Getting and staying in touch with our Higher Power is a key element for our success in OA. We are advised to pray throughout the day as a means of finding and maintaining our abstinence. We often pray to start and close our meetings. An extensive body of prayers are available to support OA members spiritual development, some originating in our Tradition, others from AA and other 12 Step programs and some have been passed down through the ages.
Scroll down for a listing of prayers that compulsive overeaters and other addicts use on a daily basis to support their recovery. If you have a favorite prayer that’s helped you in recovery, please use the comments section at the end of this article to share it with your fellow OAers.
The OA Promise (also known as Rozanne’s Prayer and the Unity Prayer):
I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.
God grant me the serenity to
Accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the Wisdom to know the difference.
What many of us don’t realize is that the Serenity Prayer was written by theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, and has additional verses as follow:
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;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen
– for an interesting treatise on the history of the Serenity Prayer see AAHistory.com.
11th Step Prayer/Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
(from the AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Book, page 99)
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.
Another version of St. Francis prayer:
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
where, there is sadness, joy.
0 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.
Prayers from the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)
3rd Step Prayer—page 63
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.
4th Step Prayer (Resentments)—page 67
God, help me to show tolerance, pity and patience. This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.
Fear Prayer—page 68
God, I ask that you remove my fear and direct my attention to what you would have me be.
Sex Prayer—page 69
God, I ask that you would mold my ideals, and help me to live up to them. Where I have done harm, God show me what I should do about each specific matter.
God, I am sorry for what I have done, and have an honest desire to let You take me to better things.
Sanity and Strength Prayer—page 70
God, I earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.
5th Step Prayer—page 75
God, I thank You from the bottom of my heart that I may know you better.
6th Step Prayer—page 76
God, I still cling to some things that I have admitted are objectionable. Help me to be willing to let them go.
7th Step Prayer—page 76
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.
8th Step Prayer—page 76
God, I ask for the willingness to make amends for the damage I have done in the past.
9th Step Prayer—page 79
I pray that I may be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.
Change Prayer—page 81
I am sorry for what I have done. God willing, it shall not be repeated.
Morning Prayer—page 83
My creator, show me the way of patience, tolerance, kindness and love.
10th Step Prayer—page 84
I pray, God, that You remove my selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear.
Another 10th Step Prayer
God, please help me review my day.
Please grant me the willingness to see what you would have me see, in the light you would have me see it: free from morbid reflection, fear, obsessive guilt, and dishonesty.
Daily Prayer—page 85
How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.
11th Step Prayer—page 86
God, I pray for forgiveness for the wrongs I have done today. I ask that I be shown what corrective measures should be taken.
Decision Prayer—page 86
God, I am faced with indecision and I am unable to determine which course to take. I ask You for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. God, I pray to be shown what my next step should be. Give me whatever I need to take care of my problems. Especially free me from self-will so that I may be of help to others. What can I do today to help others?
During the Day Prayer—page 87
I am agitated (doubtful) God. Please give me the right thought or action. I am no longer running the show. Thy will be done.
Morning Prayer—pages 86 and 164
God, please direct my thinking; especially, that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonesty or self-seeking motives. What can I do for the man that is still sick?
A Blessing—page 164
May God bless You and keep You.
Acceptance Prayer—page 417
And acceptance is the answer to all 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 compulsive overeating, I could not stay abstinent; unless I accept 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 attitude.
Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, all the men and women merely players.” He forgot to mention that I was the chief critic. I was always able to see the flaw in every person, every situation. And I was always glad to point it out, because I knew you wanted perfection, just as I did. O.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork, I am saying that I know better than God.
Resources and Attributions
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References and excerpts from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous are Copyright © Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.