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Over the last several years I've gone through some very difficult times in my life. But about two years ago I "found" Anne Lamott and her writings through my wife, who has been a fan for forever. I have to say, reading Anne is like therapy for me. Her writing is so honest and thought-provoking. And that Anne Lamott sense of humor is priceless! There's no doubt that Anne Lamott and her books have helped me turn a corner in my life. "Help, Thanks, Wow" is no exception. It's prayer and spirituality simplified, and it works for anyone; even those who aren't truly religious. You don't have to pray to *God*. You can pray to "the force that is beyond our comprehension."

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.
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*****
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.

Highly recommended.
*****
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on April 21, 2013
This little book was recommended by a long time, good friend whom I respect highly. He and I have similar views on organized religion, especially the Christian religion and all its many denominations. Rarely does the Christian church speak clearly and timely. In this day and age people are looking for spirituality, a deep spirituality, which involves a genuine way to talk/pray to the Higher Power we call God. Most prayers I've heard prayed individually or corporately in a public setting always seems to be a mini sermon lifted up to God but intended for those gathered. People, especially unchurched, young people as well as many of the young people who are churched and seeking want to know how to pray. God demands no loftly nor flowery language, especially with the 'thees' and 'thous'. Anne Lamott gives us the essentals of prayer in her book which comes out of her life experience. It involves 3 things, saying help, saying thanks, and then saying wow! This book is refreshing and an open door for those seeking to deepen their spiritual life, even for someone like me who can't a place to light on on the spectrum of belief.
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on July 10, 2017
Anne's book is on our Summer Series reading list at church. So at the last minute, I ordered the Kindle version and began reading Saturday night. The sermon was Sunday morning. For me this book is life changing. Today was my first day utilizing a template inspired from Anne for prayer. I typed my prayer into three categories: Help, Thanks, Wow. Talk about great prayer focus. I can print my prayers and assemble my prayer journal.
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.
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on November 26, 2013
After seeing Anne Lamott on TV, I was impressed with her and checked out this book on Amazon. The reviews were good, so I ordered it. I was a bit disappointed on receiving it, as I didn't like the shape of the book (too small) and I didn't like the type style (too hard to read). Then, I struggled to get into the book. I like to highlight insights in inspirational books, and I simply didn't find anything to highlight in this one. I think Anne Lamott is a lovely person and I understand how a lot of people liked this book. However, it just didn't bring any new insights to the table for me and it wasn't written in a way that I found compelling. The good news is, it wasn't too hard to finish, since it is short. I passed it on to someone I hope will enjoy it.
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on June 23, 2014
I always enjoy reading something by Anne Lamott, and this short book is no exception. A close friend praised "Help, Thanks, Wow," so I wanted to read it (the fifth book of hers I've read). It's wonderful for anyone interested in reading about self-examination, spirituality that is accessible, and finding ways to appreciate what we experience in daily life. As the title suggests, it's about surrendering control, being grateful for just about anything, and discovering what is all around us, if we take the time to see it. Ms. Lamott states it all clearly, without cliches or saccharine. She uses simple language and infuses it with humor, common sense, and honesty, especially when she talks about her own foibles and struggles. It's possible someone might think what she writes about or suggests is rather obvious, but it doesn't seem that way. Thanks to her gift, whatever she is writing about becomes profound and understandable. There were many "Aha!" moments for me in this book, and I'm grateful she helped me get them. I also recommend her book "Stitches."
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on May 8, 2017
This slender volume invites reading, meditating, and re-reading. Like all of her writing, it is heartfelt and affecting. Dear Annie: Thanks for your help in learning to pray deeply and often, and Wow! to all you give to us, your readers.
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on March 9, 2014
Anne Lamott is a unique-styled writer who focuses more on expression than precision and in doing so, you can feel her heart poured out on the page and still hear its pounding. In the reading, there is laughter both from joy and from her refreshing frankness and freshness, as well as beautiful recognition of life and ourselves in her experiences, insights and metaphors. Her writing expresses the passion and pain in life, with the ever-present belief in the great balm of Love and connection to the mysterious, loving creator in all of us. She weaves funny, blatant or pained speech (that you can feel are all truthful from her experience) with absolutely piercing-poetic writing, and the combination touches your heart and is a tonic for the soul.

She focuses and expands on three prayers we reach out to God with of Help, Thanks and Wow. The final chapter is on Amen. This book helped me see the importance of little prayers, big prayers, frustrated prayers, angry prayers, thankful prayers, awe-inspired heart-bursts, wordless prayers expressed in tears, wonderment in your gut from glories seen with your eyes or in your heart. All prayers. Prayers are the expression and connection to our Creator and each one is an action of faith that we are at least heard. Others carry an awareness that we see and are seen, know and are known, loved and loving, connected, in relationship with God. There is beauty and power in all of our prayers.

