This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book" by AAWS. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
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What happens during Step 7 of AA? What is the AA Step 7 prayer?
The Step 7 prayer is used to appeal to the higher power for assistance with removing character flaws. You want to be able to overcome these and that is what Step 7 of AA is about, but it is not the only step with a prayer.
Read more about the Step 7 prayer and the praying and meditation counterpart in Step 11.
The AA Step 7 Prayer
“We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
Step 7 of AA is about humility. You are not, and have never been, able to remove your shortcomings by yourself, no matter how high your willpower of determination. You need your higher power to do this for you.
The Big Book has this AA Step 7 prayer for your higher power: “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.”
“We 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.”
In Step 11, you discover the plan that your higher power has for you, and you gain the will to carry it out.
For spiritual people, this step often involves prayer and meditation. For secular people, this involves stopping and reflecting on your thoughts.
Here’s a simple way of implementing Step 11:
- At the end of the day, review your day constructively. Did you have any shortcomings, like being resentful, afraid, or selfish? Do you need to make amends to anyone? Were you kind towards all? What could you have done better?
- Don’t drift into worry or morbid reflection—this will diminish your usefulness to others. Ask for forgiveness and ask what corrective measures need be taken.
- The next day, on waking, plan your day. Don’t feel any self-pity and don’t have any selfish motives. Pray that you’ll be shown all day what your next step is to be, that you’ll be given whatever you need to take care of such problems.
As you complete these steps, you will feel renewed. Fear and insecurity will leave; ability and peace will replace them. “God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
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Here's what you'll find in our full Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book summary:
- How alcoholism is a nearly insurmountable disease that non-alcoholics can't understand
- The key 12 steps of the program, and why they work
- Why Alcoholics Anonymous isn't a cult and why it works