Customer Reviews: Praying Circles around Your Children
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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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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 October 10, 2014
The book, in my opinion, is biblically sound. The author explains five topical ways we can pray for our children (he calls each of these "circles"). These circles include:
1. Praying the promises of God
2. Making a prayer list
3. Creating a Prayer Mantra (basically a chosen verse for your child)
4. Praying in circles, (kind of making your family your prayer partner)
5. Praying through the bible
This is a great list and a wonderful way to pray for your children and grandchildren.

Here's what I didn't like about the book.
1. There are not a wide variety of examples within the book. Most of the stories given are from the authors own family. I appreciate the author's first hand experience however, in order to reach a larger audience I think it beneficial to use many different family experiences.
2.There is no example of serious difficulties. His is a family in which both parents believe and if they or their children have faced deep struggles, he does not share them. You do not need to have a "normal" family to be a praying parent and I wish he had shown examples of praying through hard times.
3. Chapters don't always feel cohesive. For instance, in the chapter "Praying through the bible" he has a section discussing not being offended when our prayers go unanswered, along with a section he calls "hyperlinked". These portions really are not linked to praying through the bible and would have served better in other parts of the book.

Overall I would not recommend this book. A better read, in my opinion, would be "The Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian. It is a more comprehensive book with deeper instruction and more varied examples.
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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 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 January 10, 2013
About the Book:

Mark Batterson shares a perfect blend of biblical yet practical advice that will revolutionize your prayer life by giving you a new vocabulary and a new methodology. You'll see how prayer is your secret weapon. Through stories of parents just like you, Batterson shares five prayer circles that will not only help you pray for your kids, but also pray through your kids.

Batterson teaches about how to create prayer lists unique to your family, claim God-inspired promises for your children, turn your family circle into a prayer circle, and discover your child's life themes. And he not only tells you how, he illustrates why.

As Batterson says, "I realize that not everyone inherited a prayer legacy like I did, but you can leave a legacy for generations to come. Your prayers have the power to shape the destiny of your children and your children's children. It's time to start circling."

About the Author:

Mark Batterson serves as the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D. C. Recognized as "one of America's 25 most innovative churches," NCC is one church with seven locations. Mark's blog ([...]) and webcast ([...]) also reach a virtual congregation around the world. Mark is the author of several bestselling books, including New York Times Bestseller - The Circle Maker and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. He and his wife, Lora, live on Capitol Hill with their three children. You can follow Mark on Twitter: @markbatterson

My Review:

Bathing your children in prayer is really the only answer you have to life's little problems and worries that seem to creep up from time to time. I have very real recollections of my mother discerning at her bedside for her entire family. Her tear soaked bedside a reminder of the prayers she sent heavenward. She was always standing in intercessory prayer for my sisters and me. That Christian woman, my momma, knew how to get things to look better for us. The answer to it all was to go to the Lord in prayer and cover her children.

I'm eternally grateful that God gave me a mother who was not afraid to stand in our place and kneel before him and bathe us in prayer. She was a terrific mom and seeing her do that time and again was a testament to me when raising my children. This will span generations which is exactly what Mark is trying to teach us. I have definitely followed by example by covering my children with the ultimate protection Jesus' blood. Mark Batterson has written a book that is the companion to his earlier book The Circle Maker. He tells you exactly how powerful prayer is and how this is the only thing you as a parent will be able to do to fight the evil that is ready to come after our children. He shows you that it is very important for you to cover them in prayer because the enemy.... is not far behind. For those of you that would like to purchase a copy of this book please go to this link.

**Disclosure** This book was provided to me for free through Zondervan Publishing for my honest review.
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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 May 21, 2015
I didn't expect this book to be like it was. I guess I was expecting more of a how to. This gave me more of why I should pray circles around my children. I know it is important to do so, they are the future of our world, and they are entrusted to me while on this planet. This book made me see that I not only need to be praying for their futures, but for the present. For the children they interact with and the teachers and staff who influence them. The book went on to give me practical ways to use scripture to pray over them. As I am reading the Bible, I am looking for verses that I can use to pray over my kids.

I think this is an excellent book. It was pretty short (only about 113 pages on my kindle.) I finished in less then two weeks of reading a chapter a night.
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on December 31, 2012
It has been a long time since I have read a book so immediately applicable, a book that literally drove me to my knees. It is a book that instilled a greater desire and conviction of the need for prayer and ways to pray specifically. But this book is much more than just a guide book. It is amazing that a book of just over 100 pages can have so much power and an incredibly lasting impact. This book was so powerful I did not trust myself to write a review at first; I waited until after a second reading and a month had passed to have some more perspective. All I can say is that it truly is an amazing book. I honestly believe that every Christian parent should read this book to be better equipped to pray for their children.

My first time reading this book I highlighted 20 passages. I have pulled out some of the best to highlight for you in small glimpses, some of the knowledge and wisdom that this book will impart.

Mark starts off by acknowledging that becoming a praying parent is hard work. To be disciplined to pray for our children is work and many in family life start to let things slide. "You don't become a praying parent by default. You do it by design, by desire, by discipline. Spiritual disciplines take sheer determination, but if you determine to circle your children in prayer, you will shape their destinies, just like Susanna Wesley shaped the destinies of her children. Your prayers will live on in their lives long after you die. Your prayers for your children are the greatest legacy you can leave." p. 18. From there he moved on to remind us that all our prayers must pass two tests: "It's imperative to distinguish between your will and God's will. Every prayer, including your prayers for your children, must pass a twofold litmus test: your prayers must be in the will of God and for the glory of God. ... Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God." p. 20-21. We need to pray God's will and God's glory or else we are just not doing it right.

Mark's earlier book, The Circle Maker, has been immensely popular. This book is an off-shoot but can easily be read without reading the first one. Mark States: "Drawing prayer circles is a metaphor that simply means "to pray without ceasing." It's praying until God answers. It's praying with more intensity, more tenacity. It's not just praying for; it's praying through. ... We need to start praying ALAT prayers - as long as it takes. That's what praying circles is all about. It's resolving in your heart of hearts that you will pray until the day you die." p. 29 And that is what God is after for us as parents, to be Prayer Warriors in our children's corner, interceding for them, to stand between them and the enemy and them and the world, to raise them up in the ways of God. "Parenting is the hardest thing you'll ever do. And the more you love your kids, the harder it is." p. 31. The more we love, the more we can be hurt.

Finally, he reminds us this will be a life-long journey. "Does this mean the final battle has been fought? We know better; we're parents! The challenges never end, but we need to celebrate our victories along the way. And for the record, prayer is the way we fight our battles. Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you. Secret prayer is our secret weapon." p. 33, 34. We will be praying until we go home to God or until Christ comes again.

This was an incredible little book. I cannot say how beneficial it was to my prayer life and know I will be reading many more of Batterson's books in the months to come. Give it a try - it is more than worth the low price tag!
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