The Lord's Prayer in A.A. Meetings

In my AA home group, we start meetings by reading from the Big Book: “AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution.” Then we end with the Lord’s Prayer.

There’s something wrong here. The Lord’s Prayer is from the New Testament of the Christian Bible (Matthew 6:9-13). As a Christian Internet source states. “Through this prayer, Jesus invited us to approach God as Father. Indeed, the Lord’s Prayer has been called a summary of the Christian gospel.”

Like many other members of AA, I am not a Christian. My spirituality does not embrace a God of either gender. The Big Book chapter “We Agnostics” states: “When therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God” and “To us the Realm of Sprit is broad, roomy, all inclusive.”

The Lord’s Prayer is a long-running hot topic that crops up regularly at AA meetings around the world. To many alcoholics, the Lord’s Prayer is a mandatory part of the AA meeting ritual. They don’t stop to consider that insulting people like me with a prayer we don’t believe in—making us feel apart from instead of part of—goes against the grain of the fellowship’s philosophy.

A study of AA groups around the world asked AA members what prayers they use at their meetings. Responses came from sober Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists, Native Americans, atheists, and pagans from North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Most groups in non-Christian counties use the Serenity Prayer to close their meetings.

Why don’t we?



2 replies
  1. connie cunningham
    connie cunningham says:

    Ha! I had this EXACT issue with AA and no one would address it in the group. They were also very affirming towards anyone speaking of their Christian faith, in a very psychic way. Waves of affirmation would go to that person saying things like they prostrated themselves in the homes on their floors.. to God or any other Christian-type concept.

    It got to the point that I went to a gay AA, even though I am straight, as I felt they would be less apt to display so much Christian belief.

    Sigh…. that didn’t work either.

    So, “Take what you need and leave the rest” has a larger meaning for those of us who don’t follow Christian life styles.


    • beaconadmin
      beaconadmin says:

      I don’t know where you live, but your area sounds like mine: the Bible belt. Fortunately, several friends in my home group are agnostics like me. We object to the Lord’s Prayer being said at the end of each meeting. I’ve succeeded in getting our closing format to read, “We will now close with the Lord’s Prayer or prayer of your choice,” and about half the time people choose the Serenity Prayer. However, my friend and I are thinking about bringing in totally non-Christian prayers the next time we’re called on. He’s looking for something from the Koran. (I hope he doesn’t get nuked.) I’m memorizing a Cherokee prayer. We’ll see what happens.


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