Twelve Step Prayers from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
The Twelve Step Prayers were created using the text of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The text used to develop the prayers are shown at the end of the prayer in parenthesis. My hope is that these prayers will provide a framework for you to develop your own or expand on the wording below.
The Set Aside Prayer:
"Dear God please help me to set aside everything I think I know about [people. place or thing] so I may have an open mind and a new experience. Please help me to see the truth about [people. place or thing]. AMEN." (This prayer comes from the Chapter to the Agnostic.)
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. (This prayer is developed from the chapter, More About Alcoholism)
Second Step Prayer
Heavenly Father, I am having trouble with personal relationships. I can’t control my emotional nature. I am prey to misery and depression. I can’t make a living. I feel useless. I am full of fear. I am unhappy. I can’t seem to be of real help to others. I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity if I am just willing to stop doubting your power. I humbly ask that you help me to understand that it is more powerful to believe than not to believe and that you are either everything or nothing. (p. 52:2, 52:3, 53:1, 53:2)
3rd Step Prayer:
"God, I offer myself to thee - to build with me and 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!" (63:2 original manuscript) (see also the webpage with other Third Step Prayers)
A Pre-Inventory prayer:
"God, please help me to honestly take stock. Help me to search out the flaws in my make-up which caused my failure. Help me to see where resentment has plagued me and resulted in spiritual malady, but more importantly help me to understand my part in these resentments. Help me to resolutely look for my own mistakes and to understand where I had been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened. Please help me to be searching and fearless in my endeavor to write my inventory." (p. 64:2, 64:3, 67:2)
A 4th Step Resentment Prayer:
"God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done."(66:2, 66:3, 66:4, 67:0, 67:1)
**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment. (BB, Freedom from Bondage: 552)
These instructions are for the above prayer (Big Book, Freedom from Bondage, p. 552): 'If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free...Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.'
You can, also, include the Freedom from Bondage Prayer in the 4th Step Resentment Prayer.
An Example of Fear Prayer:
"God, thank you for helping me be honest enough to see this truth about myself and now that you have shown me the truth about my fears, please remove these fears from me. Lord, please help me outgrow my fears and direct my attention to what you would have me be. Father, demonstrate through me and help me become that which you would have me be. Help me do thy will always, Amen."(68:3)
An Example of Pre-Sex Inventory Prayer:
"God, please help me to be free of fear as I attempt to shine the spotlight of truth across my past sex relations. Lord, please show me where my behavior has harmed others and help me to see the truth these relationships hold for me. Help me see where I have been at fault and what I should have done differently." (From the thoughts on pg. 69)
"God, help me review my own conduct over the years past. Show me where I have been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate. Show me whom I have hurt and where I have unjustifiably aroused jealousy, suspicion or bitterness. Help me to see where I was at fault and what I should have done instead. Help me to be fearless and searching in my endeavor to write my sexual inventory." (69:1)
A Sex Prayer:
"Father, please help me mold my sex ideals and help me to live up to them. Help me be willing to grow toward my ideals and help me be willing to make amends where I have done harm. Lord, please show me what to do in each specific matter, and be the final judge in each situation. Help me avoid hysterical thinking or advice." (69:2, 69:3)
"Father, please Grace me with guidance in each questionable situation, sanity, and strength to do the right thing. If sex becomes very troublesome, quiet my imperious urge, help me not to yield and keep me from heartache as I throw myself the harder into helping others. Help me think of their needs and help me work for them. Amen."(69:2, 69:3, 70:2)
A Pre-Fifth Step Prayer:
God, please help me to complete my housecleaning by admitting to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. Please remove any fears I have about this step and show me how completion of it will remove my egotism and fear. Help me to see how this step builds my character through humility, fearlessness and honesty. Direct me to the right person who will keep my confidence and fully understand and approve what I am driving at. Then help me to pocket my pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past so I may complete this step and begin to feel near to you." (72:1, 72:2, 73:0, 74:2, 75:2)
Fifth Step Prayer
Higher Power, Thank you for helping me complete my housecleaning. I can now look the world in the eye. I can be alone at perfect peace and ease. My fears have fallen from me. I have begun to feel your nearness. I have begun to have a spiritual experience. I feel I am on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. (75:2)
A Quiet Hour Prayer:
