Friday, February 22, 2013

Draw the Circle

Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson is a 40 day devotional based on his book, The Circle Maker. I will admit that I have not read The Circle Maker, and I normally do not read devotionals. However, the concept behind this book caught my attention. In this book, Batterson discusses the principle of circling our prayers. He uses the story of Rodney "Gypsy" Smith to explain the idea of drawing the circle. He talks about Smith being used by God and helping start a revival. Smith said his secret to preaching that led people to surrendering to God was his circle. He said if you want to hear from God, you need to go home, kneel on the floor and draw a chalk circle around yourself, then pray that God will use you in that circle. Batterson says using this idea, we can circle our prayers. We can allow prayer to be our connection to God, to show our faith and dedication to Him. When we draw a circle around our prayers, we commit to praying until God uses us and we see an answer. But we have to be willing to follow God's will, and we may not receive the answers we are seeking. However, we will find answers when we commit to circling our prayers. Throughout the devotional, Batterson uses real-life stories and Scripture to support his ideas on prayer. He reminds us that our job is to submit to God, listen for His voice, and pray His will. Our focus in prayer must be on God, and establishing our relationship with Him. Prayer is not about getting what we want, but realizing what we need. We need God. Only then will we hear His voice, and our job then becomes to obey. Batterson's stories within this devotional are motivating and touching. It is easy to relate to his stories and he writes in a friendly way that inspires the reader to draw closer to God. He reminds us that God is constant and unchanging. His love for us never diminishes, but we can lose intimacy with Him when we pull away. Batterson reminds us that praying on a regular basis will change us and we will see things we could only imagine. If we seek God, we will find Him. I would recommend this devotional as a way to daily place oneself in God's presence. The advice and stories in this book help remind readers why we need to be close to God. This book has helped me focus my thoughts on God during my daily quiet time. It has been a great devotional for the Lent season. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”