My favorite Christian prayers

Below is the piece of the Serenity Prayer that speaks to me. I found out for the first time that it is a longer prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr. I’ve only posted the part that means most to me. Denise at Psych Activist reminded me of it after thinking about it a week ago while out of town. I was thinking of posting it at that point and then it escaped me. I intend to make it a mantra. If we all truly meditated on it I think we would find peace.


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

My other favorite prayer is probably the only thing I loved about my Catholic upbringing. It is the only prayer I have always attached positive connotations since early childhood. It is the humble quest for goodness and service that moves me so deeply. I fall so miserably short.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

17 thoughts on “My favorite Christian prayers

  1. Hi erlyle,
    I’d never heard that prayer, but a quick google search found the rest of it for me.

    Here you go:

    Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy Holy Name through Christ our Lord. Amen .


  2. Almighty God, unto Whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from Whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit that we might…

    Could anyone complete this famous prayer?


  3. Gianna,

    God is nebulous –
    Like the wind

    The wind is real –
    It can be ‘felt’
    And if we go outside, and close our eyes, and are quiet –
    we can become aware of it – greatly aware of it

    I think ‘prayer’ can take so many forms –
    The ‘best’ prayers (for me) do not always include talking (or even listening) – but, becoming aware of a presence – a real presence – of something we can’t see –

    like the wind



  4. Duane,
    I had read the post, but I corrected it so it would be in the right post.

    I wish I had more faith. I have a certain inclination towards the spiritual, but I find it impossible to believe anything other than a nebulous sense of the power of love.


  5. Gianna,

    Woke up – can’t go back to bed.
    I read about the dream(s) you had of your brother.

    I see you as someone who is searching for spirituality –
    this is coming out in your dreams.

    None of us ‘know’ (for certain) who God is – There is a Jewish saying – (to paraphrase) – “If I knew God, I would be God.”

    I have had the fortune to meet some wonderful priests in my life – many have been in the right spot to tell me just the right thing at just the right time (I consider these ’spiritual’ moments). A priest told me one time that “to search for God is to find him” – It makes perfect sense to me.

    You are searching, therefore you are connected – to this wonderful source of life – love – and hope – forever connected – before you were born, and long after you are gone – these dreams about your brother – they may be frightening, but I think you are forever connected to him – he is still here – but, in a different dimension – I believe he is watching over you – protecting you like an angel.

    I don’t like to get into the subject of ‘religion’ per say (had my own run-ins with the Catholic Church, and still do), but I will listen and learn about spirituality until I go to the next dimension – there is only love around you Gianna – it is the only ‘real’ reality.

    I understand your fatigue – this is how I feel – exhausted (after two years) from withdrawal of Geodon. I have minutes, and if I’m lucky, sometimes an hour or two when it passes – I try to use this time to reconnect – to the person I lost along the way, and the new person who is being created – but the soul, the deepest part of Gianna is never lost – as long as you connect with this source – through nature, lighting a candle, taking a walk – I don’t know exactly who and what God is – I only believe – and I believe that He is Love – literally.

    You have so much strength Gianna – and reading your blogs and seeing you survive – with the hope (however small) of really living again is the picture of a wonderful woman.

    I pray for you all the time – for your health and happiness.
    Search – you will find it – continue to search – it is already yours – already done.



  6. oops,

    Gianna – left a message for you (number 10 on ‘denial) – it was meant for this section of the site – a spiritual matter – about your dreams –



  7. the prayer of saint francis is the very definition of sanctity (for a religious person) and heroism (for a non religious one).

    I feel I should say that I am not a religious person. I struggle to understand what spirituality means to me. For me the Prayer of St. Francis speaks more to heroism than to sanctity. I’d love to have deep faith in some form of theism, but I don’t.

    I am nonetheless in some strange way deeply spiritual. These prayers soothe the soul I’d like to believe I have.

    I’m glad they moved some of you. And I appreciate all your input.


  8. The Serenity Prayer is a mainstay of 12 step recovery programs, along with The Prayer of St. Francis and the Our Father. One of my favorite lines of the Serenity Prayer after the first 3 is “Trusing that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.” I personalize it even further to say, “I know that You (meaning my Higher Power) make all things right. I surrender to Your Will.”

    My favorite line in the Our Father is “Give us this day our daily bread” which means that He will provide for me what I need this day. One Day At A Time.

    I often say, “I had to become a recovering Catholic to find a God of my understanding.”

    Thanks for a great post!


  9. I like to write.
    This is a poem written a few years ago –


    To have been more like a child
    On so many occasions
    Too many to mention

    To have valued a friendship
    More than self-righteousness

    The tongue that was too sharp
    The words that were too bitter
    The temper that was too quick
    The rage that was too poisonous

    The time that was lost
    The growth that was stifled
    The body that was wounded
    The spirit that was weakened
    When it needed to be set free

    Forgiveness –
    Ours to ask for
    Ours to recieve
    Too often, I didn’t ask,
    And I didn’t recieve
    As soon as I might have –
    Had I been a child

    The pain –
    Ours to let go of
    The journey –
    To move forward
    To once again embrace
    And to cherish

    A difficult act –
    Not easy

    But, hardly complex
    Simple in fact
    The action of a child –

    “It’s OK”
    “Let’s Play”

    And another one written a few months ago (more ‘Christian’ in nature) – a call to dance (of sorts) – I not only like to write, but love to dance –

    ‘Music in Cana’

    He raised up an urn in Cana
    He turned silence into music
    And wine into joy

    There was a head on a shoulder that evening –
    With sandals in the air
    And feet off the ground

    Joy was His gift at the wedding –
    With music from the groom
    And His first dance with the bride

    Hope you enjoy –
    Duane Sherry
    Dallas, Texas
    Member, Safe Harbor and Mind Freedom


  10. Gianna,

    The Serenity Prayer and Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi are my two favorite Catholic Prayers.

    Another one that has meant so much to me through the trials and challenges of life is the Prayer of Teresa – It speaks to the need to move toward a life free of anxiety and worry.

    Whatever our own understanding of “God’, it calls us to see this spirit as one that is greater than our deepest worries, our largest concerns –

    “God Alone is Enough” –

    Let nothing upset you,
    nothing disturb you

    All things pass;
    God does not change

    Patience wins
    all it seeks

    Whoever has God
    lacks nothing:
    God alone is enough


  11. the prayer of saint francis is the very definition of sanctity (for a religious person) and heroism (for a non religious one). i find its content terribly moving because of its uncompromising call to goodness, not in general, but specifically in the face of badness. its ideal is entirely unreachable, but just thinking about trying to reach it makes me weep with gratitude. it makes me feel that there is something i can do, a role i can play, something i can contribute when confronted by the darkness that pockmarks this world (and it doesn’t have to be cosmic darkness either; we encounter darkness in ourselves and others every day). thank you for the reminder.


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