"God, Thank You for giving me the strength, faith and courage I needed to get through my 5th Step. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to know you better, by showing me what has been blocking me from you. Father, please show me if I have omitted anything and help me to honestly see if my stones are properly in place or if I have skimped in any area of this work."(75:3)
A 6th Step prayer:
"God, Thank you for removing my fear and for showing me the truth about myself. Father, I need your help to become willing to let go of the things in me which continue to block me off from you. Please grant me your Grace Lord and make me willing to have these objectionable characteristics, defects and shortcomings removed." (76:1)
Sixth Step Prayer
Dear God, I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself & guide me toward spiritual & mental health. (76:1)
Seventh Step Prayer
"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding." (76:2)
A Pre - Eighth Step Prayer:
"God, Please remove my Fears and show me your truth. Show me all the harms I have caused with my behavior and help me be willing to make amends to one and all. Help me to be willing to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol."(76:3)
A 9th Step Prayer :
"God, with regard to this amend, give me the strength, courage and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. Help me not to shrink from anything. Help me not to delay if it can be avoided. Help me to be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping."(79:1, 83:3)
A 9th Step prayer for the Spouse:
"God, please show me how to make amends to my Spouse. Father , Help me to keep my Spouse’s happiness Uppermost in my mind as I try, with your Grace, to make this relationship right. Amen" (82:1)
A 9Th Step Prayer for the Family:
"God, please show me how to find the way of Patience, Tolerance, Kindness and Love in my heart, my Mind and my Soul. Lord, show me how to demonstrate these principles to my family and all those about me. Amen." (83:1)
A 10th Step prayer for Growth and Effectiveness:
"God, please help me Watch for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment and Fear. When these crop up in me, help me to immediately ask you to remove them from me and help me discuss these feelings with someone. Father, help me to quickly make amends if I have harmed anyone and help me to resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can Help. Help me to be Loving and Tolerant of everyone today. Amen"(84:2)
Tenth Step Prayer
My Higher Power, My daily prayer is to best serve you, I pray I may continue to grow in understanding & effectiveness; Help me to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear; Help me to be willing to have You remove them at once; I must be willing to discuss them with someone immediately; I will make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone; And then I will turn my thoughts toward helping someone else; Please help me to remember to practice love and tolerance of others. (84:2)
Tenth Step Amends Prayer
"God, please forgive me for my failings today. I know that because of my failings, I was not able to be as effective as I could have been for you. Please forgive me and help me live thy will better today. I ask you now to show me how to correct the errors I have just outlined. Guide me and direct me. Please remove my arrogance and my fear. Show me how to make my relationships right and grant me the humility and strength to do thy will."(86:1)
The 11Th Step Prayers:
A Prayer On Awakening:
"God please direct my thinking and keep my thoughts divorced from self – pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Please keep my thought life clear from wrong motives and help me employ my mental faculties, that my thought-life might be placed on a higher plane, the plane of inspiration." (86:2)
A Morning Prayer:
"God, should I find myself agitated, doubtful or indecisive today, please give me inspiration, help me to have an intuitive thought or a decision about this problem I face. Help me not to struggle, instead, help me to relax and take it easy. Help me know what I should do and keep me mindful, that you are running the show. Free me from my bondage of self. Thy will be done always." (86:3)
A Morning Prayer:
"God, please show me all through this day, what my next step is to be and please grace me with whatever I need to take care of the problems in my life today. I ask especially that you free me from the bondage of self-will."(87:1)
An 11Th Step Nightly Review Prayer:
"God, help me to constructively review my day. Where was I resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do I owe an apology? Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once? Was I kind and loving toward all? What could I have done better? Was I thinking of myself most of the time? Or was I thinking of what I could do for others, of what I could pack into the stream of life? Please forgive me for my harms and wrongs today and let me know corrective measures I should be take." (86:2)
Twelfth Step Prayer
Dear God, Having had a spiritual experience, I must now remember that "faith without works is dead." And PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. So, God, please help me to carry this message to other alcoholics! Provide me with the guidance and wisdom to talk with another alcoholic because I can help when no one else can. Help me secure his confidence and remember he is ill. (89:1)
Additional Step 3 Prayers
Third Step Prayers The following prayer is the third step prayer found in the Big Book and used by Bill W.:
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & 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 & Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always.
