Prayers from the Twelve Step Tradition

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Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to You — to build with me and to do with me as You will. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Your will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Your Power, Your Love, and Your Way of life. May I do Your will always. (AA, 63)

Fourth Step Prayer

This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done. (AA, 67)

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do Your bidding. Amen. (AA, 76)

Ninth Step Prayer

"Show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness and love." (AA, 83)

The Promises of the 12 Steps

These promises are made in the section of the Big Book that talks about the ninth step. This is the "phase" that is mentioned in the prayer.
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. (AA, 83-4)

Tenth Step Prayer

Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities. 'How can I best serve You? Your will (not mine) be done.' These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will. (AA, 85)

Twelfth Step Prayer

Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for those who are still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. ... Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless and keep you — until then. (AA, 164)

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

The original Serenity Prayer

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.
Reinhold Niebuhr

An expanded Serenity Prayer

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 hardship 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.

A shortened Serenity Prayer

This is a two- or three-word vulgarity. Each word is just one syllable. It is highly expressive. I try my best not to use this expression in public. There are times when I am alone when nothing else seems quite as satisfying as this particular curse.
— — it!


Acceptance is the answer to ALL of my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes. (AA, 449/417)


The pitch

If you have a resentment you want to be free of,
if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent,
  you will be free.

If you will ask in prayer
for everything you want for yourself
to be given to them,
  you will be free.

Even when you don't really want it for them,
and your prayers are only words
and you don't mean it,
  go ahead and do it anyway.

Do it every day for two weeks
and you will find
you have come to mean it
and to want it for them,
and you will realize that
where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred,
  you now feel compassionate understanding and love.

                                           (AA, 552)

The prayer

Merciful God, I pray for those whom I resent.

Give them everything that I desire for myself:

faith, hope, and love;
health in mind and body;
happiness, holiness, and joy;
friendship, understanding, acceptance and support;
success on earth and glory in heaven;
serenity, courage, wisdom
the full development of all you have given us.

May we serve you well in this life
and enjoy the fruits of our labors with you in eternity.

You are God.

I am not God.

I rely on your love for us,

your power to bless us,
and your willingness to do more for us than we can ask or imagine.

I surrender myself and all those whom I find it hard to love into your hands.

Take care of everything. Your will, not mine, be done.

Ninth Step

"This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."[1]


Page references are to the third edition of Alcoholics Anonymous.