Review: Help, Thanks, Wow

When it comes to talking to God, says bestselling writer Anne Lamott in her new book, these three words are all you really need.

January 31, 2013 by Ken Ramstead


I’m an awful “pray-er.” That is, my friends can pray extemporaneously, on anything and everything. Me, I fumble and bumble and don’t really get to the point of what I want to say to God. I feel I’m shortchanging Him whenever I close my eyes and pray.

Prayer 101
It was heartening, then, to read Anne Lamott’s new book, Help, Thanks, Wow.

“I do not know much about God and prayer,” Lamott writes, “but I have come to believe, over the past 25 years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple. My three prayers are variations on Help, Thanks, Wow. That’s all I ever need, besides the silence, the pain and the pause sufficient for me to stop, close my eyes and turn inward.”

It is these three prayers—asking for assistance, appreciating the good we witness and feeling awe at the world—that get Lamott through the day.

A single mom who has had her share of grief and lean times, the award-winning writer convincingly articulates her spirituality and great faith in this book. “God can handle honesty,” she writes, “and prayer begins with an honest conversation.”

So go ahead. Start with those three simple words: Help, Thanks, Wow. You’ll be surprised what you come up with from there.


Phil?
Anne Lamott refers to God as “Phil.” Why?

“I called God Phil after a Mexican bracelet maker promised to write ‘Phil 4:4-7’ on my bracelet, Philippians 4:4-7 being my favourite passage of Scripture, but only got as far as ‘Phil’ before having to dismantle his booth. Phil is a great name for God.”

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