Prayers and Promises of the Big Book

The 3rd Step Prayer on Page 63:

“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. May I do Thy will always.”

(My own version of this prayer is:  “I am willing to surrender everything about me for you, my Higher Power, to become active in my life.  I reach as I grow, I do what I know, I let it all go.  Thank-you for one more apple to eat, a bite at a time.”)


The 7th Step Prayer on Page 76:

“My Creator, 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”


The 4th Step prayer dealing with Resentments on Page 67:

“We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God save me from being angry.  Thy will be done.”


The 4th Step prayer dealing with Fear on Page 68:

“The verdict through the ages is that faith means courage.  All men of faith have courage.  They trust their God.  We never apologize for God.  Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do.  We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be.  At once, we commence to outgrow fear.”


The 4th Step prayer dealing with Sexual Ideals on Page 69 (of course):

“In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life.  We subjected each relation to this test – was it selfish or not?  We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.  We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.”


The 4th Step Sexual Amends prayer on Page 69:

“Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it.  We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing.  In other words, we treat sex as we would any other problem.  In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter.  The right answer will come, if we want it.”


The 4th Step general prayer for Sexual Sanity on Page 70:

“To sum up about sex:  We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing.”


The post-5th Step prayer of Gratitude and Assurance on Page 75:

“Returning home we find a place where we can be quiet for an hour, carefully reviewing what we have done.  We thank God from the bottom of our heart that we know Him better.  Taking this book down from our shelf we turn to the page which contains the twelve steps.  Carefully reading the first five proposals we ask if we have omitted anything…”


The 6th Step prayer of Willingness on Page 76:

“We have emphasized willingness on being indispensable.  Are we now ready to let God remove form us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?  Can He now take them all – every one?  If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.”


The 9th Step prayer of Willingness on Page 76:

“We subjected ourselves to a drastic self-appraisal.  Now we go out to our fellows and repair the damage done in the past.  We attempt to sweep away the debris which has accumulated out of our effort to live on self-will and run the show ourselves.  If we haven’t the will to do this, we ask until it comes.”


The 9th Step prayer for Strength and Direction on Page 79: 

“Reminding ourselves that we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience, we ask that we be given strength and direction to do the right thing, no matter what the personal consequences may be.”


The 9th Step prayer of dealing with Jealousy in Intimate Relationships on Page 82:

“Each might pray about it, having the other one’s happiness uppermost in mind.  Keep it always in sight that we are dealing with that most terrible human emotion – jealousy”


The 9th Step prayer for the demonstration of a Spiritual Life with Family members on Page 83:

“Their defects may be glaring, but the chances are that our own actions are partly responsible.  So we clean house with the family, asking each morning in meditation that our Creator show us the way of patience, tolerance, kindliness, and love.”


The 10th Step prayer of Spiritual Maintenance on Page 84…Page 85:

“Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.  When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them.  We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone.  Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help.  Love and tolerance of others is our code…What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.  Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities.  ‘How can I best serve Thee – Thy will (not mine) be done.’  These are thoughts which must go with us constantly.  We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish.  It is the proper use of the will.”


The 11th Step prayer of Daily Review (How has my disease tried to kill me today?) on Page 86:

“When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.  Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?  Do we owe an apology?  Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?  Were we kind and loving toward all?  What could we have done better?  Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time?  Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life?  But we must  be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to  others.  After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.”


The 11th Step prayer of Daily Preparation, Part One; Finding the Higher Plane of Thinking on Page 86:

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead.  We consider our plans for the day.  Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use.  Our thought-life will be place on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.”


The 11th Step prayer of Daily Preparation, Part Two; Seeking Intuitive Inspiration on Page 86-87:

“In thinking about our day we may face indecision.  We may not be able to determine which course to take.  Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision.  We relax and take it easy.  We don’t struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried his for a while.  What used to be a hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.  Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probably that we are going to be inspired at all times.  We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas.  Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration.  WE COME TO RELY ON IT.”  (Sorry, It is just too exciting for me personally not to add emphasis about the last comment)


The 11th Step prayer of Daily Preparation, Part Three; Protection of the Connection on Page 87:

“We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.  We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only.  We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped.  We are careful never  to pray for our own selfish ends.  Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work.  You can easily see why.”

For me, It is necessary to change the term “self-will” to “self-enthronement” and to see “selfish ends” as “self isolating pursuits.”  It is personally funny that it ends with a presumption of clarity that I do not share. 


The Efficiency prayer on the bottom of Page 87:

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.  We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day ‘Thy will be done.’  We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.  We become much more efficient.  We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.  It works – it really does.”


