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Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  18,679 ratings  ·  2,231 reviews
A New York Times bestseller from the author of Hallelujah Anyway, Bird by Bird, and Almost Everything

Author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life

Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing about her own faith through decades of
Hardcover, 102 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover
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Julia I found at the library. I hope you were/are able to find it at yours ☺️

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Bill Kerwin
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality

This slim book consists of three essays on spirituality, each exploring a different type of prayer: petition ("Help!"), thanksgiving ("Thanks!") and ("Wow!), which I feel can best be described as prayer in praise of the sublime.

I have read two previous books on spirituality by Lamott, both longer and better than this one, but they all have the same qualities. Lamott is so frank about sharing her brokenness, all the fragments of her crazy hippie life, that we hope we too--if we had half her cour
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am a tremendous admirer of Anne Lamott and her many books. I've been looking forward to reading this book for some weeks. Now that I have, I must say that I am disappointed.

First, the book is way too expensive for the length that it is. And I am not even sure if it was worth being made into a hard cover.

Second, the book really did not strike me as being profound or even notable. While there are some good ideas in Help, Thanks, Wow - they are not terribly radical or new. Unless one is rather
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
As someone who has rejected most, if not all, of my childhood religious indoctrination, I consistently find Anne Lamott's humor and insights on spirituality and the god figure/concept/delusion/confusion most delightful and enlightening. I love her writing and the turn of phrase that pokes holes straight through the doctrinaire and dogma while raising human frailty and its beauty to the level of the divine. How can a writer touch someone who is convinced he's an atheist so deeply with the kernel ...more
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, faith
I have a few friends who don't like Anne Lamott. I am not among them. Here's why: she is brutally honest, unpretentious and doesn't pretend that she has it all together. In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of writer Christian publishers need to actively pursue. Far too many books in this genre are written from a perspective of superiority. They go something like this: if you want to learn to pray, do this because it worked for me. Or if you want to serve God, do this because it worked for me ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"Let's not get bogged down on whom or what we pray to. let's just say prayer is a communication from our hearts to the great mystery, or Goodness, or Howard; to the animating energy of love we are sometimes bold enough to believe in; to something unimaginably big, and not us. we could call this force Not Me, and Not Preachers Onstage with a Choir of 800. or for convenience we could just say "God". A wonderful, quick read about real and imperfect faith in real and imperfect people. People whose f ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
The older I get, the more I realize that I need something to have faith in. I find there’s really nothing like being raised Catholic for turning someone into an atheist, and for many years I indentified myself as one. In my 20s, I was content to say that I wasn’t scared of dying, convincing myself that I was living my life to the fullest, that when you gotta go, you just gotta go, and that nothing of me would be left after I was gone. Surely the day of my demise was so far off I needn’t worry ab ...more
Sara Salfrank
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. But as I said to my sweet friend, Kim, who shares with me her advanced copies, I am predisposed towards loving Anne Lamott. It isn’t a very great way to review a book to compare it with another, but I did just finish One Thousand Gifts, which had some similar themes, and I just appreciate Anne Lamott’s style so much more than Ann Voskamp’s greeting card poetry. As my dad put it (regarding Lamott), she can really turn a phrase. I love her rambling, funny, down-to-earth, feel-it-all sens ...more
Mimi Jones
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I have read a lot of Anne Lamott and have always liked her hard-won spirituality, quirky worldview and writing style, her broadminded view of human nature - but this book didn't entirely do it for me, though I flagged some great quotes. It's awfully lite, that's my problem. And I have a quarrel with "THE Three Essential Prayers." If we're talking about essential prayers, then I would definitely put "Sorry" in there. I think contrition for our failings is part of the examined spiritual life (and ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book kinda reads like a first draft. Like a good idea Anne had. So maybe she started writing wise snippets. Really rich little nuggets. And put them in her snippet jar. After a while, it would look like a fruit salad of paper. All different colors, and different folds.

Then one day she emptied out her snippet jar, and voila! Because she is who she is, she got to type it all up and have it published.

It's not really very cohesive.

