Thursday, August 16, 2012

Drawing Circles in the Sand

Before I get to far into reading the new selection for the Chick Chat Book Club for August (Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst) I wanted to touch on last month’s challenging book – “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson – and encourage you to read it if you haven’t yet. 

“The Circle Maker” begins with the story of Honi, a religious sage in first century BC. Honi was a man who was known by the folks in the village where he lived to have a special and close relationship with God, a knowledge they themselves didn’t really grasp. He had “made” it rain before, and now after a year of drought they were seeking Honi’s help again.
They needed LOTS of rain.
So Honi stood up in front of that village and literally drew a circle in the sand and out loud promised God that “I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon your children.” It wasn’t a challenge to God, it was a vow of faith to stand on a promise of his God to take care of them. He turned several times with his staff making that circle over and over, then inside that circle he stayed.
And it soon began to rain.
The thing is, Honi didn’t know how long it would take. It didn’t matter. He believed God would come to his aid. He knew that He would. Honi knew God well enough to trust He would. Honi wanted others to have that faith too.
The book is full of great stories from modern day ‘circle makers’ Mark Batterson has met, and also his own accounts of drawing and walking circles (think battle of Jericho) are inspiring and challenging. Stories of the miraculous kind – of people drawing circles around some things that others would have long given up on, or maybe not even dared dreamed at all. These made me take a long look at my own dreams, the lack there of in some cases, complacency, procrastination, lack of faith, and weariness I had allowed to set in regarding some things.
I was convicted in my prayer life and fasting. I’m considering the intensity with which I seek Gods answers. And the specificity of my prayers – how often do I actually think completely through what I’m praying for and not give Him a somewhat vague request because I have prayed for it so many times before.
Do I want God to vaguely answer my prayers??
One of the quotes from the book that truly was an eye opener for me was "Our prayers are prophecies, and God Almighty seals them until their designated time."  What if the Israelites had only marched around Jericho six times instead of seven because they got tired and gave up? Imagine being one march away/one prayer away from that audacious answer coming to fruition but you quit just shy of it all – aauurrgghh!!!
So, that’s where you'll find me now, drawing circles. I am standing in two already.  Around someone I love dearly, and a dream I have that I think God has placed in my heart. Things I NEED HIM for. I hope I have what it takes. I know I do because the promises have already been made. The flesh is so weak sometimes though. I am praying for endurance too.
I encourage you to read “The Circle Maker” if you haven’t already – it will change the way you pray, when you pray, how long you pray - both at each time you pray, and sometimes over a long season that may in some cases be years… but if it’s important enough to ask God for, isn’t it important enough to keep praying about it until He answers? To find the promise in it and stand on it? How long are we willing to stand, to pray, if it will show the world that He is a God who loves keeping His promises?!

Joyful on the Journey