Tell Your Story
Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long.
Last fall, our church began a series on the Circle Maker. My husband, Ben, and I allowed our 5 year old son, Ethan, to stay in the main service instead of going to children’s church because he said he wanted to hear more about Honi. On Monday, November 5th, Ethan came to me and told me he had just prayed up in his bed in his room. I told him that was great and asked what he prayed for. “A baby.” He said. Again, I told him that was great and that we were all praying for a baby. He said, “No Mom, I prayed for a baby by Sunday or Monday.” I was shocked to say the least. When our son was 2 1/2 we experienced the stillbirth of our daughter, Shyla Joy, due to a blood clotting disorder we didn’t know I have. A year later, we also lost a son, Jakin Isaac, during pregnancy due to an unrelated heart condition. As a social worker, adoption had been in my vocabulary for a long time, so just months after our 2nd loss we started the process of international adoption. A year later, we were approached by a friend of a family member and asked to adopt her baby due in March of 2012. We agreed and were present for his birth, named him and took him home from the hospital. A couple of days later, his birth mother contacted us and said she could not go through with the adoption plan. We gathered all the baby things we had for him (she had nothing) and we brought him and all our baby things to her. We have kept in touch and we know God has big plans for our “son” Samuel. So in less than three years our 5 year old had experienced the loss of 3 siblings. He remembers both my pregnancies and still, a year later, talks about Samuel.
After Ethan told me he prayed for a baby by Sunday or Monday, we talked about how God could do anything, but even if we don’t have a baby by Sunday, we would still love and trust Him. The rest of the week, Ethan continued to talk about “our baby” saying things like, “You need to pack your bags because you’re going to have to go to the hospital to get our baby.” and he told me I needed to get the nursery ready. Since it was November, we talked every night about Thankfulness. Ethan told me on Tuesday he was thankful for our baby. As a Mama, I was wrestling with how to explain to him it might not happen (oh ye of little faith) because we were still near the bottom of a very long list in the country we were adopting from.
I also work for an adoption agency and every once in a while we get emails about special situations.
On Friday, November 9, I couldn’t sleep, so I got up early, read my Bible, and checked my emails. I had gotten an email from our agency telling me of a newborn baby girl several states away in the NICU that needs a family. There was a special situation and this precious girl needed a family…tomorrow. I walked into the next room and laughingly asked my husband if he wanted to fly to North Dakota this weekend. He just stopped what he was doing and said, “Whyyyy?” I told him about the email and he said to at least look into it and see if we are eligible.
After a few phone calls and emails, it was confirmed that, if we said yes, we could adopt this precious child. She had a long list of scary diagnosis, but I took one look at the photo they sent me and knew God was already healing her. I tried to handle all the talking from a different room so Ethan wouldn’t get his hopes up if we were not allowed to adopt her, but he ran in the room and saw her picture on the laptop before I could stop him. He smiled and said, “That’s our baby! When are you going to get her?”
The next day, we were on a flight. We laughed as we remembered Ethan’s prayer that we would have a baby by Sunday or Monday and realized he prayed this prayer 24 hours before she was born. And since our flight was on Saturday, we said that God was even answering his prayer a day early. Well….after an earthquake, a blizzard, a canceled layover, lost luggage, a rental car, a closed interstate, and a night in a hotel, we arrived to the hospital where our daughter was waiting SUNDAY, November 11th.
There are pages of mini circles that were answered to get us there (including a friend who met us at a Starbucks in Fargo to give us coats she was getting ready to donate, since ours were in our “lost” luggage
and it was 7 degrees and the coats just happened to be the EXACT brand, color and size by husband had just told me he wanted for Christmas).
God has answered SO MANY prayers when it comes to our daughter, Arabelle. Her name, by the way, means “An Answer to Prayer.” All of her original diagnosis have either been completely healed or changed completely. She is a healthy happy 5 month old girl and Ethan is such an amazing big brother.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing this book and playing such a huge part in our son’s faith and prayer life. He is our prayer warrior and will pray for any one any time. While we were still out of state with Arabelle, he would call us and say, “What else can I pray for? God answers my prayers!”
For me it all started with getting in a a book group here in Edmonds who were doing “in a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day”. I loved it so much it was the first book I shared with my friend who was just beginning her amazing journey with Jesus. She loved it so much she looked into what else he writer may have written. I think she had read all of Mark Batterson’s books by the time the Circle Maker was just coming out. She invited me to read it along with her and we purchased two copies.