But that's okay, because still... it's Anne Lamott. It's a sho
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think a lot of readers of this book will have the same initial feeling I did once I held it in my hands, which is "...Oh." This is a slim volume, a little pocket book, and I felt a little misled at first--a New Anne Lamott (nonfiction) Book is a big deal in my world, and I'd been looking forward to it for a long time. And here it was, clocking in at just over 100 pages? Hello? A booklet? What?

Annie (as I refer to her in my diary) is my most cherished author for a number of reasons. I first rea
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lamont is the kind of person I would want as a friend: real, honest, funny, sincere, intelligent, kind, tough, and delightfully imperfect. Her book is filled with gems of stories and beautiful descriptions. On page 11 she calls herself a "crabby optimist." I love that paradox and can relate. My favorite prayer was on page 67 when she was experiencing frustration and disappointment. She prayed, "'Help me not be such an ass.' (This is actually the fourth great prayer...)." More of us, including my ...more
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
When you read thin books, you always hope that they are succinct as hell -- big books that have been cut to the bone, trimmed to the essence, winnowed to their winning ways. You certainly entertain no thoughts of repetitiveness. That's forgivable with Dickens, Thackery, and Fielding. They write huge tomes that leave room for error. But the 100-page book? No.

That's my main beef with Anne Lamott's long essay on prayer. I read a NY Times essay of hers that I enjoyed mightily. It told how her family
Angie Vallejo (Musesofamom)
First of all, it needs to be said that if you are an evangelical type believer, you will probably not like this book. It it very very much Prayer 101 or "Christianity lite", if you can even call it that; it definitely has a more secular feel. This book basically gives Anne's viewpoint of how she feels prayer works, with three different simple prayers. Although she tries to make prayer sound more "normal" for the unchurched and encourages people to pray in their own way, she still makes God sound ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Patricia by: Kovacs
Just using this spot as a place to keep some quotes.

"I have seen many people survive unsurvivable losses, and seen them experience happiness again. How is this possible? Love flowed to them from their closest people, and from their community, surrounded them, sat with them, held them, fed them, swept their floors. Time passed. In most cases, their pain evolved slowly into help for others." (23)

"They say--or maybe I said--that a good marriage is one in which each spouse secretly thinks he or she
Scott Freeman
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books
I'm so thankful for this book. Prayer is a concept I struggle with greatly and this has been one of the best reflections on the subject that I have encountered in a long time. It's not a theological treatise but is, instead, a personal reflection on surrender and searching.
I don't share Lamott's more optimistic approach on things and that is all the more reason why this is such an important read for me.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book...very short, simple, and amazing ! Want to read it again...and remind me how blessed I am !
Derek Emerson
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Anne Lamott definitely stretches the boundaries of Christian writing. For that, we can thank her. Yes, she swears, says honest and unkind things (usually about herself), sometimes refers to God as Phil, and even lets slip a longing for her earlier, non-Christian lifestyle.

In her most recent book, "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers," Lamott takes her earthly approach to the most holy of acts, prayer. In this short work, she talks about each of the three prayers and ends with some th
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Do you like Anne Lamott's writing? I do, I've read every single thing she's ever written. She is probably the greatest influence on what and how I write; she gives voice to her petty struggling self and I try to do that too, because I secretly know that even you are petty, though no one would ever know that about you, so you are stuck all alone knowing that unless other people 'fess up. I love that about her. When I've been unable to read, at various times in my life, I've always found my way ba ...more
Neal Washburn
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have truly enjoyed reading anything written by Anne Lamott. I first became interested in reading Ms. Lamott when I read her quote: "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, like her other works, resonates with my spirit. This is a quick read, and I will need to read it again! As I was reading, I felt the resonance of Ms. Lamott's words, thoughts, themes and the l ...more
Huma Rashid
Jun 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
LORD, was Anne Lamott's "voice" annoying. Jeez. All the silly examples, all the random asides about her life, ugh. (I know that sounds harsh, but try reading five pages - you'll see what I mean. She references all of these Eastern cultures and traditions in a way that seems so hollow and emotional-tourist-y, and it really rubbed me the wrong way.