However, there are numerous third steps prayers used as part of the program of recovery, including those used by Dr. Bob and Clarence S. There are also third step prayers for each religion or faith. While the ones on this site show a sampling of these prayers, it is by no means exhaustive. Here is a list of the third step prayers I have encountered over the years: Dr. Bob, Clarence S., NA, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Baha’i, Universalist, Catholic, Set Aside Prayer, Before Getting Out of Bed. Again, this is by no means a complete list, it is just an example of the different types of third step prayers used today.
Native American 3rd Step 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 & weak, I need your strength & wisdom. May I walk in beauty. And how my life is unmanageable. I need to learn & remember that I have an incurable illness & that bstinence is the only way to deal with it.
Native American 3rd Step Prayer (long version):
Oh Great Spirit whose voice in the winds I hear, And whose breath gives life to all the world- Hear me. Before you I come One of your many children. I am small & weak. Your strength & wisdom I need. Let me walk in beauty & make my eyes ever behold the sunset. Make my heart respect all You have made, & my ears sharp to hear Your voice. Make me wise that I may know all You have taught my people, The lessons You have hidden in every rock. I seek strength, not to be superior to my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy – myself. Make me ready to stand before You with clean & straight eyes, So when life fades as the fading sunset, may my spirit stand before You without shame. Mitakuye Oyasin
Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)
God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & 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 & Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!
3rd Step Prayer
Take my will & my life, Guide me in my recovery, Show me how to live.
3rd Step Prayer (Jewish)
Grant me inner peace…, Let my body be completely subordinate to my soul & have no other will or desire but to follow the desire of the holy soul, which is to do Your will. Let peace reign between my soul & my body. Let my body be sanctified & purified until it becomes united with the holy soul & I carry out all Your commandments & do everything You want of me, body & soul, willingly & with great joy.
Let my body & soul unite in love & peace to do Your will sincerely, until I attain complete inner harmony & am ready to order my prayer before You perfectly. Let my prayer rise before You like the incense & perfect sacrifices offered by those who are whole & perfect.
3rd Step Prayer (Dr. Bob)
Dear God, I’m sorry about the mess I’ve made of my life. I want to turn away from all the wrong things I’ve ever done and all the wrong things I’ve ever been. Please forgive me for it all. I know You have the power to change my life and can turn me into a winner. Thank You, God for getting my attention long enough to interest me in trying it Your way. God, please take over the management of my life and everything about me. I am making this conscious decision to turn my will and my life over to Your care and am asking You to please take over all parts of my life. Please, God, move into my heart. However You do it is Your business, but make Yourself real inside me and fill my awful emptiness. Fill me with your love and Holy Spirit and make me know Your will for me. And now, God, help Yourself to me and keep on doing it. I’m not sure I want You to, but do it anyhow. I rejoice that I am now a part of Your people, that my uncertainty is gone forever, and that You now have control of my will and my life. Thank You and I praise Your name. Amen.
Third Step Prayer (Clarence S.)
Lord, I ask that you guide and direct me, and that I have decided to turn my life and will over to you. To serve You and to dedicate my life to You. I thank you Lord, I believe that if I ask this in prayer, I shall receive what I have asked for. Thank you God. Amen.
Third Step Prayer, Life With Hope
Higher Power, I have tried to control the uncontrollable for far too long. I acknowledge that my life is unmanageable. I ask for your care and guidance. Grant me honesty, courage, humility, and serenity, to face that which keeps me from you and others. I give this life to you to do with as you will.
O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen.
Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for Your forgiveness. Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each and every day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You. Please broaden my mind that I can accept all things. Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. Let me continue to see through God’s eyes and see his people with love. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God. And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example – to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will. Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those that are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those that are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don’t know you intimately. I pray for those that will delete this without sharing it with others. I pray for those that don’t believe. But I thank you that I believe. I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For each and every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt and all their needs are met. I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight. I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.
I know the Laws of Nature are you, Lady. Keep me mindful that I step upon Your Body, with your feet, that my sorrows are Your sorrows, and that a healthy priest makes all things sound. I feel Your breath in the wind, and Your hand in mine. Keep me sincere. Give me Your work, which is to be joyous, and to tend all things, because all things live, of themselves, and with Your spirit. Your will through mine, so mote it be.
