the circle maker by mark batterson

Disclaimer: This book is not fiction! I do read non-fiction sometimes…like when forced to. LOL

Prayer is something I struggle with—not the need for it, but certain intellectual aspects of it. If God will work everything to the good of those who love Him and serve according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), and His plans are better than my plans (Isaiah 55:8-9), why would I want to ask for anything specifically other than His perfect will for me and those around me? So for this reason, I was interested to see what The Circle Maker had to say about praying circles around my biggest dreams and greatest fears.

The Good: There is a lot to like about this book, and a lot of truth contained within it. We honor God when we ask for BIG things—things that only He can do. Why? Because it means we have faith that He can do it. God wants us to go to Him in prayer “in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell all your requests to God” (Phil 4:6).

From The Circle Maker:

“Some of the hardest moments in life are when you’ve prayed hard but the answer is no and you don’t know why. And you may never know why. But that is the litmus test of trust. Do you trust that God is for you even when He doesn’t give you what you ask for? Do you trust that He has reasons beyond your reason? Do you trust that His plan is better than yours?” – pg. 123-4.

 “With God, it’s never an issue of “Can He?” It’s only a question of “Will He?” And while you don’t always know if He will, you know He can. And because you know He can, you can pray with holy confidence.” – pg 75.

My Reservations: The premise of The Circle Maker is primarily based on legend. Mark Batterson uses biblical principles to back up his point, but the subject circles back again and again to the actions of a man named Honi, famous for his ability to pray for rain, and how he called down rain by drawing a circle in the ground and refusing to leave it until God sent rain. Now, we don’t know where Honi’s heart was. It might be that he made this request (demand?) of God purely based on the faith that God would honor it. And God did—according to legend—He sent rain. But part of me wonders where the humility in Honi’s request was? And why base your prayer life on legend?

Is it right to barter with God? I will stay in this circle until you do this… (pg. 11-12) Or the example of Mother Dabney (pg. 33-4): If you do this, then I will do this…

The Circle Maker is not about everyday prayer life. It’s about life goals and casting visions for God’s glory (mostly). It’s about making life goals and praying with expectation and consistency. Ask God for your wildest dreams and He might honor your request (if you’re asking for the right reasons). “The circle maker’s mantra: 100 percent of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered.” Pg. 91

Is it just me, or do you struggle with prayer as well? How?


5 thoughts on “the circle maker by mark batterson

  1. I have not read the book but based on your review, I would have a similar opinion. I’m always hesitant about Christian books that promise things will happen.


  2. Hmm, your reservations sound exactly like mine. I agree that our western culture has a tendency to place limits on God and keep our expectations lower than they should; that when we pray, we should expect God to move in powerful, miraculous ways. But demanding or bartering sounds very sketchy to me.

    Maybe it’s the circle theme but this book reminds me of a fantastic book I read years & years ago – Concentric Circles of Concern: Seven Stages for Making Disciples by W. Oscar Thompson. I especially loved (& have never forgotten) his emphasis on how prayer breaks down strongholds and creates opportunities to show the love of Christ and share the Good News. That we simply need to pray for God to engineer the circumstances that will draw a life to Himself.


    1. Jephthat–now that’s a story that will make you scratch your head. Did he sacrifice his daughter or something else. But yes, let your no be no and your yes be yes and don’t swear by God–or barter with Him. Even with the best of intentions, we break our promises; He does not.

      Thanks for the comment!


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