Three Essential Prayers

Sometimes I make prayer more difficult than it should be. Prayer is an ongoing conversation with a Father who loves us dearly. But still I make it more complicated than I should. Anne Lamott has written a powerful little book on prayer that reminds us to keep it simple, HELP, THANKS, WOW: The Three Essential Prayers. Here is a brief description of these 3 prayers:

  • HELP — asking for assistance

“Praying ‘Help’ means that we ask that Something give us the courage to stop in our tracks, right where we are, and turn our fixation away from the Gordian knot of our problems. We stop the toxic peering and instead turn our eyes to something else: to our feet on the sidewalk, to the middle distance, to the hills, whence our help comes–someplace else, anything else. Maybe this is a shift of only eight degrees, but it can be a miracle.”

  • THANKS — appreciating what we have that is good

“Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.”

  • WOW — feeling awe at the world around us

“The third great prayer, Wow, is often filled with a gasp, a sharp intake of breath, when we can’t think of another way to capture the sight of shocking beauty or destruction, of a sudden unbidden insight or an unexpected flash of grace. ‘Wow’ means we are not dulled to wonder. We click into being fully present when we’re stunned into that gasp, by the sight or a birth, or images of the World Trade Center towers falling… ‘Wow’ is about having one’s mind blown by the mesmerizing or the miraculous: the veins in a leaf, birdsong, volcanoes.”

Your turn… What are your thoughts about these essential prayers?

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Filed under Discipleship, Spiritual Formation

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