Bill Wilson Recites The Lord’s Prayer : Oxford Groups Influence on AA

Bill discusses the origination of the use of the Lord’s Prayer in AA meetings in a letter to an AA Friend

“Now about the business of adding the Lord’s Prayer to each A.A. meeting.”

“This practice probably came from the Oxford Groups who were influential in the early days of A.A. You have probably noted in AA. Comes of Age what the connection of these people in A.A. really was. I think saying the Lord’s Prayer was a custom of theirs following the close of each meeting. Therefore, it quite easily got shifted into a general custom among us.”

“Of course, there will always be those who seem to be offended by the introduction of any prayer whatever into an ordinary A.A. gathering. Also, it is sometimes complained that the Lord’s Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless, this Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the arguments of its Christian origin seems to be a little farfetched. It is also true that most A.A.s believe in some kind of God, and that communication and strength is obtainable through His grace. Since this is the general-consensus it seems only right that at least the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer be used in connection with our meetings. It does not seem necessary to defer to the feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the extent of completely hiding our light under a bushel.”

“However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord’s Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress.”

-Bill W. April 1959

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