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Examining the Third Step Prayer


The 12 Steps is a program originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for faith-based alcohol addiction treatment. It is meant to help recovering alcoholics progress through the different phases of recovery. .

It is believed that only after completing all 12 steps of the program can these people achieve lasting sobriety. The focus of the 12 Steps program includes principles like submitting to a higher power and making amends with those who may have been wronged by the addict. Like addiction Bible studies, church groups, and daily devotionals, the 12 Steps have been an effective means of facilitating addiction recovery for many. 

What Is the Third Step Prayer?

The third step of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “(We) made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”1 At this point in the 12 Steps program, the person in recovery is submitting themselves to God’s power and allowing Him to direct their life. This step in the program is also accompanied by The Third Step Prayer written below.    

“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.”

The Third Step Prayer Explanation

The third step of the 12 Steps program is important because it involves action. While in Step Two, participants are asked to recognize that a power greater than themselves could help them in recovery, in Step Three, they are making the conscious decision to let this greater power guide them.

“God, I offer myself to Thee”

The AA Third Step Prayer is the embodiment of this decision as the prayer’s opening line is the person openly offering their life over to God for guidance.

“To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt”

The second line is the person acknowledging that they are no longer in control of their own life. At this point, they have let God take the reins.

“Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.”

At this point, the person in prayer is admitting to a selfish past where their bondage to their own selfish desires has blinded them to a way to live a life that can also help others. Instead of continuing down this path, the person is relinquishing this control to God so they can do better.

"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.”

Here, the person in prayer once again asks God to take control but also vows to help others in recovery reach this same kind of realization and way of life. Keeping others in mind, the struggles to lasting recovery can be used to help others in similar situations find lasting sobriety as well.

The Third Step Prayer is recited at the start of the Third Step, but many people choose to repeat it throughout their recovery to remind themselves of its lessons.

At Faith in Recovery, the 12 Steps are just one of many faith-based addiction therapies that we utilize during treatment to help our patients on their spiritual journey to lasting recovery. If you or someone you care about is looking to take the first step to sobriety with God’s guidance, we want to help.


To get more information about enrolling in our program, call us today at 888-280-4763.d.

Sources:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous - The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous