The Circle Maker Book Review

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson was published in 2011, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the book, but for those who aren’t, I’d like to give you a short review of my thoughts on the book.

The cover of the book reads, Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears. With a statement like that, I figured the least I could do was read what the author had to say. I’m glad I did.

As I usually do with most non-fiction books I read, I took notes. The first note I wrote and starred said, “Even when we can’t hear God, he can hear us.”

To prove this wasn’t another far-out-there mystically hoo-doo, voo-doo book, Batterson began by saying drawing prayer circles starts with discerning what God wants, what God wills. He says until God’s sovereign will becomes our sanctified wish, our prayer life will be unplugged from its power source. The goal is glorifying God by drawing circles around the promises, miracles, and dreams God wants for us.

One example he gave was Joshua and his army marching seven times around the city of Jericho in the Old Testament. God promised Joshua he would deliver the city into his hands if Joshua kept circling, because that was God’s will. In that example, Batterson said we need to identify our personal Jericho, define the promises God wants us to claim.

I have to say that even after reading and taking notes, defining the promises God wants me to claim is something I don’t quite understand fully.

Batterson admits not every prayer will be answered as we script it, but the prayers that do happen would not have happened if we hadn’t drawn a circle around it to begin with.

Things I already apply to my life like being specific in my prayer requests, praising God ahead of time, understanding it isn’t a matter of whether God can, it’s a matter of whether he will, and realizing sometimes a no means not yet, are mentioned in this book.

There were many points the author gave which I highlighted in this book, but I’ll leave you with only a few more.

  • God has the habit of waiting until the very last moment to answer our prayer to see if we will chicken out or pray through.
  • God provides just enough just in time.
  • Some of God’s answers to prayer won’t be revealed on this side of glory because they are invisible answers. When God makes something happen we can thank him because we can see it. When he keeps something from happening, we don’t know how to thank him because we don’t know what he did.
  • Do you trust God is for you even when he doesn’t give you what you asked for?

And lastly … if you can trust God when the answer is no, you’re likely to give him praise when the answer is yes.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Get Out of the Boat

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

Years ago, Andrew Peterson wrote a song that said, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” Shortly after, books popped up with the same title based on the Bible story of Peter walking to Jesus on water.

How many of us would love to have the faith to walk on water? But there’s a catch … in order to do that, we’ve got to haul our self out of the safety of the boat. We have to take that first scary step into liquid.

We remember the story of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples’ boat during a storm. At first glance, the disciples believed he was a ghost. When Peter realized it was the Lord, he decided to get out of the boat and walk across the water to him.

All went well until the waves began to lap around Peter’s knees and he took his eyes off Jesus.

Jesus asked, “Oh, ye of little faith. Why did you doubt?”

Why did he doubt? Why do we doubt? Why was his faith small? Why is our faith small?

In Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, he says The key to getting out of the boat is hearing the voice of God. If you’re going to get out of the boat in the middle of a lake in the middle of the night, you better make sure that Jesus said, “Come.” But if Jesus says, “Come,” you better not stay in the boat.

I used to be rather fearless, but I’m not so inclined these days. Decades ago a friend and I climbed up an open look-out tower on a small Native American Indian mound on an island in the middle of the St. John’s River in Florida.

As we approached the top, I stopped and latched onto the metal rail like my life depended on it, bent forward and waited for the earth to stop shaking. Vertigo, compliments of an inner ear nerve imbalance gripped my body, and I knew for sure I was going to careen to the ground in a broken heap.

My friend looked at me, asked if I was okay, then said, “I’ve never known you to wimp out of anything before.”

Just as my vertigo prevented me from going any further up that ladder to see the view only possible from way above the ground, our fear oftentimes stops us from climbing to the heights Jesus wants us to reach. It freezes us and keeps us from putting one leg after the other over the side of the boat and stepping on top of the water.

We wimp out.

Jesus wants us to experience a life of faith in him. He wants us to achieve more than we could ever imagine. He wants us to remember he is right here with us, holding our hand when the waves threaten to pull us under. He wants us to get out of the boat when he says, “Come.”

If we allow fear to keep us in our personal safe boat, we’ll never walk on water.

Are there any times when you’ve stepped out of the boat in faith, even when you were frightened?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.  About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed. Matthew 14:24-33 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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