You may have asked this question – out loud or quietly to yourself. I know I have pondered it many times.
And it’s a tough one: Any question that begins with ‘why’ is usually hard to answer. But it’s important to know why we pray if we are going to do it with any conviction.
To those of us who are recovering in a 12 Step program – whether we believe in a Supreme Being (God) or not – it is suggested that we pray. (In fact, we are given at least two specific prayers; one at the conclusion of step 3, and another for step 7.)
But the reason you should pray has very little to do with your religious, philosophical or metaphysical views on God. In fact, it has more to do with your recovery than you might realize…
If you are somewhere between childhood and old-age, you know that God is not some big Vending Machine in the sky that provides whatever you want, whenever you want: You know you can’t just say a few magical words, (prayers), and… ‘presto’… Providence drops it into your lap – instantly.
The Serenity Prayer is a perfect example of the type of prayer we should pray often. It contains the three reasons we need to pray in order to remain in recovery:
• Serenity to accept – Surrender
• Courage to change – Love
• Wisdom to know the difference – Clarity
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” Here is a reminder to continue in a state of surrender and humility. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation, or ‘giving up’ on life. It is the opposite of giving up: It means “letting go.”
“The courage to change the things I can…” For some of us, courage came in a bottle: ‘Liquid courage.’ It’s how we coped with life. The rest of us had other drugs-of-choice that gave us courage. True courage is fueled by love. Without love’s power, we seek courage where it cannot be found – and remain in our addiction.
“And the wisdom to know the difference” The reason we should pray is because we often don’t know the reasons why things happen the way they do. The reason we pray is to ask for wisdom when we don’t understand what’s going on. In fact, that is the exact time to pray!
When life becomes confusing, overwhelming and just plain unacceptable – that is the time to pray. Don’t wait till you feel good to pray. The time to pray is when you don’t know what to do, and your next move is unclear. That is the time to ask for wisdom.