11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
You don’t have to believe in my Higher Power, and I don’t have to pray like you do. That’s one of the beauties of OA. We each come to our individual understanding of God, we learn to depend on the God of our understanding as the steps unfold, and then we learn to communicate with God in whatever way works for us.
That’s right, while OA has many suggested prayers, not one of them is mandated. Many of us use them, and we find them indispensable, but no one can make us talk to God in a way that doesn’t align with our concept of a Higher Power or whatever practices make sense to us. After all, the Big Book tells us that “the realm of the spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive….”
One way we could look at prayer is that it is much like our food plan. It needs to be tailored to our own needs, of course, but we can also adapt prayers others have used. We can express the meaning of the prayer to God in whatever words we wish to. So it might be helpful to review some prayers from OA and AA literature. They can be used in the morning, in the evening, or just when walking around or facing difficulties. The important thing is that we each have the opportunity to use them in whatever way best supports our relationship with our own Higher Power, our abstinence, and our relations with others.
Roz’s Prayer/Unity Prayer/OA Promises
“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.”
THE BIG BOOK
Third 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!”
Angry Man’s Prayer, page 67
“This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”
Seventh 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. Amen.”
Recommended to be said throughout the day, page 88
“Thy will be done.”
TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
St. Francis’ Prayer, 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.”
Serenity Prayer, page 125
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.
There are many other prayers scattered throughout various pieces of literature, but these should give a good cross-section of some of the more popular ones.
Step 11 reminds us to stay humble, close to God, and out of the driver’s seat. We get inspiration from God…not confirmation of how we think things should go. The prayers above and many others help us stay right sized, sane, and connected to God.