After seeing how these insights have affected our lives and grown us up in prayer and vision, we wanted to share it with everyone one!
Our church has always been a praying church, here in the northwest, in fact, that’s pretty much what we are known for. Corporate prayer meetings every Tuesday night where 400-500 people gather to call on The Lord. Our pastor calls it the most important meeting in the life of our church.
As a Fifty year old church, we have most recently been focused on discipleship and our stewardship of the people God has given us. Because of that, we are moving from a programatic church to a small group focused church.
The timing could not have been more perfect to introduce this book to our small groups! I am excited to say that we are now hosting five different Col/20s groups and one morning ladies group using The Circle Maker.
We have only just begun our 12 week journey together and I have already seen spiritual lights turning on! I love what God will do! His Kingdom will be advanced as this generation takes hold of God’s promises for themselves and sees His mighty hand move on what they circle in Jesus’ Name!
Many thanks from Westgate Chapel in Edmonds, WA
- Terri - Edmonds, WA
Let me start off saying PRAISE GOD for you Mark and the lions you have chased. I am so inspired by your writing and even more so inspired by your ability to love God so much. Circle Maker revolutionized my prayer life and continues to help me pray through my God-ordained circumstances. One thing that Circle maker reminded me of was how important physical posture is in getting your mind into a prayer posture. God has prepared me over the past two years to witness and show my dad His love, and one day on the phone from 700+ miles away (on my knees in my office), my father came to Christ. This day will forever be imprinted on my brain and I thank you Mark for showing how to pray through and be an example of God’s love. Really would enjoy praying on the roof of Ebenezer’s!
- Tyler - Jonesborough, TN
Im only 4 chapters in and this book in changing my life and my familys life…. I have alway stuggled with anrgy and nothing that i have done to this point has seemed to help. I remember a freind from church saying that it was a good book so i got it and i sat on for over a year.. i decided a couple of days ago that i would get it out and start reading it. and i have learned to start circling what i struggle with in prayer and praise it through…. I would like to thank God from giving you a word that spoke so deeply to me… thank u
- Kristina - Stephens City, VA
Just got done reading - one of the most Holy Spirit-inspired books that I have read in a while. Couldn’t put it down - liek God was speaking directly too me as I read! Faith builder - encouraged me to follow through with my dream to create a weekly YouTube volg-style series for our local Chi Alpha campus ministry to expand our reach and sphere of influence.
- Kelton - Arlington, Texas
Comments In October of 2012, I decided to lead my first small group on The Circle Maker, the series my church, Capital Christian Center, was doing for the fall. I wanted to back out several times, as I was nervous about leading prayer. I had never prayed out loud, let alone in front of other people. But God put on my heart that I was supposed to lead a small group in my home.
Earlier this year, I had gotten very sick with migraines and vertigo, I was following up on some appointments and had a second MRI in the second week of our Circle Maker series. Two hours before our small group meeting, I was given the diagnosis of a brain aneurysm. I was in shock. I am a divorced mom of four kids. I needed to be there for them. I didn’t want to cancel our Circle Maker group, so I invited them into my living room and gave them the news. We prayed and circled and circled and prayed. Within hours literally hundreds of people around the world were praying for me and my family. I truly felt the love, like never before.
The very next day, I had another follow up test, an MRA. It was a long emotional day of tests, phone calls, texts and prayers. Exactly 24 hours after the aneurysm diagnosis, I was told that there was no aneurysm on the MRA. It was a miracle. God is good!
We finished our Circle Maker series and this is a book I will read over and over. I now pray out loud, on my knees, in tears, on Facebook, through text messages and every other way I can think of to talk to God. There is no prayer too big for my God. It says right on the front flap of The Circle Maker “Is He bigger than a positive MRI…” and the answer is yes! I never thought it would happen to me, but I am so very thankful for God in my life and the miracles he brings.
I want to say Thank you, Mark Batterson, for such an excellent book and look at how we pray and Thank you to my small group and everyone that circled my diagnosis in prayer.
- Amie, Sacramento, CA
from the first time i read this book, i got the experience in every chapter. it’s like an Fantastic Adventure! My father got sick and the doctor asked to do a haemodyalisis once a week because his kidney couldn’t function well. 13 October 2012, i did my first Daniel Fasting, it has a very deep impact for me and my family, 12 October 2012 was the last time my father got haemodyalisis! Praise the lord, His miracle is so real..
