Blessings and Prayers

Thinking about Anne Lamott’s new book and my own book on prayer, I wondered if there was something both of us were missing...

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Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

Anne Lamott’s got a new book out about prayer, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. It’s compulsively readable and I love her essential point, that prayer is simple. Ultimately, it comes down to three prayers she finds herself saying all the time: “Help, God,” “Thank you, God,” and “Wow.”

I’ve been writing a book called Ten Prayers You Can’t Live Without, so I had to admire someone who could be more succinct than I am. But reading her and thinking about my own book, I wondered if there was something both of us were missing.

Then at lunch I saw my buddy Kenny sitting on a fireplug outside the drugstore on the corner. Immaculately dressed as always, coat and tie, cane hanging from his forearm, big toothy grin. “Hi, Rick!” he said. “Kenny!” I said. He’s got a few health issues and I wanted to hear about them, then we talked about education—how important it is. Finally I asked him where his Bible was. Usually he’s got it on his lap.

He gestured to his head. “I keep it right up here,” he said.

“You know,” I said, “I try to keep memorizing Bible verses but as soon as I learn them, I forget them.”

“Don’t worry,” he said, looking me straight in the eye and giving me the compliment of a lifetime. “You’ve got Jesus in the right place.” He gestured to my chest. “You’ve got him in your heart, and that’s just where he should be.” Then he gave me a hug.

Can I add that to your prayer list, Ms. Lamott? Maybe you covered it with “Wow.” I’ve tried to cover it in my chapter on blessings. Because with that hug and those kind words, the stranger who sits outside the local drugstore was blessing me, and I I felt warmed by his words the rest of the day.

Tags: Prayer
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