As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith, so I was thrilled when the vicar proposed to create a church book club. Our first book to read was The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson.
The Circle Maker starts with the story of Honi the circle-drawer. Who when Israel was plagued with a drought went out, drew a circle in the dust and stepped inside to pray; vowing not to move until it rained. When it began to rain softly, instead of being satisfied and leaving the circle, Honi stayed put and prayed for harder rain! Many thought him mad but Honi’s big prayer was answered because of his strong faith and dedication. Mark Batterson believes using Honi as an example has vastly improved his own prayer life, with him and his church reaping the rewards and so in this book he aims to share how we can do it too.
To do this Batterson breaks down the circle making method to three key factors. First, dream big – Honi didn’t just want light rain he wanted hard rain. We may think the simpler request is better however the bigger it is the more pleasure and honour it will bring God to answer. Second, pray hard – even in the face of mockery Honi kept praying. We will all face mockery, adversity, pain and hard times but we must pray through it all. And thirdly, think long – that rain didn’t come for Honi in five minutes. We may have to wait days, months or even years for our prayers to come to fruition; Batterson recommends keeping a prayer journal to keep track.
As well as being an author, Mark Batterson is pastor at the National Community Church in Washington, D.C.. In this book, he shares the ways in which using this method of prayer has helped the church to grow in numbers, acquire new premises, raise money and set up new initiatives; while also sharing with us more personal stories about himself and his friends and family. I found his style to be positive and very accessible. Although, sometimes I did want a bit more raw emotion in the recall of hard times. I can see stylistic why he may have chosen not to bare all, as it enabled the mood to stay positive and inspiring for the reader.
Overall, I found The Circle Maker to be an inspiring and worth while read – I will certainly be taking up his advice about a prayer journal. It also made for a great discussion piece for our first book club meeting. Next up for the club, we will be reading Surprised by Hope by Tom Wright. Great read.
Have you read this? Or anything else by this author?