This page contains prayers and meditations commonly used in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. These prayers and meditations are only suggested and there are many variations not listed here.

"...it is better to meet God alone than with one who might misunderstand. The wording (is,) of course, quite optional so long as we express the idea, voicing it without reservation."

Alcoholics Anonymous, (Big Book) p.63  Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

"...we can pause where situations must be met and decisions made, and renew the simple request: "Thy will, not mine, be done." If at these points our emotional disturbance happens to be great, we will more surely keep our balance, provided we remember, and repeat to ourselves, a particular prayer or phrase that has appealed to us in our reading or meditation. Just saying it over and over will often enable us to clear a channel choked up with anger, fear, frustration, or misunderstanding, and permit us to return to the surest help of all - our search for God's will, not our own, in the moment of stress."

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions(p. 102-3 / 105)Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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The Story of the Serenity Prayer (in A. A.)

(Short Version)

Early in 1942, writes Bill W., in A.A. Comes of Age, a New York member, Jack, brought to everyone's attention a caption in a routine New York Herald Tribune obituary that read:

"God grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courage to change the things we can, and Wisdom to know the difference."

Everyone in A. A.'s burgeoning office on Manhattan's Vesey Street was struck by the power and wisdom contained in the prayer's thoughts. "Never had we seen so much A.A. in so few words," Bill writes. Someone suggested that the prayer be printed on a small, wallet-sized card, to be included in every piece of outgoing mail. Ruth Hock, the Fellowship's first (and nonalcoholic) secretary, contacted Henry S., a Washington D.C. member, and a professional printer, asking him what it would cost to order a bulk printing. Henry's enthusiastic response was to print 500 copies of the prayer, with the remark: "Incidentally, I am only a heel when I'm drunk ... so naturally, there could be no charge for anything of this nature."

(unknown)

 

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A Letter From Bill W. Regarding The Lord's Prayer In A.A.

(From the A.A. Archives in New York)


April 14, 1959
Dear Russ,
Am right sorry for my delay in answering. Lois and I were a long time out of the country and this was followed by an attack of the marathon type of flu that has been around here in New York. We are okay now, however, but I did want to explain my delay.

Now about the business of adding the Lord's Prayer to each A.A. meeting.

This practice probably came from the Oxford Groups who were influential in the early days of A.A. You have probably noted in AA. Comes of Age what the connection of these people in A.A. really was. I think saying the Lord's Prayer was a custom of theirs following the close of each meeting. Therefore it quite easily got shifted into a general custom among us.

Of course there will always be those who seem to be offended by the introduction of any prayer whatever into an ordinary A.A. gathering. Also, it is sometimes complained that the Lord's Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless this Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the arguments of its Christian origin seems to be a little far-fetched. It is also true that most A. A.s believe in some kind of God and that communication and strength is obtainable through His grace. Since this is the general consensus it seems only right that at least the Serenity Prayer and the Lord's Prayer be used in connection with our meetings. It does not seem necessary to defer to the feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the extent of completely hiding our light under a bushel.

However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord's Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress.

So that's the sum of the Lord's Prayer business as I recall it. Your letter made me wonder in just what connection you raise the question.

Meanwhile, please know just how much Lois and I treasure the friendship of you both. May Providence let our paths presently cross one of these days.

Devotedly yours,
Bill Wilson
WGW/ni
Mr. Russ

As Bill’s 1955 letter indicates, recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at meetings has clearly been controversial in some circles almost since the beginning. The GSO has responded to letters on this issue since the 1940s and 1950s. It is continually addressed in articles in Box 459 and the AA Grapevine, and has often been asked about at the General Service Conference. For example, at the 1962 Conference, in one of the Ask-It Basket questions, this subject was broached:

Question: What is the procedure for dealing with individuals who refuse to stand during recitation of the Lord's Prayer? Answer: Participation--or non-participation-in recitals of the Lord's Prayer should be considered a matter of personal conscience and decision.”

Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.


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LORD'S PRAYER


Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
[For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.]
Amen.

reference 1928 BCP Wikipedia
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PRAYER of ST. FRANCIS
AA version

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.
Amen.

Chapter 11 (Page 99) of the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.
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PRAYER of ST. FRANCIS ASSISI
popular Christian version

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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.
Amen.
reference Wikipedia
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SERENITY PRAYER
long version


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 hardships 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;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

"Desiderata"
-1927 by Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater
and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

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 STEP PRAYERS

There are many variations of step prayers. Some are taken directly from the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous), and some are derived from the Big Book and other A. A. literature. The following prayers are suggested only.

