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on July 28, 2012
Little did my wife and I know when we connected with our friend Mark Batterson last October that years of droughts we were going through with our son would finally come to an end. When we begin to practice drawing our circle around our son with Autism and everyday speaking bold prayers, the tide begin to change. This book will teach you not to pray "Just get by prayers" but to come boldly to the throne of grace and pray BIG prayers because we serve a BIG GOD. Just like how Mark talked about Honi in his book "The Circle Maker" who became a "legend" because as his people were going through a year long drought Honi began to draw his circle and pray three bold prayers. Through those prayers the year long drought ended and Honi became a "legend" that we are talking about thousands of years later. I believe when you begin to draw your circle around your family, pray bold prayers, new legends are going to be born through your test becoming a testimony. You will come out of the drought. If God can do it for my family He can do it for yours. This book can change your life.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 13, 2013
Raising children is easier said than done. And being a parent is no less easy. Mark Batterson bluntly writes, "You'll never be a perfect parent," yet he exhorts, "...but you can be a praying parent."

Mark Batterson, the lead pastor of one of America's most innovative churches authors an equally innovative little book Praying Circles Around Your Children, published by Zondervan, which is ostensibly an offshoot of his earlier New York Times bestseller The Circle Maker.

Praying Circles Around Your Children basically talks about five biblical and practical ways to circle your children in prayer:
1. Circling the Promises of God
2. Making Prayer Lists
3. Creating Prayer Mantras
4. Forming Prayer Circles
5. Praying through the Bible

This small book is inspiring, practical, easy-to-understand, and most certainly provocative. It offer a revolutionary and unique methodology of prayer by which parents can not only pray for their children but also incorporate prayer into their lives.

But the book has also drawn much criticism for various reasons. The first and, perhaps, the most controversial, is the use of the term "mantra" for the third prayer circle. While I may not be the right person to remark on the validity of its use, and its biblical soundness, it may be pertinent to point out that it is a term intrinsically linked to Hinduism. It is a mystical formula of invocation or incantation as widely practiced in Hinduism. And that's exactly what I thought when I saw it. Some may be doubtful about the appropriateness of its use, or could even argue that Satan is surreptitiously planting tools in the form of new ideas and practices.

And that brings to mind the widespread adoption of yoga in Christian circles around the world. Though that is not the subject of this review, it is imperative to mention it. Christians need to be vigilant and discerning.

Another area where the book has come in for sharp criticism is it over emphasis on prayer as a tool, and not as a part of relationship with God.

Whatever be the flip side to this book, I personally discovered a gold mine of practicable ideas which if channeled correctly have the power to shape not only the destiny of children but also parents. It is no bed of roses walking children through their growing years. The task is a difficult one. And there are many difficult children. But as parent, one should never give up. God will answer our prayers, if necessary, even long after we are long gone.

This book has the potential to change families worldwide! As Mark Batterson suggested, all we need to do is to start circling!

Don't lose heart. Don't lose hope. Don't lose faith. Keep circling!
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on July 24, 2012
Praying Circles Around Your Children is such a great book for parents! Practical yet inspirational, it gives you hope and easy to remember methods to pray over and around your children. I recommend it for anyone who has children, grandchildren or just loves kids!
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on March 25, 2013
I appreciate the concept of this book, that parents need to intentionally enter into a life of prayer for their children, to cover their lives with that prayer and "circle" them. So, to that extent, this is a good book to remind us as that.

However, the presentation of the concept, while peppered with "You need to make sure you're praying God's will, not your will" admonitions, still came across strongly as "If you pray for it, it will happen". The stories and examples told came across as a matter of all that needed to happen for one daughter to gain self-confidence, for a son to have a miraculous healing, for the children to have good morals at school and at home, is simply for the parents to pray fervently, frequently, and earnestly.

But what I saw in all the stories was a different dynamic. While the book presented prayer as some way of making God do the things that needed to be done, instead what I heard were stories of parents who actually spent time discipling their children with prayer, reading scripture with them, modeling a life centered around God and God's purposes, and simply parents actually being parents and spending quality time discipling their children. Prayer is part of that, but not as some formulaic means to a miraculous end, but as a connection between the parents and God which leads to a changed life on the part of the parents. That changed life ends up positively influencing the children. So, yes, the prayer was answered... but not through a "magical" influence, but because God made the parents the instruments of the answer.

Don't get me wrong, I know prayer does miraculous things. I have a story in mind right now of a two-year-old little girl with a serious head injury who has made an amazing recovery. That was certainly beyond just the parents being changed. But while the praying was happening for that little girl, the parents WERE being changed by the outpouring of prayer and support by their community, including very tangible and practical activities that the community did in order to support the family. So, while the girl received what amounts to a miraculous healing, the parents and their faith community experienced a deeper appreciation for Christian community, a greater sense of peace of God being in control, and a deeper reliance on God's promises. That is what happened with that prayer.

So, while there are some good practical tips here as to ways of praying, I see them as tips more on how to incorporate prayer in with parenting to make the parents more godly parents than any formula for getting more miraculous answers to prayer.

