I love Help Thanks Wow for all three reasons.
It’s supposedly about three essential prayers—and it delivers!—but it’s also about depending more on God and growing in intimacy with him.
When we do that, these three conversations—asking God for help, telling him thanks, and exclaiming wow to him—will happen quite naturally and more frequently.
Here are some favorite lines I want to remember, all typical Anne-style.
If I were going to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little.
But beautiful pre-assembled prayers—like the Merton, the Lord’s Prayer, the Twenty-third Psalm—have saved me more times than I can remember. But they are for special occasions. They are dressier prayers, the good china of prayers, used when I have my wits about me enough (a) to remember that they exist, and (b) to get into a state of trust. This would be approximately seven percent of the time.
A sober friend from Texas said once that the three things I cannot change are the past, the truth, and you. I hate this insight so much.
My priest friend Bill Rankin said that through prayer, we take ourselves off the hook and put God on the hook, where God belongs. When you’re on the hook, you’re thrashing, helpless, furious, like a smaller kid lifted by the seat of his pants by a mean big kid. Jesus, on the literal hook of the cross, says to God, “Help,” and God enters into every second of the Passion like a labor nurse.
Saying and meaning “Thanks” leads to a crazy thought: What more can I give? We take the action first, by giving—and then the insight follows, that this fills us. Sin is not the adult bookstore on the corner. It is the hard heart, the lack of generosity, and all the isms, racism and sexism and so forth.
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Do you have a favorite Anne Lamott book?
- Who’s the real you?
- Classic Memory Verses