OA is a spiritual program as evidenced by the 12 steps. Here are the common prayers heard at the beginning or ending of an OA meeting, with a brief history of their origins.
(To print a PDF of these prayers/promises, click here.)
Third Step Prayer: 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.
The 3rd step prayer is part of the original text of the AA big book. It appears in the second paragraph on page 63 of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Seventh Step Prayer: 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 to my fellows. Grant me the strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.
The 7th step prayer is also part of the original text of the AA big book. The author suggests we say ‘something like this’ to complete step 7. Twelve steppers have been saying it ever since. The text appears on page 76 of Alcoholics Anonymous.
The Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer as we say it is a shortened version of a much longer and very old prayer that seems to have no fully known origin. (see AA website for historical information) In 1940 an AA member ran across it and took the prayer to Bill W. and the AA general service office. It was thought to be so appropriate that this version was adopted readily by AA and passed on to other 12 step programs over the years.
The OA Promise: 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 will power. 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.
copyright held by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc., used with permission
The OA Promise has also been known as ‘The Founder’s Prayer’, but is more correctly titled ‘I Put My Hand in Yours’ or simply referred to as ‘The OA Promise’. It is the first paragraph of a 25 page booklet titled I Put My Hand in Yours that our co-founder Rozanne S. wrote in 1968. See Beyond Our Wildest Dreams for OA history and more information (page 207) on the OA Promise.
The AA Promises: If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
The promises are part of the original text in the AA big book. They begin at the bottom of page 83 of Alcoholics Anonymous and are stated to be the results of having completed the steps through step 9. They have become a beloved anthem for us all. The promises is not one of the suggested prayers to be used as an opening or closing prayer at OA meetings (see 1993a in the OA policy manual – click here: oa.org documents and look for ‘WSBC Frequently Used Documents’) but they are read and used often within meetings and outside of them.