Friday, June 19, 2009

Third Step Prayer

Many of you do not know this, but I was once married to an alcoholic.

I wasn't a Christian yet. Although I had heard the Word, I had not yet surrendered to Christ.

I was lost. Insane. Reeling. Desperate for a savior, so I picked him.

He was what they call a recovering alcoholic.

Most days, it didn't feel like there was much recovery going on. For that matter, I wasn't recovered yet, either.

Suffice it to was insane.

I still struggle with that term "recovering."

I remember years later when I worked for Arbitron, I was having lunch with one of my clients, and he said something that made me ask if he was a friend of Bill W's.

(For those of you who don't know, Bill W. was one of the founders of AA, and for one person to ask another, "Are you a friend of Bill W's?" is a way to maintain anonymity for both parties, yet at the same time determine if there is common ground there. It's not until both say yes, that they can begin to openly talk about alcoholism.)

After I asked my client/friend if he was a friend of Bill W's, he smiled and said,
"I was in recovery for years...then I met Jesus Christ. Now I'm recovered."

I love that!

I met Jesus Christ. Now I'm recovered.

For some of us, when we come to know Jesus Christ, a certain struggle with sin will be removed instantly. Maybe several will be.

I believe that's God's grace.

And, while our sin debt has been paid in full, struggle with certain sins will very likely remain.

I believe God allows these in order that we might remember from Whom our strength comes, and never go back to relying on self.

All of this to say, I've had this prayer going 'round and 'round in my head for the past few days, and wanted to share it with you. It's called the Third Step Prayer, and it can be found on
page 63 of the "Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous."

I spent a lot of time around the tables of AA, and Alanon, and I met some amazing people there who were living lives of honesty and openness....lives of short accounts and true integrity. It was through Alanon that I learned the tools of detachment, service and surrender.

I believe with all of my heart that God used my time around those tables, to draw me to Himself, and I will be forever thankful to Him and to the precious people there who mentored me, and taught me what it means to live one day at a time in submission to Christ.

There are certainly teachings within AA that I have a challenge with now, the big one being
"the God of our understanding," as it's so open to interpretation today, but I gotta tell you, I do understand the reason for it.

When people stumble through the doors of an AA meeting, they've often had years of false teaching about the Lord shoved down their throats, and they need the grace to come to know Him for themselves. They have bought the lie that God hates them, and could never forgive them, much less be willing to help them.

OK...that's a long intro. to the prayer that I still love today. I pray it ministers to your heart as it does to mine.

I love you!

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!


Kim Green said...

Thanks for the post, Jes. That even in the midst of your own huge trial, you are ministering to others. You are truly Lady Paul. : )

My entire 20's was one huge AA meeting. I was attracted to everything but hard drugs. Even though I knew the Lord. It wasn't until I surrendered all (in the background - do you hear "I Surrender All"?) that I was finally free. Free to live for Him and to be the person that He was building me up to be.

When I first found the Lord, I believe that I was living for what He could do for ME. It wasn't until I realized that I needed to live for HIM that real surrender and real life change began. So AMEN and AMEN to the prayer. And to you, Sister.

For this, for that, for all of it: For this we have Jesus. Sustaining you and your family in prayer.

With love, Kim

D.L. White said...

Hi Jes - I'm getting caught up on my blog reading and posting. Hope you are doing okay and are home now.

I've never been to an AA meeting, but there is a prayer I say over and over again, and have plastered all over my house, that was written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and adopted by AA, most commonly called "The Serenity Prayer." Here's the original text:

O God and Heavenly Father,
Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed;
courage to change that which can be changed,
and wisdom to know the one from the other,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Anonymous said...

*OMG* I have NEVER seen the "Serenity Prayer" in the original text like this. I LOVE IT!!! Do u have/know the long version of it? THANK YOU & PLEASE share if u do... -cse