The “Page 552 Prayer to End Resentments”

On Page 552 of the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous (their basic text), there is a very helpful suggestion on how to rid yourself of resentments towards a person.

You pray for them every day for two weeks.

According to the writer of that Big Book chapter, they had held a deep resentment towards someone. They were seeking a way rid themselves of it when they chanced upon a magazine article. In this article a preacher wrote that if one holds a resentment towards someone or something (like a place, maybe), you pray for them every day for two weeks. You pray for their health, happiness and prosperity.

It doesn’t matter if you mean it or not, if it is “just words;” you do it anyway. You will find that by the end of the two weeks, you will come to mean it. This transformation will end the resentment towards that person.

A resentment, as we have learned, means to “re-feel” something; a negative sentiment is maintained, relived and nurtured over time. There’s a pretty good chance that if you are praying daily for their health, happiness and prosperity, this old, negative “sentiment” will erode and disappear.

I tried it and so far it is working. Being the person I am, I may have to do it again concerning this acutely annoying person. But I can attest to the fact that by the end of the two weeks, I genuinely desired “health, happiness and prosperity” for this person.

The writer didn’t give the words to the prayer, just describing the instructions. My prayer went as follows:

“Dear God in Heaven, if it be your holy will, look with favor upon the health, happiness and prosperity of …N…. . I ask You this in the Name of Jesus, the Lord.” (“N” being the name of the person you are praying for.)

That’s all. Simple and to the point. No complicated formula, nothing but a simple request. Although the target is the person you are praying for, in actuality you are praying for the removal of a resentment. Why not just pray for that? “Dear God in Heaven, if it be your holy will, please remove my resentment towards …N… . I ask You this in the Name of Jesus, the Lord.” You could do that. But I think the “Page 552 Prayer” is harder for us as we are doing something difficult. Someone hurt us and now we want good things for them? Sure, God can remove our resentment if we specifically ask for that; but recall the words at the end of the “Lord’s Prayer,”

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses against us.”

In praying for the person that hurt us, we are forgiving them. And thus we are forgiven for anything we might have done to them. The emotional tie is broken, the resentment ceases.

Unless we stoke the fires of it again, so vigilance is needed. Let it rest. Easy, if the person is out of our lives and exists in the past. It is certainly harder if they are not, are still annoying and “things happen” to make the resentment flare up again. If that is the case, just pray harder when you are aware of situations arising that involve them; otherwise avoid them, if possible.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"