“When was the last time you found yourself flat on your face before the Almighty? When was the last time you cut off circulation kneeling before the Lord? When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter in prayer?” Mark Batterson
When a guy asks questions like these you know he is taking prayer pretty seriously. And if you can’t answer these questions with recent occurrences you know you aren’t. The questions are from Mark Batterson’s recent book The Circle Maker. This book on prayer is the best I’ve read in years.
If your prayer life is missing a beat, on life support or has given up the ghost, this book, like an AED, is guaranteed to shock it back to life. Covering nearly every facet of prayer while using many faith-building stories it will inspire and revitalize prayer in your life once again.
The book’s title and guiding illustration for effective prayer is based on the true story of a first Century BC praying Jew who lived in the generation preceding Jesus’ birth. At that time a devastating drought threatened Israel. This eccentric sage by the name Honi with a six foot staff in his hand drew a circle around himself and kneeling inside that circle prayed “Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children.” And immediately rain began to fall.
Launching forth from this story the author does a masterful job of awakening faith in the reader as he unfolds what it means for us today to pray Circle Making prayers. He divides the book into three key topical challenges to true circle-making prayer: Dream Big, Pray Hard and Think Long.
In the second chapter introduction on circle making prayer we are told that “the goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles, and dreams He wants for you.” Using the Jericho March as an example we are encouraged to above all else identify the “Jericho” in our life and then make a commitment to keep circling it in prayer until God delivers it into our hands.
And so here, based on The Circle Maker, are 5 Ways to Revive Your Prayer Life and circle your Jericho.
- Pray Specifically – In praying about your “Jericho” you need to make a point to pray specifically for what you want. “The more faith you have, the more specific your prayers will be. And the more specific your prayers are, the more glory God receives.”
- Pray Persistently – In the olden days it was called “praying through.” The difference between praying for and praying through is you refuse to let go until God answers. “Praying though is all about consistency.” And “praying through is all about intensity.”
- Dream Big – “If you keep praying, you’ll keep dreaming, and conversely, if you keep dreaming, you’ll keep praying. Dreaming is a form of praying, and praying is a form of dreaming.” “The bigger the circle you draw, the more foolish you’ll feel. But if you aren’t willing to step out of the boat, you’ll never walk on water.” “In order to experience a miracle, you have to take a risk.” So dream big and circle it in prayer! Included in the book are several chapters on goal setting that are very practical and will greatly aid your dreaming process.
- Pray Hard – “Praying hard is two-dimensional: praying like it depends on God, and working like it depends on you.” “The bigger the dream, the harder you will have to pray.” Don’t fall prey to the lie that “God is answering everyone’s prayer but yours.” God wants to answer your prayers, but as the author tells us “You can’t just be willing to pray about it, you also have to be willing to do something about it.” It may be that “if you have prayed hard, you need to swallow hard and take a flying leap of faith.” Effective pray-ers know that prayer is hard work and are willing to invest their lives in doing it because the rewards are so great.
- Think Long – Prayer is like planting a seed. We need to be patient in cultivating the soil of our hearts while we wait for the fruit to be born. Our prayers have a life of their own. “They have no time or space restrictions because the God who answers them exists outside of the space and time He created.” God answers prayer in His timing, not ours. JEJIT the author calls it: “just enough, just in time.” Some prayers take weeks to answer like Daniel’s, other prayers take generations to answer like many of the Old Testament messianic prayers. Our responsibility is to pray through to a point when we get a breakthrough in the Spirit and know the answer is already on its way. The second breakthrough will come in God’s timing when He releases it in the natural. If you are going to pray effective prayers you need to think long. As a grandfather, that inspires me.
Check out this great book: The Circle Maker – Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, by Mark Batterson.
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