The 12 Step Prayers were created using the text of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The text used to develop the prayers are shown at the end of the prayer in parenthesis.
It is encouraging to see the Biblical foundation for each step and for many of the prayers.
Perhaps the 12 step prayers will provide a framework for you to develop your own conversations with God or allow you to expand on the wording in your time alone with Him.
Even if you have not wrestled with addiction, we found these prayers to be helpful in pursuing a relationship with God. This page was read together in one of our lifeskills classes for residents in the homeless rehabilitation program.
(The numbers in parentheses at the end of each prayer indicate the page and paragraph where the wording was used from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to create the prayer.)
As a means of reference and ease, The 12 Steps are also listed among the prayers, as they are recorded in the Life Recovery Bible and offering supplemental verses from Scripture.
The Set Aside Prayer:
“Dear God please help me to set aside everything I think I know about [people. place or thing] so I may have an open mind and a new experience. Please help me to see the truth about [people. place or thing]. AMEN.” (This prayer comes from the Chapter to the Agnostic, primarily pages 47 and 48).
Step 1) We admitted we were powerless over our dependencies – that our lives had become unmanageable.
Romans 7:18 “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t.”
First Step Prayer
Dear Lord, Help me to see and admit that I am powerless over my alcoholism. Help me to understand how my alcoholism has led to unmanageability in my life. Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness. Remove from me all denial of my alcoholism. (This prayer is developed from the chapter, More About Alcoholism)
Step 2) We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”
Second Step Prayer
Heavenly Father, I am having trouble with personal relationships. I can’t control my emotional nature. I am prey to misery and depression. I can’t make a living. I feel useless. I am full of fear. I am unhappy. I can’t seem to be of real help to others. I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity if I am just willing to stop doubting your power. I humbly ask that you help me to understand that it is more powerful to believe than not to believe and that you are either everything or nothing. (p. 52:2, 52:3, 53:1, 53:2)
Step 3) We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
Luke 9:23 “Then he said to the crowd, if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
Third Step Prayer:
“God, I offer myself to thee – to build with me and 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!” (63:2 original manuscript) (see also the webpage with other Third Step Prayers)
Step 4) We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Lamentations 3:40 “Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.”
A Pre-Inventory prayer:
“God, please help me to honestly take stock. Help me to search out the flaws in my make-up which caused my failure. Help me to see where resentment has plagued me and resulted in spiritual malady, but more importantly help me to understand my part in these resentments. Help me to resolutely look for my own mistakes and to understand where I had been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened. Please help me to be searching and fearless in my endeavor to write my inventory.” (p. 64:2, 64:3, 67:2)
A Fourth Step Resentment Prayer:
“God, Please help me to be free of anger and to see that the world and its people have dominated me. Show me that the wrong-doing of others, fancied or real, has the power to actually kill me. Help me to master my resentments by understanding that the people who wrong me were perhaps spiritually sick. Please help me show those I resent the same Tolerance, Pity and Patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend.** Help me to see that this is a sick man. Father, please show me how I can be helpful to him and save me from being angry. Lord, help me to avoid retaliation or argument. I know I can’t be helpful to all people, but at least show me how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one. Thy will be done.”(66:2, 66:3, 66:4, 67:0, 67:1)
**Dear God, I have a resentment towards a person that I want to be free of. So, I am asking you to give this person everything I want for myself. Help me to feel compassionate understanding and love for this person. I pray that they will receive everything they need. Thank you God for your help and strength with this resentment. (BB, Freedom from Bondage: 552)
These instructions are for the above prayer (Big Book, Freedom from Bondage, p. 552):
‘If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free…Even when you don’t really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don’t mean it, go ahead and do it anyway. Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.’ You can, also, include the Freedom from Bondage Prayer in the 4th Step Resentment Prayer.
An Example of Fear Prayer:
“God, thank you for helping me be honest enough to see this truth about myself and now that you have shown me the truth about my fears, please remove these fears from me. Lord, please help me outgrow my fears and direct my attention to what you would have me be. Father, demonstrate through me and help me become that which you would have me be. Help me do thy will always, Amen.”(68:3)
An Example of Pre-Sex Inventory Prayer:
“God, please help me to be free of fear as I attempt to shine the spotlight of truth across my past sex relations. Lord, please show me where my behavior has harmed others and help me to see the truth these relationships hold for me. Help me see where I have been at fault and what I should have done differently.” (From the thoughts on pg. 69)
“God, help me review my own conduct over the years past. Show me where I have been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate. Show me whom I have hurt and where I have unjustifiably aroused jealousy, suspicion or bitterness. Help me to see where I was at fault and what I should have done instead. Help me to be fearless and searching in my endeavor to write my sexual inventory.” (69:1)
A Sex Prayer:
“Father, please help me mold my sex ideals and help me to live up to them. Help me be willing to grow toward my ideals and help me be willing to make amends where I have done harm. Lord, please show me what to do in each specific matter, and be the final judge in each situation. Help me avoid hysterical thinking or advice.” (69:2, 69:3)
“Father, please Grace me with guidance in each questionable situation, sanity, and strength to do the right thing. If sex becomes very troublesome, quiet my imperious urge, help me not to yield and keep me from heartache as I throw myself the harder into helping others. Help me think of their needs and help me work for them. Amen.”(69:2, 69:3, 70:2)
Step 5) We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
A Pre-Fifth Step Prayer:
God, please help me to complete my housecleaning by admitting to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. Please remove any fears I have about this step and show me how completion of it will remove my egotism and fear. Help me to see how this step builds my character through humility, fearlessness and honesty. Direct me to the right person who will keep my confidence and fully understand and approve what I am driving at. Then help me to pocket my pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past so I may complete this step and begin to feel near to you.” (72:1, 72:2, 73:0, 74:2, 75:2)
Fifth Step Prayer
Higher Power, Thank you for helping me complete my housecleaning. I can now look the world in the eye. I can be alone at perfect peace and ease. My fears have fallen from me. I have begun to feel your nearness. I have begun to have a spiritual experience. I feel I am on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe. (75:2)
A Quiet Hour Prayer:
“God, Thank You for giving me the strength, faith and courage I needed to get through my 5th Step. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to know you better, by showing me what has been blocking me from you. Father, please show me if I have omitted anything and help me to honestly see if my stones are properly in place or if I have skimped in any area of this work.”(75:3)
Step 6) We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.”
