Book Review: The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

September 7, 2015 by cloften  
Filed under Bible, Church and Leadership

New feature here at  I will periodically recommend books, blogs, and podcasts that have been particularly impactful for me, and I believe could do the same for you.  I probably won’t blog about the books that I have read and don’t like. That just doesn’t seem cool.  It seems more like trolling.  You might could talk me into it though if you thought it would be helpful.  We will start with a book that I have already read once with our staff and a small group.  3 years later, I am reading it again with our staff.

Book: The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears (Click here to buy on Amazon)

circle maker

Author: Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor of National Community Church

Why You Should Read It: Batterson challenges way too common Christian approaches to praying that I have struggled with for much of my Christian walk.  I pray timid prayers.  He says that a big God is honored by bold prayers and is bothered by timid ones.  God doesn’t want us to hedge our bets when we pray. “God please do this, but if you don’t then make me happy with that or whatever you are going to do.  Never mind.  Sorry to bother you.”  By using stories from his life, others lives and powerful Biblical stories, Batterson makes a strong case to believe that God wants to do big things through your life and in your life. If you will pray with confidence and persistence, you will see God show up in much bigger ways than most people see.

Why Some Would Say You Shouldn’t: He uses as his primary metaphor a story that doesn’t come from the Bible from the time between the two testaments of the Bible.  Honi prays that God will bring rain during a drought by drawing a circle in the sand and says he won’t come out until God answers.  Since the story is not from the Bible it is dangerous to build a case around it.  Even when it is paired with other stories from the Bible, it is dangerous because it could lead to “name it, claim it,” and us arrogantly believing that we can tell God what to do.

Why They Are Wrong: It’s a story and a metaphor.  That’s it.  His metaphor is drawing circles around your prayers which means confidently believing that God will answer.  Any metaphor would work, he likes this one because he likes Honi and that story.  As far as name it claim it goes, Batterson does a good job of giving examples of unanswered prayers, but he is not timid in saying that if God wants it for us, we should boldly pray and expect God to do it.  Most of us need to hear that message because we have come to expect a God that doesn’t intervene in our lives and doesn’t want to do big things.

Questions to consider: Do I believe that God wants to do big things in my life?  Why do I pray timidly? Is it really because I don’t want to offend God or is it just that I am timid?  Why do I believe that God did big things in the Bible, but I settle for small and ordinary in my life?  What big dream has God laid on my heart that I am afraid to pray passionately for?

Conclusion: Buy this book.  While your at it, buy anything that Batterson has written.  He is a great author with a refreshing take on what God wants to do in your life.