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First Step Prayer

Dear Lord, Help me to see and admit that I am powerless over my alcoholism. Help me to understand how my alcoholism has led to unmanageability in my life. Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness. Remove from me all denial of my alcoholism.

(unknown)

Another
First Step Prayer

God, Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind, Spirit of Nature or Spirit of the Universe my name is ______, And I'm a real alcoholic ... and I need your help today.
Alcoholics Anonymous (pg. 10-2, 46, & Chp. 3 BB) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Second Step Prayer

"God, I'm standing at the turning point right now. Give me your protection and care as I abandon myself to you and give up my old ways and my old ideas just for today.
AMEN"

(p. 59 Big Book) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Third Step Prayer

"God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

(p. 63 Big Book) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Another

Third Step Prayer

"God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" (p. 63 BB) God, Take my will and my life. Guide me in my recovery. Show me how to live. AMEN
Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 59) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.
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Fourth Step Prayer


“This is a sick person like myself. how can I be helpful to
them? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”

(p. 67 Big Book) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Another

Fourth Step Prayer

"I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure."
Alcoholics Anonymous(p.13)  Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Another

Fourth Step Prayer

God help me to show this person the same tolerance, pity and patience that I would Cheerfully grant a sick friend. This is a sick person, how can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.
(Alcoholics Anonymous(p.13), (p. 141 of 12&12) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc

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Another

Fourth Step Prayer

"We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be."

God, relieve me of this fear and direct my attention to what you would have me be. AMEN
Alcoholics Anonymous(p. 68)Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc

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Another

Fourth Step Prayer

"We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. . . we ask God what we should do about each specific matter."

God mold my ideals in this particular area of my life and help me to live up to them. What should I do in each specific matter? Guide me God and give me strength to do right. AMEN
Alcoholics Anonymous(p. 69)Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc

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Fifth Step Prayer

"God I thank you from the bottom of my heart that I know you better. Help me become aware of anything I have omitted discussing with another person. Help me to do what is necessary to walk a free man at last. AMEN"

(p. 75 Big Book) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Sixth Step Prayer

"God help me become willing to let go of all the things to which I still cling. Help me to be ready to let You remove all of these defects, that Your will and purpose may take their place. AMEN"

(p. 76 Big Book) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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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."

(p.76 Big Book) Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Another

Seventh Step Prayer


"I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction. I admitted for the first time that of myself I was nothing; that without Him I was lost. I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch."
Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 13)
, Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Eighth Step Prayer

God help me to become willing to own my part in these matters and to clean up my side of the street. Help me to make amends to all I have harmed. Thy will be done for this person as well as for me. AMEN 

(unknown)

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Ninth Step Prayer

I subjected myself to a drastic self-appraisal. Now I go out to my fellows and repair the damage done in the past. I attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of my effort to live on self-will and run the show myself. I ask for the will to do this. I Remind myself that I have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience. I ask that I be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. I pray having the other one’s happiness uppermost in mind.  I pray that I always Keep it in sight. Their defects may be glaring, but the chances are that my own actions are partly responsible.  I pray that when I clean house with the family, I ask each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness, and love. Amen.

(derived from the Big Book,  pages  76 - 83)

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Another

Ninth Step Prayer

God give me the strength and direction to do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be. Help me to consider others and not harm them in any way. Help me to consult with others before I take any actions that would cause me to be sorry. Help me to not repeat such behaviors. Show me the way of Patience, Tolerance, Kindliness, and Love and help me live the spiritual life. AMEN
Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 78-80),
Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Tenth Step Prayer

God, I pray that I continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.  When these crop up, I humbly ask You to remove them at once.  I pray that I discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone.  I pray that I turn my thoughts to someone I can help.  I pray that love and tolerance of others be my code. I pray for a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition.  Every day is a day I must carry the vision of Your will into all of my activities. How can I best serve Thee – Thy will, not mine, be done. Amen.

(derived from the Big Book,  pages 84, 85)

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Another

Tenth Step Prayer

God remove the Selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear that has cropped up in my life right now. Help me to discuss this with someone immediately and make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone. Help me to cease fight anything and anyone. Show me where I may be helpful to someone else. Help me react sanely, not cocky or afraid. How can I best serve You - Your will, not mine be done. AMEN

Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 84-5), Reprinted with permission from AA World Services, Inc.

