Reinhold Niebuhr wrote it after all

A minor kerfuffle erupted last year over the authorship of “The Serenity Prayer,” long attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

The skeptic has since found new evidence that leads him to believe Niebuhr did, in fact, write the prayer, the most-recited part of which says:

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.

The prayer is actually longer.

13 responses to “Reinhold Niebuhr wrote it after all

  1. Thanks. At Union Theological Seminary his books were required reading, along with Paul Tillich, who also taught there.

    • I remember reading both at Hartford Seminary, though I think Tillich’s work was more required reading. That, and there seemed to be a lot of talk about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose work I read very little. Have you read much Bonhoeffer?

  2. I always wondered who wrote that. I love that prayer.

  3. A certain principled conservative I have a good deal of respect for regards Niebuhr as a prophet. I don’t know if I would go that far, but I agree we could all learn a great deal from his work.
    The Irony of American History is timeless, visionary.
    And apparently he’s pretty good at prayers, too.

  4. Bonoeffer was big, too, as he was a graduate of UTS.

    • Man. They get all the good ones. I had a professor at the seminary who loved, loved, loved him. I didn’t spend nearly enough time reading his stuff to draw a bead on him.

  5. I say the Serenity Prayer every day with my kids before they scamper in to the schoolhouse.

  6. One bright morning at 8 a.m., about 60 students were in a large lecture hall at UTS.

    Dr. Samuel Terrien, very eminent professor of Old Testament, strode in and began his lecture.

    The class was gobsmacked. Finally one brave student raised his hand and said, “Dr. Terrien–you’re speaking in French!”

    He had actually forgotten what country he was in.

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