This book would be one to give or suggest to atheist or agnostic friends or to keep handy in times of crisis for ourselves because it’s entirely without the pretense of knowing all of the answers. It looks squarely at the mess and confusion of life and of ourselves, the unanswered why’s that will always be there, and instead of trying to explain away in any combination of pat answers that leave one in the end reaching but unsatisfied, she reminds that there is always, always still exquisite beauty, awe, revelations and regenerations in life, in Love. I’ve often thought that one of the problems with religion is actually the attempt to have all the answers, each and every one, which of course fails miserably and is full of contradictions, instead of being content in the Mystery. This book, her writing revels in the Mystery and in the Glory of Love. The prayers that we send to our Creator are a beautiful connection to Love, to Life-Source, to the One, where all answers reside. We have and receive answers and miracles that we need, being part and connected to the One, though the answers may often appear differently than we expect. And even in confusion and feeling like some answers are incomplete, in prayer there is connection to what is whole and complete—God, and a reminder that somehow, we and life are whole and complete too. In the sometimes heartbreaking tragedies and complexity of life and relationships, in the violence and pain in the world, in our own stumbles and foibles, in the often repeated mistakes and awkwardness, there is grace, growth, magnificence-there is God-for us, in us. And the Love-connection in prayer is always there. Amen.
Sometimes after I read a book and there’s been a little more time to digest, the lessons I need come right to the surface and make themselves clear and known. So, I’d like to share and expand a bit more on the review. Anne Lamott says in the book, “God can handle honesty.” I’d add God can not only handle honesty, but absolutely loves it! In honesty, we are connected to Love and in Love, we can receive truth. Because sometimes what we think or feel isn’t the truth at all, but the truth is that we are thinking or feeling that thought or emotion. Share it with Love and Love will show us the way, love us in the sharing, wherever we’re at. Prayer with God is a place where we have the privilege of “getting real-really real”.

After reading this book, I noticed that sometimes I was preparing to pray or delaying connection with Love because I felt unworthy in my energy…As if God was a friend I wanted to call, but because of a funky mood or too heavy of stuff going on, I delayed the call, not wanting to bring them down. Now I see that God is the open line in our lives, back and forth communication, for every circumstance, every mood. We can’t be too mad, too distracted, discouraged, frustrated, disbelieving, too out of touch to pray. God wants to hear from us especially then! This is the time to jump back into Love, back into dialogue, back into the Loving energy and then stay swimming in its precious freedom and connection.

Love is the only place that there is true freedom–all of the Love is in Love, in us, in the whole. And all truth and answers and goodness and infinite combinations of Love reside within Love, so there’s no place to prepare for Love. Love is where it’s all at. Just dive right back in. If you’ve been out of the loving energy for two days, you don’t need two days to get back in! Slipping out of Love and all the positivity and truths and beautiful things within it can be a slow unconscious process. But–the holy instant there’s a recognition that you are out of it-jump right back in! Don’t let the negative, untrue energy you are mixed up in tell you there’s anything from preventing you from returning wholly, fully and instantly back into your true self and connection to God in Love. The ego can try to make us feel guilty for being out of Love and use it to say, “Well, you’ve been bad, you can’t jump into Love just now. You did it again, so Love won’t take you back so fast and besides you don’t deserve it because you failed the spirituality test again. You don’t love God enough. You’re not good. God is pissed at you–you don’t deserve all the joy in Love because you didn’t value it or you would’ve stayed in it.” Or the ego might even say, “You need to stay in this energy a bit more in order to do what you need to do.” All these lies just prevent people from jumping back in right away to the Love that refreshes and loves us and always lends a hand. We don’t need to do anything but start talking to Love! We don’t need to patch up our energy before praying because the only healing, lifting and transforming energy is within the whole of Love! We don’t have to be perfect or believe perfectly or try to know all the answers before connecting because Love is where all the Love and the answers we need reside! Love is everything. We won’t know all the answers in this lifetime to all the questions, but we can know what we need to know, we can experience the whole that we are a part of and one with and thus experience and know ourselves to be whole and loved and free. Love is where all of the healing and remedies are for each of us. It’s our freedom.

Prayer is a constant dialogue as we swim within Love. We don’t even need to use the word prayer as the word itself represents connection, and within that connection, so many unnameable and beautiful things. God can handle and wants our true expressions, and in Love, we find truth. We are whole, we are ourselves, we are free.
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on February 25, 2013
The whole idea that prayers can be categorized by the title, "Help. Thanks. Wow." was what snagged my attention. I bought this book for all of the women in my family for Christmas. My sister, who is agnostic, really got a lot out of it. My sister in law and I, both fairly spiritual Christians, were not as enticed.

I would recommend this book for someone who is doubting faith in anything. Who is looking for something bigger than themselves.
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on June 29, 2016
In a lot of reviews, people give some passages from the book that captures its essence. There are way TOO many good passages and good sentences in here to do that.

I used to think I had to buy every book I wanted to read. That was an expensive notion, and moving 100 boxes of books was always a task. And then I discovered THE LIBRARY! Now, I only buy books I really like, and plan to reread. I'm buying this one, and wondering how many more copies I'm going to buy because I keep giving this away. If you have friends or relatives or dear ones who give you books, you'll be blest to get this one. Otherwise. BUY it. (Or at least READ it. Not all at once. Savor it.)
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