.'s burgeoning office on Manhattan's Vesey Street was struck by the power and wisdom contained in the prayer's thoughts. Henry's enthusiastic response was to print 500 copies of the prayer, with the remark: "Incidentally, I am only a heel when I'm drunk .. so naturally, there could be no charge for anything of this nature." "With amazing speed," writes Bill, "the Serenity Prayer came into general use and took its place alongside our two other favorites, the Lord's Prayer and the Prayer of St. Thus did the "accidental" noticing of an unattributed prayer, printed alongside a simple obituary of an unknown individual, open the way toward the prayer's daily use by thousands upon thousands of A. But despite years of research by numerous individuals, the exact origin of the prayer is shrouded in overlays of history, even mystery. Theodor Wilhelm, who had started a revival of spiritual life in West Germany, had acquired the "little prayer" from Canadian soldiers. Wilhelm had apparently selected the pseudonym Oetinger out of admiration of his south German forebears. Amen God take and receive my liberty, my memory, my understanding and will, All that I am and have He has given me 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 in the next.
Comes of Age, a New York member, Jack, brought to everyone's attention a caption in a routine New York Herald Tribune obituary that read: Everyone in A. Ruth Hock, the Fellowship's first (and nonalcoholic) secretary, contacted Henry S., a Washington D. member, and a professional printer, asking him what it would cost to order a bulk printing. and through them, the West Germans after the Second World War." Moreover, Beth continued, after the war, a north German University professor, Dr. There are still other claims, and no doubt more unearthings will continue for years to come. Reinhold Niebuhr told an interviewer that her husband was definitely the prayer's author, that she had seen the piece of paper on which he had written it, and that her husband-now that there were numerous variations of wording -"used and preferred" the following form: While all of these searchings are intriguing, challenging, even mysterious, they pale in significance when compared to the fact that, for fifty years, the prayer has become so deeply imbedded into the heart and soul of A. thinking, living, as well as its philosophy, that one could almost believe that the prayer originated in the A. A., the Serenity Prayer has been a most valuable building block-indeed a corner-stone." And speaking of cornerstones, and mysteries and "coincidences"-the building where G. 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.
D.), and author of the book, Consolations of Philosophy.
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For many years, long after the Serenity Prayer became attached to the very fabric of the Fellowship's life and thought, its exact origin, its actual author, have played a tantalizing game of hide and seek with researchers, both in and out of A. I honestly do believe that I wrote it myself." Early in World War II, with Dr. By then it had also been reprinted by the National Council of Churches, as well as Alcoholics Anonymous. Niebuhr was quite accurate in suggesting that the prayer may have been "spooking around" for centuries. "Some say it came from the early Greeks; others think it was from the pen of an anonymous English poet; still others claim it was written by an American Naval officer... The search for pinpointing origins of the prayer has been like the peeling of an onion. "In a rather dreary hall of a converted hotel, overlooking the Rhine at Koblenz," the correspondent wrote, is a tablet inscribed with the following words: These words were attributed, the correspondent wrote, to an 18th century pietist, Friedrich Oetinger (1702-1782). behavior of the soldier citizen in a democratic state." Here, at last, thought A. researchers, was concrete evidence-quote, author, date-of the Serenity Prayer's original source. But it also added more tantalizing facts about the plaque's origin.
Rheinhold Niebuhr, who recounted to interviewers on several occasions that he had written the prayer as a "tag line" to a sermon he had delivered on Practical Christianity. Niebuhr added at least a touch of doubt to his claim, when he told one interviewer, "Of course, it may have been spooking around for years, even centuries, but I don't think so. What are probably truly ancient, as with the above quote from Cicero, are the prayer's themes of acceptance, courage to change what can be changed and the free letting go of what is out of one's ability to change. Grapevine received a clipping of an article that had appeared in the Paris Herald Tribune, by the paper's correspondent in Koblenz, then in West Germany. Peter's research threw the authenticity of 18th century authorship out the window.