I have never really liked the serenity prayer, but primarily because the logic seems wrong in the way it is often quoted (there are some things which I do not feel able to accept, but also do not feel I ought to change). Niebuhr’s original quote, however, is quite clear:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
I wonder: Do I wish to receive this wisdom to be able to distinguish things that are undoubtedly right from undoubtedly wrong? Will courage enable me to change things I “ought” to change? These and many more similar questions are problematic for me.
But presently, I am most of all aware that there are many things I do not understand. To me, Niebuhr’s quote seems to imply that this might be God‘s fault (for not giving me the adequate wisdom). On the other hand, if I were to feel as though God had indeed given me such wisdom, then I might be empowered to judge over other people, things, ideas, etc. — which I do not actually wish to do.
I do not feel as though I know anything — so maybe this quote is simply not meant for me, or I am simply too feeble-minded to be able to understand it.