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The Circle Maker

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The Advocate

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"It is my belief that there are pastors who shouldn’t attempt to write and be published. Mark Batterson is an exception..."

My first thought: “Are you serious? Do we really need another book on prayer?” My second thought: “Why not? Particularly if this book about praying circles around your biggest dreams and greatest fears is from prolific author and lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C., Mark Batterson.

Batterson’s premise begins with Honi, a legendary Jewish figure from 1 BC. Honi’s faith and prayer saved the generation before Jesus by calling upon the God of heaven and earth to provide rain in a time of unending drought. He drew a circle in the desert sand, took his place within the circle, and called upon God to let it rain. And rain it did!

It is my belief that there are pastors who shouldn’t attempt to write and be published. Mark Batterson is an exception. He is one of the few who knows how to present biblical insight and information in a straight-forward manner without making himself sound overly important. He writes about the importance of, "dreaming big, praying hard and thinking long." To Batterson, “writing is praying with a keyboard.”

There seems to be a plethora of quick quips and quotable quotes within these pages. At times, I had to force myself to get past those catch phrases to find the deeper meaning and practical application. His circles of prayer mainly involve his church and its storied history as well as other personal stories directly shared with him.

Our problem is that “most of us don’t get what we want because we don’t know what we want . . . and secondly, we don’t get what we want because we quit circling.” I, for one, give up too easily instead of “praying through!” Talk about stupidity when we want God to provide more so we need Him less. Spiritual maturity isn’t about self-sufficiency but codependence on God. In Batterson’s own words, “And if we pray hard, our lives will become complicated and we will need to work harder. And that is a blessing from God.”

How will reading The Circle Maker play out in my life for 2012? I’m not sure when it comes to details but I do know I want to considerably increase the consistency and audaciousness of my prayer life. I will begin to seek the “favor of Him who dwells in the burning bush.”

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.