Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers
by Anne Lamott
(Riverhead)

I heard a preacher say one time that our participation in our salvation is two words: Yes! Thanks! Which I think does coincide with the Scriptures when it says that our salvation is not of ourselves but a gift. All we must do is agree with God that we are lost and need a Savior. Then spend the rest of our days figuring out ways to say, “Thanks!”

I believe the most powerful prayers are usually the shortest. When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus and then started sinking, he didn’t have time for a long prayer. He had time for a word or two — “Jesus, help!” When the thief on the cross was dying and realized Jesus was Who He said He was, he had time to say all it took, “Lord, remember me…”

That is the premise of this book. Anne believes the three best prayers to help you through hard times are: Help! Thanks! and Wow! To know whom to ask for help in the midst of trouble, to be grateful for the things you have and to never lose the childlike wonder of the world around you. I’ve always loved her writing. She’s raw. (Warning: If curse words offend you, you might want to pass. She wasn’t raised Baptist.) Her other books are full of stories of her life which explain the rawness. This book is not so full of stories (which are my favorite kinds of books) but I agree with her that Help! Thanks! and Wow! have made up most of the prayers of my journey.

The good news is, you don’t have to pray like Gloria Gaither to get through to God; you can just holler out: HELP! And it’s on the way.

— Mark Lowry