But I couldn't really properly own my irritation with her ... until I flipped past the last page to the back jacket flap and saw a white lady with drea
Clara Dearmore Strom
Feb 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Well, since she called these "prayers" I assumed she meant praying to God. However, her definition of "god" was just about any one or any thing you want to call "it". I am astounded by the people who don't believe in God, but "pray" to something. Why? What good will it do? It's the same thing as saying "I'll have good thoughts for you". Can anyone tell me EXACTLY WHAT that means and what good it does? Sheesh. ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
ugh. I didn't even make it 4 pages into this. No way I could finish it. I suppose a lot of people would love it, but I can't read something that tells me to call God whatever I want- Howard, Phil, or She. It just goes against everything I believe. No offense intended to anyone else. ...more
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Love Anne Lamott's writing. "like" her FB page if you want some great occasional doses of brilliance and wit. ...more
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
It was curiosity that attracted me to this unusual theme. I had discovered Anne Lamott by accident through a TED talk on YouTube and the message she brought there appealed to me. But this book has disappointed me a bit, because it stays rather shallow.

Not that she has no interesting things to say. Prayer and religion in general are very underrated phenomena in our society, certainly in the European context. Lamott seems to have a rather pragmatic attitude about it: praying is focusing on somethi
Stephanie Barko
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was the February 2020 selection of South Austin Spiritual Book Group.

Since I have almost every book that Lamott has written and have heard her speak in person, this was a joy to read as I am such a devoted fan.

Both her subject matter and the simplicity of her approach to prayer are appealing, especially when presented in Anne's trademark self-deprecating manner. I think each person will find their own favorite section, whether Help, Thanks, Wow or Amen. Mine was Help, which is a hard thing
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
**A profound pausing place**

For me, books are pausing places.

They provide me pockets from where I can absorb, reflect, ponder, and reshuffle life’s minutia and meaning.

Anne Lamont’s latest book _Help Thanks Wow_ provided me a serendipitous pausing place from which I just came out feeling quite moved and grateful.

It’s hard to put into words how Anne’s simple words can be so profound. So, I’ll let a sampling of her own words speak for themselves:

~~“I admit, sometime this position of gratitude ca
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am giving this book five stars first of all because Anne Lamott's writing resonates with me so much especially with lines like "I hate this, the fact that life is usually Chutes and Ladders, with no guaranteed gains". It brought back all those horrible moments of playing that game with our sons and having one of them land on a "chute", especially that really long one. It seemed like I was always in a state of mild anxiety, hoping so hard that neither of them would land on that disappointing lo ...more
Natalie Serber
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Anne Lamott. This slim volume is packed with lovely gems of insight, humor and gratitude. While our belief systems are not fully aligned, I think we both believe in kindness and generosity of spirit. This book is not my favorite Lamott. TRAVELING MERCIES and BIRD BY BIRD are both terrific. That being said, I think I will be giving this book as a gift this holiday season. Her language is fresh and honest. She accepts that sometimes your generous spirits are cramped and with this boo ...more
Mark Robison
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was mentioned in Louise Penny’s “The Glass House” and that was a good enough recommendation for me. I love Lamott’s nonfiction writing, even though I don’t share her faith in a God. What I do love are her struggles to square suffering with a kind god — and her humor. This is a short book that looks at what she considers as the essential prayers: help, thanks and wow. I’d gotten the audiobook — which Lamott reads wonderfully — but her words are ones to savor so I quit the audio and swit ...more
Jun 25, 2013 added it
Shelves: reviewed, faith
I'm not sure why I'm bothering to write a review for Anne Lamott's latest book. Either you love her and are going to read anything she writes. Or you don't and no matter what I write you won't touch this book with a ten foot pole. I guess there is the possibility that you've never encountered Lamott before, although if you are reading my reviews that seems unlikely. Anyway, this isn't where I would start with her. It is a short, gift-type book. The kind you tuck into a basket with a mug and tea ...more
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Anne Lamott is an author of several novels and works of non-fiction. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her non-fiction works are largely autobiographical, with strong doses of self-deprecating humor and covering such subjects as alcoholism, single motherhood, and Christianity. She appeals to her fans because of her sense of humor, her deeply felt insights, and her outspoken views on topics such ...more

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