I was first introduced to Mark Batterson’s books when I received Wild Goose Chase as a gift a few years ago. Shortly after that I found In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day for a reduced price in a local bookstore. I picked it up and read both in both in a matter of a few weeks. They have both been immensely helpful and encouraging in my desire to serve and please God.
I’ve since read another of Batterson’s books and when I heard about his latest, The Circle Maker I put it in my queue. But when I saw the subtitle mentioned in a tweet, I went right out and bought the book and dove right in.
What was that tweet? What’s the subtitle?
Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears.
Batterson had me at ‘hello.’ Actually it was the part about ‘Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears’ that got me. This describes exactly where I feel I am. Truthfully, I think I’ve been stuck in this place for a while, but only recently have I been spurred on to pursue God in that space. Batterson’s book helped immensely here.
This is the second book on prayer I’ve read this year and both have challenged and encouraged me in unique ways. But it’s how Batterson specifically applies prayer to those aspects of life where we must reach higher and leap farther in our faith that made the deepest impact on me. Batterson ties the character of God and his desire to answer our prayers to our impulse to take risks when others might counsel us simply to play it safe.
Rather than simply make excuses and take the easy way out, we ought to pray through the dreams and impulses we wrestle with. Many of our big dreams have been placed there by God himself so that he could accomplish something great in and through us.
We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without His help.
Batterson is careful to emphasize that this is not ultimately about us, but about our intentionally trusting God and asking him to accomplish his purposes.
The title, The Circle Maker, comes from Honi, a first century Jew who was bold enough to ask of God to send rain. This man and his faith are the inspiration for this exercise of prayer Batterson calls circle making. He illustrates this exercise by separating the book into three major circles or sections: Dream Big, Pray Hard, and Think Long. Each one is integral to the exercise and discipline that Batterson encourages us engage.
Batterson doesn’t attempt to make much of us or even of our efforts in prayer, but rather points to the greatness of God who is able and exceedingly willing to answer even our largest leaps of faith.
Much like his other books, Batterson puts biblical feet to these ideas. Rather than just tell us what we want to hear and give us a spiritual pep talk, he encourages and challenges us through biblical principles.
We come away with a stronger desire to trust God more and to do more than just ask him in a cursory manner, but to really commit ourselves to asking and depending on him for his answer.
We come away wanting to be modern day Circle Makers.