The 12th Step Final Prayer and Promises on Page 164:

“Our book is meant to be suggestive only.  We realize we know only a little.  God will constantly disclose more to you and to us(PROMISE).  Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick (PRAYER).  The answers will come, if your own house is in order (PROMISE).  But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.  See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others (PROMISE).  This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God.  Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows.  Clear away the wreckage of your past.   Give freely of what you find and join us.  We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny (PROMISE).

May God bless you and keep you – until then (PRAYER).”



1.  It is not simply a statement of specific experience that is loosely applied, and thus creating false expectations.  A prime example of this is the misunderstanding about the spiritual experience that had to be elaborated on pages 567 – 568.

2.  The promise is expressed as an if/then or when/then statement.  IF we brought the shovel, THEN our Higher Power moved the mountain. 

3.  There are statements that have been labeled as promises, but I believe qualify as statements of doctrine.  The are proclamations, assertions, that are apart of the solution.  I will isolate these as I go along.  They are of interest.


Step 2 Doctrinal Statement on Page 25:

– “The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe.  The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous.  He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.”


Step 2 Doctrinal Statement on Page 28:

– “A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, “a design for living” that really works.”


Step 2 Promise on Page 46:

“We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results…As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying  the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps.  We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him.”


Step 2 Doctrinal Statements on Page 46:

– “Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God.  Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him.”

– “To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek.  It is open, we believe, to all men.”


Step 2 Promise on Page 47:

“As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way.  It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”


Step 2 Doctrinal Statement on Page 55:

– “We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend.  Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there.  He was as much a fact as we were.  We found the Great Reality deep down within us.  In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found.  It was so with us.”


 Step 2 Promise on Page 57:

“Even so has God restored us all to our right minds.  To this man, the revelation was sudden.  Some of us grow into it more slowly.  But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him. 

When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!”


3rd Step Promises on Page 63:

“When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.  We had a new Employer.  Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.  Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.  As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.  We were reborn.”


4th Step Doctrinal Statement on Page 70:

“We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people.”


5th Step Promises on Page 75:

“We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past.  Once we have taken this step, withholding nothing, we are delighted.  We can look the world in the eye.  We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fears fall from us.  We begin to feel the nearness of our Creator.  We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.  The feeling that the drink problem has disappeared will often come strongly.  We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.”

8th & 9th Step Promises on Page 78:

“His faults are not discussed.  We stick to our own.  If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result…Rarely do we fail to make satisfactory progress.”


The 9th Step Promises on Pages 83-84:

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.  We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.  Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.   Are these extravagant promises?  We think not.  They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will always materialize if we work for them.”


 PERSONAL INTERJECTION ON STEP 10:  Per my understanding, which could be flawed, This step is maintenance of what was gained in steps 4 through 9.  The inventory, awareness and release of shortcomings, and making amends become a lifelong habit.


10th Step Doctrinal Statement on Page 84:

“Love and tolerance of others is our code.”

10th Step Promises on Pages 84 – 85:

“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol.  For by this time sanity will have returned.  We will seldom be interested in liquor.  If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.  We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically.  We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part.  It just comes!  That is the miracle of it.  We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation.  We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected.  We have not even sworn off.  Instead, the problem has been removed.  It does not exist for us.  We are neither cocky nor are we afraid.  That is our experience.  That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.”

 10th Step Promise on Page 100:

“Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things alcoholics are not supposed to do.”


PERSONAL INTERJECTION ON STEP 11:  Per my understanding, which could be flawed, this step is designed to maintain the spiritual journey which began with steps 2 and 3.

11th Step Promise on Page 86:

“Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives”

11th Step Doctrinal Statement on Page 87:

“What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind…we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration.  We come to rely upon it”

 11th Step Promise on Page 100:

“Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!”


PERSONAL INTERJECTION ON STEP 12:  Per my understanding, which could be flawed, this step is designed to connect you with step 1, to keep your life by giving it away.  This is not just a really good idea, it is life and death.  If you do not find a way to give, you will again become powerless, and unable to manage your life.  You need those who struggle in through the first step as much as they need you.  Possibly more, considering the subtlety of this disease.

12th Step Doctrinal Statement on Page 89:

“Carry this message to other alcoholics!  You can help when no one else can.  You can secure their confidence when others fail.”

12th Step Promise on Page 89:

“Life will take on new meaning.  To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss.  We know you will not want to miss it.  Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”

12 Step Promise on Page 102:

“Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful.  You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand.  Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed.”

2 Responses to “Prayers and Promises of the Big Book”

  1. This is great to see all the prayers in one place like this. Thanks!

  2. endigar Says:

    You are most welcome.

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