Well, I got a copy of Circle Maker and read it! First of all, it should be noted that I’m a Mark Batterson fan. I’ve read all of his books, occasionally attend his church, and enjoy his leadership musings.
I can’t imagine writing a prayer book. It seems like one of the hardest things to do. How do you stay true to the Bible and encourage people to continue dreaming that God would do big things? How do you push people to have a high view of God but not promise that everything will always go your way? How do you tell stories of miracles that God has done and not sound like a braggart?
For all these reasons, I would never write a prayer book.
Luckily, Mark is able to handle these tensions quite well in Circle Maker.
Mark uses several Scripture pictures all throughout Circle Maker and really grounds the book both in Scripture and in examples of how God has come through for some big requests in the life of NCC and in the lives of people he knows. These stories are both motivational and convicting. They challenged me to pray bigger prayers and to dream bigger dreams.
Even with this challenge, Mark is sure to point out that we have to pray in the will of God for the glory of God to have full effectiveness in our prayer life. This isn’t a magic formula and there’s no guaranteed output for a specific input. I appreciated how Mark was able to toe the line of being very motivational but grounded in the big Scripture pictures. He even tells at least one story of a couple who have been praying for something personally and have never seen it happen.
The book is broken down into three sections, Dream Big, Pray Hard, Think Long.
I found the pray hard section to be the most convicting. Mark speaks a length about praying through and continuing to pray for things even though we don’t see them happening yet. While, I don’t know that I believe that we all have guardian angels, Mark gives some good biblical background and good biblical stories to illustrate this point (think Daniel and the angel Gabriel and the Israelites and the story of Jericho).
The last part of the book was my favorite. Mark takes the time to share with us his life goal list. I enjoyed that section of the book and have even started my own life goal list. I put some reaches on there so that I would have to start praying in some miracles for them to happen.
Overall, I think a prayer book should be judged on the following criteria: Did it make me want to pray more?
I can honestly say that Circle Maker did make me want to pray more, and I hope it does the same for you!
ps. Primal is still my favorite Batterson book, so you should check that one out if you haven’t yet…