Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: Help Thanks Wow The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Help Thanks Wow
The Three Essential Prayers

Author: Anne Lamott
Publisher: The Penguin Group
Date of Publication:  November 13, 2012
Pages: 112 (Hardcover Edition)

     Anne Lamott has crafted another gem in her own quirky, humorous and genuine style.  Anyone who has read her previous essays on faith and religion (Traveling Mercies, Plan B and Grace) will recognize this sincere effort to share her personal journey and struggles with faith and notions of God, salvation and the hereafter.  She uses many of her own life experiences to illustrate the points she makes about what she calls the three essential prayers: Help, Thanks and Wow.  

   The author also uses insightful stories of how others have tried to resolve the same issues.  In the section on
"Help" she recounts :

     "I don't pray for God to do this or that or for God's sake to knock it off, or for specific outcomes.  Well, okay, maybe a little.  When my great hero Arthur Ashe had had AIDS for quite a while, he said: 'God's will alone matters.  When I played tennis, I never prayed for victory in a match.  I will not pray now to be cured of heart disease or AIDS.'  So I pray, Help. Hold my friends in your light."

   She also extols the virtue of intercessory prayer, saying "If one person is praying for you, watch out!  Things are going to start to happen!"  In the end, though,it is the author's self-deprecating and never ending sense of humor which enlightens and uplifts the reader such as when she calls grace "spiritual WD-40."  This is an unusual book about prayer, but one worthy of reading and much reflection.  It reminds the reader that no one has the answers and that we all must come to our own reasoned and self-sustaining "religion" which works for each of us.

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