A Sixth Step prayer:
“God, Thank you for removing my fear and for showing me the truth about myself. Father, I need your help to become willing to let go of the things in me which continue to block me off from you. Please grant me your Grace Lord and make me willing to have these objectionable characteristics, defects and shortcomings removed.” (76:1)
Sixth Step Prayer
Dear God, I am ready for Your help in removing from me the defects of character which I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself & guide me toward spiritual & mental health. (76:1)
Step 7) We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Seventh Step Prayer
“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do Your bidding.” (76:2)
Step 8) We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”
A Pre-Eighth Step Prayer:
“God, Please remove my Fears and show me your truth. Show me all the harms I have caused with my behavior and help me be willing to make amends to one and all. Help me to be willing to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol.”(76:3)
Step 9) We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Matthew 5: 23-24 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
A Ninth Step Prayer :
“God, with regard to this amend, give me the strength, courage and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be. Help me not to shrink from anything. Help me not to delay if it can be avoided. Help me to be sensible, tactful, considerate and humble without being servile or scraping.”(79:1, 83:3)
A Ninth Step Prayer for the Spouse:
“God, please show me how to make amends to my Spouse. Father , Help me to keep my Spouse’s happiness Uppermost in my mind as I try, with your Grace, to make this relationship right. Amen” (82:1)
A Ninth Step Prayer for the Family:
“God, please show me how to find the way of Patience, Tolerance, Kindness and Love in my heart, my Mind and my Soul. Lord, show me how to demonstrate these principles to my family and all those about me. Amen.” (83:1)
Step 10) We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Romans 12:3 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
Tenth Step Prayer for Growth & Effectiveness:
“God, please help me Watch for Selfishness, Dishonesty, Resentment and Fear. When these crop up in me, help me to immediately ask you to remove them from me and help me discuss these feelings with someone. Father, help me to quickly make amends if I have harmed anyone and help me to resolutely turn my thoughts to someone I can Help. Help me to be Loving and Tolerant of everyone today. Amen”(84:2)
Tenth Step Prayer
My Higher Power, My daily prayer is to best serve you,
I pray I may continue to grow in understanding & effectiveness;
Help me to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear;
Help me to be willing to have You remove them at once;
I must be willing to discuss them with someone immediately;
I will make amends quickly if I have harmed anyone;
And then I will turn my thoughts toward helping someone else;
Please help me to remember to practice love and tolerance of others. (84:2)
Tenth Step Amends Prayer
“God, please forgive me for my failings today. I know that because of my failings, I was not able to be as effective as I could have been for you. Please forgive me and help me live thy will better today. I ask you now to show me how to correct the errors I have just outlined. Guide me and direct me. Please remove my arrogance and my fear. Show me how to make my relationships right and grant me the humility and strength to do thy will.”(86:1)
Step 11) We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Eleventh Step Prayer On Awakening:
“God please direct my thinking and keep my thoughts divorced from self – pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Please keep my thought life clear from wrong motives and help me employ my mental faculties, that my thought-life might be placed on a higher plane, the plane of inspiration.” (86:2)
Eleventh Step Morning Prayer:
“God, should I find myself agitated, doubtful or indecisive today, please give me inspiration, help me to have an intuitive thought or a decision about this problem I face. Help me not to struggle, instead, help me to relax and take it easy. Help me know what I should do and keep me mindful, that you are running the show. Free me from my bondage of self. Thy will be done always.” (86:3)
Another Eleventh Step Morning Prayer:
“God, please show me all through this day, what my next step is to be and please grace me with whatever I need to take care of the problems in my life today. I ask especially that you free me from the bondage of self-will.”(87:1)
An Eleventh Step Nightly Review Prayer:
“God, help me to constructively review my day. Where was I resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do I owe an apology? Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once? Was I kind and loving toward all? What could I have done better? Was I thinking of myself most of the time? Or was I thinking of what I could do for others, of what I could pack into the stream of life? Please forgive me for my harms and wrongs today and let me know corrective measures I should be take.” (86:2)
Step 12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Galatians 6:1 “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”
Twelfth Step Prayer
Dear God, Having had a spiritual experience, I must now remember that “faith without works is dead.” And PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. So, God, please help me to carry this message to other alcoholics! Provide me with the guidance and wisdom to talk with another alcoholic because I can help when no one else can. Help me secure his confidence and remember he is ill. (89:1)