The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Prayer Category
Intercession, how to pray


The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Subtitle: “Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.” Published by Zondervan 2011.


The First Circle – Dream Big

The Second Circle – Pray Hard

The Third Circle – Think Long

Keep Circling

Batterson’s title comes from the legend of a sage named Honi (later nicknamed the Circle Maker) who lived near Jerusalem in the first century before Christ. Honi prayed for rain by taking his stick and drawing a circle in the dust. He then knelt to pray, vowing not to leave the circle until God answered his prayer for rain.

When only a few drops fell he prayed, “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits and caverns.” When a great torrential downpour came, he again prayed, this time saying, “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Your favor, blessing, and graciousness.” And the rain moderated into a gentle rain the could be absorbed by the ground.

Batterson uses this image of circle making to describe how we can intercede for breakthroughs in our time and in our lives. Much of discourse is based on his own experiences of starting a new church in Washington DC that has grown to 7 locations reaching thousands.

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A friend sent me a copy of the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson telling me that it had been so helpful in her prayer life. I was very thankful to have it when soon afterwards I went through a life challenge where I needed a strong reminder of the power of prayer. Underneath the new language of circle making to describe the act of praying hard and trusting God are the age old principles of perseverance in prayer such as letting God give us a vision bigger than ourselves, patiently praying until something happens, being open to God’s way and time of answering and praying through difficulties. What makes this book doubly helpful is Batterson’s personal story of how he started a small congregation and God grew it to reach thousands through unlikely means, such as opening a coffee shop on Capital Hill in a former crack house whose property price tag was well beyond their financial resources and meeting in movie theaters rather than building a church. What I like about this book is that it is not prayer theory or teachings, but rather prayer adventure and journey. It takes principles of prayer from the Bible and invites the reader to apply them to their biggest dreams and fears in such a way that God receives the glory because the request was well beyond your own resources to deliver. Batterson is honest about his failures and honest in his experiences where good people’s prayers were answered for others but sometimes not for their own needs. I like the way that he is inspirational and optimistic without being unrealistic in promising that God will grant all of our wishes. Rather he invites us to ask God to help form our wishes and then go on an adventuresome faith journey

Added by Karen Barber on August 24, 2013