Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: The Circle Maker

I want to preface this review by telling you: for Lent, I've given up my computer during the girls' awake hours. They nap a couple hours most days and go to bed around 8 pm; still, I've struggled more than I'd like to admit. I'm praying for the fortitude to continue on this path after Easter because I know: this way is better for us.

So I've been reading more books than blogs, and I've just finished The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Rachel gave me this book--my third by Batterson--and it's excellent.

As with In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase, Batterson overlaps some stories. I would've organized the book slightly differently. (Chapter 15 "Life Goal List" could've easily been folded into the first of Batterson's three circles: "Dream Big," and I think that section of the book would've been stronger for it.) I'll admit, too: Batterson challenges my faith less than Peggy Joyce Ruth of Psalm 91.

Still? Batterson is brilliant, and his thinking--while profound at points--goes down smoothly thanks to his conversational style of writing.

Batterson's other two circles are "Pray Hard" and "Think Long." In terms of praying hard, Batterson encourages boldness and persistence in prayer, tenacity of faith, and the praying of scripture. He writes: "Praying hard is hard because you can't just pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you" (112), and the work to which he refers requires discomfort and inconvenience.

So far as thinking long goes, Batterson assures: our prayers matter forever--not just for today. Additionally, he writes with insight of the biblical Daniel: his prayer routine and posture, his fasting, his integrity.

I know I'll return to this book many times and hope you'll make a point of reading it. Batterson writes: "Don't let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can. Draw the circle. Don't let who you are not keep you from being who you are. You are a circle maker." And I agree with him; I think I'm a circle maker, and I think you're a circle maker, too.

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