With every breath I take today, I vow to be awake;
And every step I take, I vow to take with a grateful heart–
So I may see with eyes of love into the hearts of all I meet,
To ease their burden when I can And touch them with a smile of peace.
I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha Until I attain Enlightenment.
By merit accumulations from practicing generosity and the other perfections May I attain Enlightenment, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
O my God and my Master! I am Thy servant and the son of Thy servant. I have risen from my couch at this dawntide when the Daystar of Thy oneness hath shone forth from the Dayspring of Thy will, and hath shed its radiance upon the whole world, according to what had been ordained in the Books of Thy Decree. Praise be unto Thee, O my God, that we have wakened to the splendors of the light of Thy knowledge. Send down, then, upon us, O my Lord, what will enable us to dispense with anyone but Thee, and will rid us of all attachment to aught except Thyself. Write down, moreover, for me, and for such as are dear to me, and for my kindred, man and woman alike, the good of this world and the world to come. Keep us safe, then, through Thine unfailing protection, O Thou the Beloved of the entire creation and the Desire of the whole universe, from them whom Thou hast made to be the manifestations of the Evil Whisperer, who whisper in men’s breasts. Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.
Bless Thou, O Lord my God, Him Whom Thou hast set over Thy most excellent Titles, and through Whom Thou hast divided between the godly and the wicked, and graciously aid us to do what Thou lovest and desirest. Bless Thou, moreover, O my God, them Who are Thy Words and Thy Letters, and them who have set their faces towards Thee, and turned unto Thy face, and hearkened to Thy Call. Thou art, truly, the Lord and King of all men, and art potent over all things. Bahullh
Unitarian Universalist Prayer
I know little of who you are. I know little of your plan. I can understand only specks of your power. I cannot begin to comprehend all of what you are. But this I know. You do not give love, you are love. You do not project beauty, you are beauty. You do not allow hope, you are hope. You do not lend strength, you are strength. All that is good is your gift. All that is bad is the consequence of man s attempt to reject or mold you. The solutions to my problems, my fears, and my shame are all found in you.
All things I wish to be come from my desire to be closer to you. I see you every time I see the light shining through a tree. I see you every time a sunset or mountain vista takes my breath away. I hear you ever time I open myself to the wonder of life. I feel you every time my heart fills with joy and love. I doubt you only when I allow fear, and greed, and selfishness to assume the power to control me. I know that if I allow you in my life I feel peace. When I embrace you I feel love. When I seek you I find strength. Father, show me the way to serenity so that I may be of help to others. Show me the way to responsibility so that I may give to others.
Mother, show me the path to compassion so that I may comfort others. Show me the path to healing so I may help others heal themselves.
Grandfather, show me the road to wisdom so that I may teach others. Show me the road to strength so that I may carry others until they can carry themselves.
Grandmother, show me how to feel love so that I may love others. Show me forgiveness so that I may forgive myself and others.
God, help me remove the blinders of self-will. Help me see what is true. Teach me so that I can be of service. Free me from fear, from hate, from greed, from discontent so that I may contribute myself to your work. Allow me to see what you would have me do and grant me the strength to follow through. Without you I am empty. With you at my side I am whole.
Father, Help me know Your will through the spiritual wisdom and understanding that comes from the Spirit so I may live a life worthy of You, pleasing You in every way. Help me to bear fruit, to influence others’ lives in every good thing I do. May I constantly be growing in my understanding of who You are and in my awareness of how You work in the world.
Help me offermyself as a living sacrifice, desiring not to live like those who are giving in to the ways of the world but to be totally changed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to know Your willYour good, pleasing, and perfect will.
May I yield my will to Yours and set my hearts on doing Your will. Help me set aside my own desires, seeking only Your will, standing firm and keeping on in Your strength. Help me be strong and not give up no matter what happens filled with joy and thanksgiving.
May I have no other desire than Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Prayer of St. Francis Assisi
Lord, Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring 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. Where there is discord, harmony. Where there is error, truth. Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness. 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. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Dear Lord, So far Ive done all right. I havent gossiped, havent lost my temper, havent been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent. Im really glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, Im going to get out of bed, and from then on, Im going to need a lot more help.
The Serenity Prayer
God Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time Enjoying one moment at a time. Accepting hardship 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 it 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.