I once heard a quote that has become pretty famous within a certain context and among those who would call themselves alumni of Liberty University.
“Nothing of eternal significance happens apart from prayer.”
Practically any Liberty University student who attends convocation, Liberty University’s weekly chapel service, would remember hearing this quote at least once. It would be nearly impossible to attend Liberty even for just a semester without hearing that famous quote by the late Jerry Falwell. I personally believe this quote holds immense value and truth and it has challenged me many times to become a man who prays regularly.
With that said, Mark Batterson wrote Draw the Circle with the idea of challenging/inspiring people to pray. Things happen when God’s people pray. Draw the Circle is a devotional book based off of Mark’s recent book on prayer called The Circle Maker. I have not yet read that book but I have every intention of reading it after going through this one. This book is the third one I have read by Mark Batterson and I can honestly say Mark is an author I enjoy reading. I have recently started listening to his Podcast from National Community Church and his speaking is just as challenging. God has blessed Mark with a great vision and passion for the world and how to reach it with the Gospel. However, Mark does not just write out of a distant knowledge of this topic of prayer; he writes from experience. The story of how National Community Church began is one of how important prayer is and should be to followers of Christ. Time after time, God would open doors that only He could open so only He received the glory. And Mark is humble enough to give God the glory for all that has happened.
With Draw the Circle, Mark gives 40 short readings that are full of reasons and challenges to pray. Each story leaves you inspired to begin to pray and to keep praying. He shares personal stories as well as testimonies from people in his church as well as people God has brought into his life. And the great thing about each story is they leave you hungry. Some stories have the knack to make someone believe nothing like that would ever happen to them, it is just a “feel-good” story. The stories Mark share are all the type that make you realize they could happen to you, if you would only take the chance and make praying a priority in your life. This book makes you anxious to begin praying and gets you excited to see what God is going to do, even if you wind up having to wait years before God answers your prayer.
Which brings me to the next great thing about this book; the honesty that Mark writes with is reassuring. He does not lead readers on to thinking that as soon as they start praying, all their prayers will be answered. On the contrary, he is not so naïve to only share stories of successes in praying and quick answers, he also shares those stories where years pass before an answer is given. Even in this light though, it does not take away from the challenge to pray.
I am going to keep this review short because I believe anyone should just go pick up Draw the Circle and read it for yourself. It is worth every minute you take to read it and each day’s reading takes no longer than 5 to 7 minutes so you really have nothing to lose, but so much to gain. This book would even be a great challenge for any church or small group to read through and put into practice as well. So what are you waiting for? Go get a copy for yourself and let it challenge and inspire you to pray, or to keep praying if you are already a prayer warrior. I pray it speaks to you as it did to me.
In compliance with regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I received a complimentary copy of by Zondervan in exchange for this review.