"The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson

If you’re part of an American church, you’re likely to have heard of this book. It’s Batterson’s fifth book and it’s about prayer. I chose this book because I struggled with prayer for a while, so I asked around and bought a couple books specifically targeting that spiritual discipline. I had heard of The Circle Maker by several different people at church so I assumed it had to be good.

Instead of listing what I liked and didn’t like about this book, I’m going to list how it helped and challenged me, and… what I didn’t like.

How it Helped & Challenged Me

  • Expanded my view of God
  • Exposed me to the practice of circling scripture (this was one of the most powerful things I got out of this book!)
  • Enlarged my knowledge of the significance and power of prayer
  • Encouraged me to pray more/BELIEVE in what I’m praying/believe that God is able
  • Elaborated on my understanding of the lasting effects and longevity of prayer

What I Didn’t Like

  • Let’s start with the biggest blunder: No gospel. I believe that the gospel needs to be present in everything – every sermon, song, book, etc. I can’t understand how someone could write an entire book on prayer and not even discuss in depth the significance of the cross and what Jesus accomplished for us. But okay… I’ll admit… there were two pages that mentioned the gospel. At the end. Two pages. Out of 215.
  • Autobiographical feel. I chose this book because I wanted to learn about prayer, not about Batterson’s own life and successes. I completely understand that success stories and personal anecdotes help prove the concepts he is preaching. And I understand that in order to write a book on something, you need to be experienced in it. So I get why Batterson wrote a lot about his own personal experiences. But if I’m honest, I didn’t benefit very much from them. I benefited more from his concepts, suggestions, and teachings on prayer.
  • Forgetting what I read. This could totally be attributed to my terrible memory, so keep that in mind. But there were many times when I would pick this book up to continue reading, and not even remember what I had just read the day before. Usually, if a book is profound enough and is challenging me enough, I’ll be mulling over what I read for days. And I’ll admit, there were a few times that happened. But only a few.
Would I Recommend It?

Did this book challenge me? Did it grow my prayer life? Even if only by a little bit? Yes. For that reason, and for that reason alone, I would recommend it (but probably not as a first choice).

 

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