This article is written by nationally recognized
historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.
Due to the overwhelming and somewhat
lively response to the question of using the so-called "Lord's
Prayer," or "Our Father" at meetings, we would again
like to submit the following article from the Central Bulletin of
This, first in a series of articles on the Lord's Prayer,
was published in February 1944. The Central Bulletin was AA's first
newsletter and within its pages are to be found some of the best writing's
ever relating to recovery from alcoholism.
In Alcoholics Anonymous we often find ourselves caught up in the
debate concerning Spirituality vs Religion or over concerning ourselves
in so-called "New Age" mysticism. We also appear at times
to get lost in the psychobabble one often hears at meetings.
This writer would like to offer this article from a time in AA history
when many in Alcoholics Anonymous kept it simple.
These are crucial words. Of all the words of the most
universal of all prayers, these two words are of greatest importance
In uttering them, we turn to a Power greater than our
own. We turn from complete reliance upon our own egotistical natures,
from exaggerated self love and self exaltation. We confess that our
efforts to run our entire lives in our own willful way have led to
error, frustration, defeat, failure. We admit that the self justification
that resulted from our errors has only deepened our defeat.
Even when we have seen the depth of our failure, the folly of self
justification and the pitfalls of egotism, we have discovered that
our efforts to re-establish ourselves solely through will power have
led to more stumbling. Our wills, as one writer has observed, are
where we are sickest.
So we, out of desperation turn to the sure Power that has always
existed and make that Power the rock upon which we will rebuild our
Many of us had long since lapsed in belief in any Supreme Power.
Most of us had not addressed ourselves to that Power for many years,
except, perhaps, in an occasional desperate moment.
In the realization of the position in which we have found ourselves,
we come to a crossroads. We may continue to rely upon our sick wills
and our erring judgements, which so often speak the words of justification.
Our experience should show us what the result of following along that
path may be.
The Other Path
Most of us find it better to choose the other path.
Certainly all who have succeeded in application of the AA program
have found this other path better. We turn from our selves to anchor
our lives on something outside. Preferably, we anchor our lives to
that something outside that we consider greater than ourselves, and
eventually, we recognize that something as being the Supreme Power.
We bring that Supreme Power into our lives, and by so doing, we lift
ourselves up. We think of that Supreme Power in our own terms, but
we know that the realm of that Power is of realm of the Good, where
the spirit may find peace.
With these words, Our Father, we address ourselves to the Supreme
Power. In the morning when we get up to prepare for the day's work;
in the evening when we retire and think for a few moments about our
actions during the day that has just past, we place ourselves in the
presence of that Supreme Power with the words, Our Father.
When occasion arises during the day, when we are sorely tempted,
when we are angry, when we are resentful, when we pity ourselves,
when we feel frustrated or worried, we can shift gears and connect
ourselves with the Supreme Power by uttering the words, Our Father.
There we will find help.
More will be revealed