The Lord’s Prayer – Is There a Place for it in AA?

The chairperson asks that we close the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer. We stand, we hold hands and I do as I have done for years – I do not say the prayer. I stand there patiently, waiting for it to end. I look around. I see other people doing what I am doing, feeling uncomfortable; out of place. To me that prayer is a Christian prayer and if AA represents no religion, then why is it said?  Am I wrong?

So, I do some research. I look at the A.A. preamble. “A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, organization or institution”. I read in the Big Book, “AA is not a religious organization”. We refer to a God of our “Our Understanding”. I hear the Third Tradition, “The only requirement for A.A. Membership is a desire to stop drinking”. I find out that the Lord’s Prayer is only found in religious institutions that are based in Christianity.

I think the thing that people like so much about the meetings is how comfortable we feel. Yet, the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer makes it harder for many of us to feel comfortable. Maybe many who are not Christian stay away fearing that A.A. Is a religious organization. How many people, like myself, did not come back for years because I heard, what I believe to be a Christian Prayer.

Coming back to the Third Tradition, I feel that the groups have to be open, simply, to all those who have a desire to stop drinking and should not employ a sectarian religious practice that may exclude those who are not Christian. In this day and age, it is important to respect another person’s beliefs. In AA we are not to feel alone, uncomfortable and out of place. Perhaps some have not grasped the concepts of:

Keep an open Mind

Live and Let Live

We are no longer Alone

More and more groups seem to be ending with The Serenity Prayer. Perhaps that is the answer.

About the Author, Norman S.

Born in Toronto Canada. Celebrated 10 years on August 21st. My group is the Willowdale group in Toronto. I am 73 and I have turned my life around and now enjoy my family and my grandchildren.

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Betty H.
Betty H.
4 months ago

I went to my first meeting in 1996. Because of the Lord’s Prayer and the “First Step” consisting of moving to another room to share their “experience strength and hope” (I heard “indoctrination”) I didn’t go back for five more years.   In 2001 I went back and stayed out of a sheer will to stay sober and fellowship. I finally left 7 years ago, because I couldn’t ignore the God stuff anymore.   I live in a very small town with limited meetings. When bibles started showing up and members refused to listen to traditions I made conscience decision… Read more »

7 months ago

I leave the meeting before the Lord’s Prayer is spoken.
Who’s Father?
YOUR FATHER! Not mine.
I don’t believe in your God, not matter how much you try to sell me, I’m not buying it.
This prayer has no place in AA and further alienates alcoholics from recovery.

8 months ago

In our secular AA group in Brunswick, Maine, literally called ‘Without a Prayer’, we end with an edited “Serenity Statement” that just leaves out the god part:
“I seek the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
Feels inclusive and works for us.

9 months ago

3/4 things i would like to say and contemplate.
The Lords prayer has always been in AA its how the founders intended. Bit like the Big book. Never been re writen.
2) Where did AA come from? So many Christian phrases in the big book.
3) Go seek where religious people are right. Big book page. Read the book.
4) Christianity claims to not be a religion.
Ok 5 AA is a christian lifestyle without Christianity.

9 months ago
Reply to  Nick

: the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies.

9 months ago

Amen to that! Saying The Lord’s Prayer flies in the face of everything AA espouses to be true-as you say, it IS a religious prayer and specifically a Christian one. And, if anything, the insistence on saying it demonstrates hypocrisy, unwillingness, and close mindedness. It has no place in an organization that describes itself as being open to all beliefs. In my home group we end with The Serenity Prayer. This, in my opinion, is inclusive and chock full of wisdom welcoming to all. Fundamentalists in the program are short sighted in that holding rigidly to this prayer will increasingly… Read more »