This is the second book by Mark Batterson that I have read in under a month. It was such an amazing read that when I finished it I flipped back to the first page and started reading it again, this time taking more time to digest and process the material. Though this student edition is co-written with his son Parker Batterson, it was also a great read as an adult. Now I must admit I have not read The Circle Maker (yet!) but this book was done in an amazing way and I highly recommend it. The sections in the book are:
1. The Legend of the Circle Maker 2. Circle makers 3. The Jericho Miracle 4. Praying Through
The First Circle - Dream Big 5. Cloudy with a Chance of Quail 6. You Can't Never Always Sometimes Tell 7. The Solution to Ten Thousand Problems
The Second Circle - Pray Hard 8. Persistence Quotient 9. The Favor of Him Who Dwells in the Burning Bush Game of Chicken 10. No Answer
The Third Circle - Think Long 11. Long and Boring 12. The Greatest of them All 13. The Speed prayer 14. Life Goal List
Keep Circling 15. Now There Was One Appendix Notes
Almost every chapter has a personal example that starts with an ideal, goal or prompting from God. Then there is a comparison to a biblical case or story. Then it ends with circling back and Mark and Parker telling us how it came to pass. Each chapter also has three questions that can be used for group discussion, or personal reflection. These questions will help you to go deeper with the material being presented and help you examine your life and practices. This book will confront how you see prayer, what you pray for, how you pray.
Mark states: "Prayer was never meant to be a one-sided conversation; it was meant to be a dialogue! Think of Scripture as God's part of the script; and prayer our part." p. 86 Like many of the biblical stories we have a part to play, we need to call out from the side of the road, we need to lower our friends through the hole in the roof, we need to pick up our mat and walk. All depending on what God shows us and our obedience in following him. "The common denominator in each of these stories is holy desperation. People took desperate measures to get to God, and God honored them for it. Nothing has changed. God is still honoring spiritual desperadoes who crash parties and climb trees. God is still honoring those who defy the way things should be with their bold prayers. God is still honoring those who pray with bravery and stubbornness." So pick up the book, read and pray and become a prayer warrior pursuing God and his will, and his solutions to what life throws at you.
I love this book! Batterson has done it again, with the help of his son, Parker. "The Circle Maker - Student Edition" re-tools the original version of "The Circle Maker" to speak clearly to students about truths that will equip them to live a God-honoring life. This version contains questions relevant to students at the end of each chapter and a pretty amazing list of Life Goals by Parker at the end of the book.
I'm convinced that this book can be used to change history by teaching students to engage God with BIG prayers! I have already purchased a copy for my son's youth pastor and I pray that parents and youth pastors across the country will use this book to mentor their students.
I really enjoyed this book. It lends a whole new perspective on prayer and faith. It puts into the readers hands, a more solid way to pray while teaching how to put into practice the patience to wait for our answers from God. Batterson has a charming wit that makes this book reader friendly and memorable. This isn't one of thoes books that you read and forget about. It's a book that you will put into practice and use everyday of your life. It draws you close to God.
This is a great book for those who want to enhance their prayer life and get results from God. This book should be read with an open heart & open mind...then put into practice what is taught in Jesus' Name.
I was given a copy of this book at a youth event and when I started reading it, I had some of the same questions that some of the less favorable reviews on the original version express, like "Should we be building a prayer practice on a legend rather than Scripture?"
But I am very glad I didn't stop there! The authors are very clear that this idea of praying circles is dependent on focusing those prayers on ideas, dreams and impossible notions that are from God's leading, not just our own wish list of desires, and they offer tons of Scripture and Biblical examples to support that. Batterson is not advocating a particular practice or rite that creates a "magic solution" but is encouraging readers to trust a big God to do big things that only He can accomplish. In fact, this particular line made me laugh: "If walking in circles helps you pray with more consistency and intensity, then make yourself dizzy; if not, then find something, find anything, that helps you pray through." (pg 145)
As a student version, I'm not 100% sure that I would expect an average teen to work through and grasp all of the content on their own (it reads like the adult version with some adaptation in the examples), but as a group study, as the basis for discussion, or even as a family read, I still think this is absolutely a recommended title to build and encourage a God-based prayer life. And still definitely worth challenging students with.