When I was six years old I was not a believer; however, I knew there was a God and I was praying to Him but I was mostly just afraid of Him and hedging my bets against annihilation. At that age, I spent most of my summer outdoors, usually unsupervised and alone. 

One day I was forging through a creek looking for crayfish when I saw something gold and shiny in the water. I found a keychain. On one side of the oval fob, there were praying hands and on the other side was the serenity prayer:

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.

I knew God was speaking to me even though I didn’t know Him. I had a little silver box my father had given me, which became my keychain’s home and still is 60 years later. I named the keychain “Goldie” and she was my best friend in my early childhood. I memorized the serenity prayer. It became increasingly important to me as I got older.

As I was thinking about the serenity prayer this morning, I realized it is a great guide in keeping us centered as sidewalk counselors. First of all, the focus is on prayer and then, of course, on God, to whom we pray.

‘God grant me the serenity …’

If we are to communicate peace to women who are in chaos and crisis, our peace on the sidewalk is essential. But how does one achieve peace while watching dozens of babies being led to the violent death of abortion? 

That peace can never come from our circumstances or surroundings. That peace can only come from God. So the first thing the serenity prayer reminds us is keep your focus on God and recognize that God is source of ALL things, including peace.

‘to accept the things I cannot change …’

It is so important that we understand what we cannot change out there. We cannot change if other people on the sidewalk make it difficult for us to effectively minister. We cannot change whether someone is hard-hearted or completely alienated from God. We cannot change the city codes and restrictions that hamper our ability to reach women. We cannot change the terribly hot or cold weather. We cannot change how many people are standing on the sidewalk as willing volunteers. Yet, this prayer reminds us that, despite all those things, God can give us serenity.

‘the courage to change the things I can …’

So what can we change? We need to analyze that, and that’s where our efforts should be. We can change whether we show up in obedience to God each day. We can change whether we have a heart that is abiding in the Lord, reading His word, and praying. We can change whether we speak boldly in support of that unborn child. We can change whether we educate ourselves on how to share the Gospel, on fetal development, on methods that seem to work better at imploring women to engage with us. We can change whether we are walking in sin or in righteousness. We can change whether we have the courage to speak the truth boldly, without shame, no matter what the repercussions are. We can recognize that it does take courage, and we can know that God will give us the courage to do what He has called us to do.

‘and the wisdom to know the difference.’

How do we know what are the things we can change and what are the things we cannot change? Some are obvious. Some are more subtle. But every morning we can pray for God’s discernment to help us. We need to let go of the things we cannot change, and we need to embrace and be courageous with the things that we can change. I think that this prayer is a beautiful way to remind us of what we are responsible for and also of what we are not responsible for.

We are responsible for being on that sidewalk and speaking in doing everything we can to share truth. God is responsible for the results.

May God grant all of us serenity as we faithfully minister in His work.

Vicky Kaseorg

Vicky Kaseorg

Vicky Kaseorg is a missionary with Love Life. An author of over 25 books, she is ardently pro-life and deeply desires to share the hope and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ through her work, writing, and life. Read her personal blog at vickykaseorg.blogspot.com.


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