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Eleventh Step Prayer

God, when I am agitated or doubtful, I ask for the right thought or action.  I pray for help in letting go and stop running the show. I humbly ask for Your will, not mine, be done.  I ask this to be in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.  I pray that I become much more efficient. I pray that I do not tire so easily, so that I do not burn up energy foolishly as I did when I was trying to arrange life to suit myself. Amen.

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Another

Eleventh Step Prayer

God, I'm agitated and doubtful right now. Help me to stop and remember that I've made a decision to let You be my God. Give me the right thoughts and actions. God save me from fear, anger, worry, self-pity or foolish decisions that Your will not mine be done. AMEN

(unknown)

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Twelfth Step Prayer

God, what can I do for the man who is still sick?
I ask that my relationship with You is right and that it grows so that I may carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.  I abandon myself to You. I ask for help in admitting my faults to You and to my fellows.  I ask for Your guidance in clearing away the wreckage of my past, that I give freely of what I find. Amen.
 

(derived from the Big Book,  page 164)

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Another

Twelfth Step Prayer

God, my spiritual awakening continues to unfold. The help I have received I shall pass on and give to others, both in and out of the Fellowship. For this opportunity I am grateful. I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day on the road of spiritual progress. I pray for the inner strength and wisdom to practice the principles of this way of life in all I do and say. I need You, my friends, and the Program every hour of every day. This is a better way to live. AMEN

(unknown)

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NIGHT PRAYER

God, forgive me where I have been resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid today. Help me to not keep anything to myself but to discuss it all openly with another person - show me where I owe an apology and help me make it.
Help me to be kind and loving to all people. Use me in the mainstream of life God. Remove worry, remorse or morbid reflections that I may be of usefulness to others.
AMEN

MORNING PRAYER

God direct my thinking today so that it be divorced of self pity, dishonesty, self-will, self-seeking and fear.
God inspire my thinking, decisions and intuitions.
Help me to relax and take it easy.
Free me from doubt and indecision.
Guide me through this day and show me my next step.
God give me what I need to take care of any problems.
I ask all these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man in the name of the Steps I pray.
AMEN

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Native American AA Prayer
(short version)
Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world
Hear Me.
I come to you as one of your many children
I am small and weak
I need your strength and wisdom
May I walk in beauty.
And how my life is unmanageable
I need to learn to remember that
I have an incurable illness and that
Abstinence is the only way to deal with it.

Native American AA Prayer
(long version)
Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world
Hear me
I come before you, one of your children
I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom
Let me walk in beauty and
make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
my ears sharp to hear your voice
Make me wise, so that I may know
the things you have taught my People
the lesson you have hidden in every leaf and rock
I seek strength, not to be superior to my brothers
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself
Make me ever ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes,
so when life fades as a fading sunset
My Spirit may come to you without shame.
 
                   ~  Mitakuye Oyasin 

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Set-Aside

I now pray that I be given the capacity to set aside everything I think I know about God, about me, about my Fellow man, about the Twelve Steps, and please allow me to gain a fresh new vision, perspective and understanding of what God, what me, and what my fellow man and The Twelve Steps are all about. AMEN


The folks that put the set aside prayer together based it on these concepts referenced in the Big Book.
Pg 42, paragraph 2:
"It meant I would have to throw several lifelong conceptions out of the window"


Page 46, paragraph 1:
"We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves. We commenced to get results even though it was impossible for any of us fully define or comprehend that power which is God."


Pg 47, paragraph 4:
"Do not let any prejudice you may have against any spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you."


Pg 47, paragraph 4:
"Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice."


"It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will be prejudiced for as long as some of us were.


Page 49, paragraph 2:
"We who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion."


Page 58, paragraph 3:
"Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."
It does not appear in any literature approved by the AA General Service Conference. But individuals and groups are in no way restricted to using only literature approved by the conference.

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The Slogan Prayer

Just for Today let me listen and learn. Help me to Think about what is before me and let me experience the answer to how important is it? Allow me to keep an open mind and begin applying easy does it as I let it begin with me. Give me strength to keep it simple as I begin to do first things first. Help me to be willing to accept responsibility for my actions and allow me to live and let live by allowing others to make choices and be responsible for their choices. Please make me ready to let go and let God.

(unknown)