Monday, April 15, 2013

Help, Thanks, Wow : The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the best-selling author of Some Assembly Required, Grace (Eventually), Plan B and Traveling Mercies.
Anne Lamott

Lamotte, Ann. Help, Thanks, Wow : The Three Essential Prayers. New York: Riverhead Books a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 11/13/12.
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-59463-129-0, 102 pages.  $17.95.
Digital ASIN: B008EKMBDM, (from ISBN: 1594631298, 113 pages) 386 KB. $14.95
Audiobook. $11.95
Genre: Christian Living
Tags: Spirituality, Prayer
      Lamott encourages her readers to “not get bogged down on whom or what we pray to.” Rather one should identify prayer as communication from our hearts to “something unimaginably huge and not us.” Her slightly irreverent humor allows one to experience the distillation of anything one says “to the amazing energy of love we are sometimes bold enough to believe in” regardless of the name we attach.

            In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott has identified the content and context of prayer that asks for assistance, that appreciates the good we witness, and that expresses one’s awe at the world. These are the words that get us through the day, and show us the way forward. Through anecdotes and stories she puts skin on those times one can be in motion, and stillness, and energy – all at the same time. All three prayers are the beginnings of a conversation with God about anything – barely, honestly, bitterly, insanely or brokenly – “probably the best possible conditions under which to pray.”

            Whether a beginner or veteran user of the spiritual discipline of prayer, Lamott, once again leads us to breathe, to slow down, to pay attention so no opportunity to love and help God’s children, including learning “to love our depressing, hilarious, mostly decent selves.” 

To Order
            The simplicity of theses three prayers opens the complexity of our lives, our relationships, and our world into our messiest places and our greatest needs. Like flossing one’s teeth prayer must be repeated until it becomes habit, not because we can get our way, or can change God, but so God can change us, so we can “pray constantly between bouts of trying to live life on life’s terms.”
            Although most of the formative pieces of Lamott’s personality, sense of humor, descent into and ascent from addiction, deep spirituality, and intentional writing are mostly caught in the reader’s peripheral vision. This is one book I want to take up space on a shelf, because she speaks to my meaning through her meaning formed by words seemingly strung along, but intentionally placed.

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