I recently finished reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I have been a fan of his writings since the first time I read In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day. His life, his faith, his teachings – all seem so simple when you read his words. Yet they have had a powerful impact on my own life, faith and I hope my teachings. The Circle Maker begins with the sharing of the true legend of Honi the circle maker, a first century Jewish sage whose bold prayer ended a drought and saved a generation.
This book on prayer has been especially challenging to me. Prayer is not new to me. I have understood the premise of prayer for a long time. We recently had a discussion on the Lord’s Prayer in our community group that blended with this book well. Cyndi and I have had numerous conversations over the past few weeks about prayer – what it is, what it isn’t, why God answers some and it seems He doesn’t answer others, how we pray, where we pray and even why we pray.
Most of my life I have been hesitant to pray specifically for personal things. When our daughter was in ICU for months after her birth 24 years ago, it was hard to pray for certain things – simply because we were afraid of the outcome. When the complications surrounding the pregnancy and birth of our son 20 years ago presented another opportunity for specific prayers – it was hard.
It’s easier for us to pray specifically for others. Cyndi and I stood beside the hospital bed of a friend in 2009 and prayed that God would deliver her twins healthy, with no complications for mom or babies – when doctors where discussing things that weren’t so positive. We prayed, believing that not only God would hear us but that He would act on our prayers – and He did!
Later in 2009 I gathered some friends together on Saturday mornings and we walked an empty field, praying for the kids who would one day play on that land. Praying they would be surrounded by the love of God and would come to have a personal relationship with Him – specifically for kids I don’t know and probably will never meet.
Batterson suggests that sometimes our prayers seem to go unanswered because we are so vague in our conversations with God. I’m committed to stop being vague. I’m committing to bringing specific prayers before Him.
This week my prayer life changed. I have become more specific. I have become more intense. I have become more consistent. I have become more bold. And not just for myself.
I’m reminded of Psalms 84:11 – a verse many of us know and recognize: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
It’s time for me to start claiming more of the promises of God. Circling them if you will. And not just praying for them, but praying through them!