Note: I received this book for free from Zondervan as part of a blog tour, eliciting reviews, with the understanding that the book would be reviewed honestly. I was in no way compensated for this review and all views are solely and completely my own. I was not required to offer a positive review either through the publisher or author.
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on July 24, 2012
Wow...I so looked forward to this book. I ordered 10 of them to give to my family and to others. That was until I read this `quick-read' book and discovered the title for chapter 6, "The 3rd Circle: Creating Prayer Mantras."

Granted there are other definitions for this word but here's what Merriam-Webster lists as number one: A mystical formula of invocation or incantation (as in Hinduism). And that's exactly what I thought when I saw it. In the Circle Maker, Batterson talks about praying circles around our children (pp. 101-102) and uses a beautiful image of `framing' a poster or words on a wall---but fails to bring that thought over to this book.

UPDATED Oct 16, 2012! I have updated this book from a 3-star to a 4-star. I still don't like the use of the word 'mantra' but it's clear that Mark does NOT use the word in an 'eastern religious' way. Matter of fact the rest of the chapter may be the strongest in the book. And...I don't want people to NOT buy the book ONLY because of this one word. This is a book that can be very helpful to parents in praying for their kids.
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on October 21, 2012
A great book, make no mistake.

But after I read through it, I realised I wanted more and bought "The Circle Maker". Far, far better, with a lot more information, examples and thought provoking ideas. If you have the original, then understand that this variation will repeat some of the stories in that book, and will simply apply the processes in the original to your kids. If you have not yet read, "The Circle Maker", do yourself a favour and get it first, then decide if you want and need this one...
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on August 19, 2012
Launching off his excellent book on prayer--The Circle Maker--Mark Batterson shares with parents and grandparents the incredible blessing of taking the initiative to pray for our children in Praying Circle Around Your Children.

Mark opens the book with these words: "Make sure the heavenly Father hears about your kids daily! ...You'll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent. Prayer is your highest privilege as a parent."

Just as The Circle Maker opened my eyes to new insights on prayer, Praying Circles Around Your Children challenged me to step up into my privilege of being a prayerful Dad.

I loved the simple straightforward message in this book: Keep on praying for your kids.
* Do you feel like you don't know what to pray? Use the Scripture to help you find biblical promises to pray over your kids.
* Do you feel like your prayers for your kids have been unanswered? Recommit to pray for them as long as it takes.
* Do you feel like your prayers lack power? Find ways to pray with your kids where you keep them close, even laying your hands on them.
* Do you feel like it's too late to pray for your grown children or grandchildren? It's never too late to talk to God about your (grand)kids.

This is a short book that you can easily read in one sitting, but the concepts you learn can be applied for the rest of your life.

I loved this book so much that I'm going to buy a copy for every family in my church! If you are a parent or grandparent, I cannot urge you strongly enough to pick up a copy of Praying Circles Around Your Children.
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on September 6, 2012
I have read many books on prayer written mostly by women. I have also been a part of a Moms In Prayer (formally Moms In Touch ) group for almost 20 years. I was refreshing to read a book from a dad's perspective of the power of prayer for your children. I was touched by the little details of his children's lives that he lifted up in prayer.
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on July 29, 2012
Praying Circles Around Your Children is my introduction to author, Mark Batterson. I enjoyed the book very much and I'm looking forward to picking up The Circle Maker. Praying Circles Around Your Children is a quick read with an uplifting message about the power of prayer.
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on January 17, 2013
There's something I have to confess, I don't have children, but still enjoyed the reading. You don't have to be a parent, or to be married to be interested about prayer. And this is exactly the impression I felt after few pages.

The booklet starts with an introduction about the importance of prayer, and the effects it can produce in your life and in your family. Quoting the last lines of this chapter:

Your prayers for your children are the greatest legacy you can leave - Mark Batterson

Then, we get to the chapter where Mark shares the legend about The circle maker. In a few words, according to a Jewish tradition, there was a man called Honi that prayed for rain when everyone couldn't hear God's voice and thought God wouldn't hear their prayers. But Honi believed different and he drew a circle around him with his staff and remained there praying until he got an answer from God.

I liked how Mark responds to the way some people have wrongly understood what was the meaning about drawing circles:

Drawing circles is a metaphor that simply means "to pray without ceasing" - Mark Batterson

From this point, Mark introduces his family to the readers, giving his own experience on the subject of prayer, and how any parent can become a prophet to his children through prayer. I'm pretty sure parents will feel identified with him and it will be easier to understand the rest of the examples.

Since this book is called Praying Circles around Your Children, the next section is dedicated to describe 5 circles that can be applied or put into practice with your kids (I feel weird saying that).

Circling the promises of God
Making prayer lists
Creating prayer mantras (or creating key prhases as a spiritual reminders, nothing to do with eastern religions mantras)
Forming prayer circles
Praying through the Bible

As you can see, these circles are not specific words to be prayed over your children. They're actions to be taken by those parents that are willing to leave a mark on their children through prayer.

Finally and personally, I found these circles really helpful, even if you don't have children like me, you can start praying for your loved ones applying these same principles.
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