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Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 13, 2012
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Inspiriting, trenchant, and funny, best-selling Lamott takes an imaginative do-it-yourself approach to spirituality in her disarming and stirring essays. Unabashedly emotional yet practical and sharply attuned to the absurdities and tragedies of life, she focuses on prayer in this mighty little volume, defining it as “communication from the heart to that which surpasses understanding.” If you are uncomfortable addressing God, Lamott suggests praying to “the Good.” The point is to make contact with “the Real, with Truth, with the Light.” To take a moment to focus and breathe. She cites three basic themes. Asking for help, she writes, “is the first great prayer.” Giving thanks is essential, and not only when things are going well. One also benefits from summoning gratitude for hard truths and tough challenges. “Wow” is the joyful expression of wonder in response to astonishing moments great and small. With a stand-up comic’s snap and pop, candid and righteous Lamott tells hilarious and wrenching tales about various predicaments that have sparked her prayers and inspired her to encourage others to pray anytime, anywhere, and any way. --Donna Seaman
“[A] prayer manual for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading prayer manuals... anybody who gets it as a holiday gift will likely just say, 'Thanks. Wow.'” —Publishers Weekly
“A refreshingly simple approach to spiritual practice in a pint-sized reflection on prayer... Lamott manages to deftly convey the idea that in trying to control things, we've largely lost our ability to see the good and the miraculous in everyday life... there's more here than meets the eye.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Charmingly irreverent.” —MORE Magazine
“Filled with Lamott's unique brand of humor, wisdom and profound spiritual insight... She has a gift for putting into words what it means to accept and ultimately embrace the beauty, mystery, and pain that is life.” —San Antonio Express-News
“Practical and poetic advice on prayer.” —The Oregonian
“An imaginative do-it-yourself approach to spirituality...With a stand-up comic's snap and pop, candid and righteous Lamott tells hilarious and wrenching tales about various predicaments that have sparked her prayers and inspired her to encourage others to pray anytime, anywhere, and any way.” —Booklist
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I also love the fact that Anne stresses the importance of gratitude. In fact, this may be my favorite passage from the book:
"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means that you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back."
Thank you, Anne Lamott. My life is better because of you.
What a brilliant book! When I first received "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers" I too was so disappointed that it was such a small book--tiny, short, maybe an hour's read. Ah, but what an hour! Precious. And to be completely truthful, this book actually took me several hours to read, because I had to put it down, think, cry, laugh, and even--yes--pray. This book is worth your time and attention. I am so glad that I have it in hardback because I will keep it forever and reread it regularly; I am finished reading it and I just want to read it all over again.
It is a book about getting through life. It is rich, raw, funny (hilarious, like all Annie Lamott) and written in language so stunning I would have to stop and just read and reread sentences. I feel as though my life has been broken open with a whole new attitude towards prayer, and even more, towards being alive. This is not a religious book at all, but a book for anyone who is spiritually-oriented and maybe especially for those who aren't, because the author writes about prayer in a way that every single person can relate to. This is a book about being real and true and simple and clear and about living a worthwhile life.
Don't miss this book.
Lamott's latest book "Help, Thanks, Wow", is a good book. It has the short chapters and the rambling conversation that I expect from her books. The topic is one that grabbed me at first. I thought, here is a book that is going to simplify prayer and perhaps I will find comfort in it. Perhaps my expectations were too high as I felt that my questions were never answered. I had hoped for a footprint to follow, something more definitive.
I still feel that it is a good book and worth taking a look at. However, if you're not familiar with Anne Lamott then this may not be the best of her books to start with.
Sorrowfully, in the end I was left unfulfilled and a little bored.
Some of us are better composing prayer at the keyboard and quite frankly, I believe God doesn't care what method you use to communicate with Him as long as we are in regular communication with Him, that is His hope.
What "Help Thanks Wow" *really* is a prose-poem on the three essential elements of well-being- vulnerability, gratitude, and wonder. While I wouldn't recommend this book to my uber-dogmatic friends (example: Lamott often addresses God as "She"), I do strongly think there is something in these pages for everyone. It's a beautifully written book in a very flowing way. You're not going to find clear and concise examples or information- instead, Lamott just takes each topic, or "prayer", and spins a section of the book with beautiful language, ideas, recollections, examples. It's sort of a flow of words rather than a concrete "how to".
I thought the book was lovely, and it sparked a great deal of inspiration in me. I'm not religious, and still finding my way spiritually, and I found Lamott's approach to prayer fresh and meaningful.
I had originally borrowed the book from the library when funds were a little tight, but kniew almost immediately that I would have to purchase it to add to my library.
Immensly readable, this is a book that I will go back to again and again.