Don’t ever stop to circle…
- Yanet - Surabaya, Indonesia
I just thought I’d share this with you because it is really amazing what God can do through prayer! I read Circle Maker earlier this year and decided that I had been praying wimpy prayers. So I started praying bold prayers because I learned that that honors God.
On Thursday, March 22, 2012, I woke up after having the strangest dream that I didn’t recall much of, but I had a heavy impression for the city of Moscow. Not being familiar with foreign affairs, I had no idea what was going on in Moscow. I got up and went to prayer for the people of Moscow, Russia. I was tempted to get online to see what was happening there to more specifically direct my prayers, but I felt like I should leave that in God's hands and just pray. So I did just that. I continued to pray for them over the next few days.
On the following Tuesday morning, I still had this heaviness for Moscow. So I got on to google and typed in Moscow. What happened next just floored me. I found all kinds of news reports of Moscow, Ohio having been devastated by a tornado on March 2nd, 2012. Then I found a youtube video that showed a tour of the tornado ravaged town set to the song “Praise You In The Storm” by Casting Crowns. I burst into tears. Here I had been praying for Moscow, Russia and this was clearly who I should’ve been praying for. I began to pray for the people of Moscow, Ohio.
Being an Ohio resident, I did some research and found that they were merely 2 hours away from me. I started reading the news reports of the incident and found an Assemblies of God church and the contact info for the pastor, Ralph Ollendick, who was right there in Moscow. He had been part of the relief efforts. So I called him and left a message.
While waiting on Ralph’s return call, I called a friend who works in the Senator’s office. He told me that he had gone down there after it happened to help with relief efforts. He told me that no government agencies were helping them financially though. That FEMA would not declare it a disaster site because the city was too small, even though more than 40% of it’s homes had been destroyed. He was appalled that no one was doing anything from the government. Furthermore, that due to flood zoning laws, most people couldn’t afford home insurance, so they had completely lost their homes with no recourse or ability to rebuild. That 70% of the people who lost their homes could not afford to rebuild.
On Wednesday, I finally got a call back from Ralph, the pastor in Moscow, and he told me that the information I had received from my friend in the Senator’s office was true. The Red Cross had been there and plenty of charity organizations had been there, but that what was being provided was food and clothing. What was really needed was shelter. That most of the families had been displaced and were staying with friends. Ralph invited me to come see the damage myself. I found favor with my employer and he gave me the following Friday off.
Now armed with enough information to know how to pray for Moscow, I began to pray about how I could help. I told God that I wanted to take a financial gift down with me. That I’d love to hand the city $10,000, but that I didn’t have that kind of money. So I prayed He’d help me raise that money. As soon as I was done praying, I was hit with the big picture in my heart. $10,000 was a drop in the bucket compared to what these people needed. So I prayed that God would send wealthy business men and women to Moscow. That some corporation would catch wind of the circumstances and be moved with compassion to give big money to this city.
On Friday, I headed down to Moscow, taking along my 10 year old son. We video taped some of the damage and took pictures while we were waiting to meet with the Ralph, the pastor there. He was running late. Upon his arrival, he apologized and said that there was a town meeting called that morning. Apparently, a bank had heard of their plight and had rolled into town that morning and spoke to the mayor. They gave them $5 million in grants to rebuild their city. $5 million! That's rebuilding money! And it was grants! Not money they had to pay back!
I asked Ralph if he knew about this before I spoke with him on Wednesday. He said he did not. That the bank just came into town that morning! You want to talk about boosting my faith! God answered in a big way! God is honored by big bold prayers. I'm humbled He chose me to pray those prayers and overjoyed about how He answered! Thank you for your book and for teaching on prayer in such simple terms. God bless you!
- Aaron - Reynoldsburg, OH
Just started the book and had a deja vu moment. As I was reading about them marching around Jericho and as i was pondering on that I remembered the one of two times I was desperate enough to try this same tactic. I had a 30 ft travel trailer that I did not have need of anymore and also could no longer afford. It was a $19,000 debt. I went out one night and did a march seven times, very quietly though. Long story short a family from Canada came and looked at it. I noticed they were speaking in a language I never have heard before. . They left only to come back a week or two later and wanted to buy it for the full price. I eventually asked them what they were speaking and they answered Hebrew. They had moved from Isreal to Canada to get away from the war. It’s been something I have pondered on but Circle Maker has for sure reminded me of God’s faithfulness, and the power of praying through. Thanks for this book Mark. It will and has got me praying no more vague prayers .
- Justin - Mt. Vernon, Wa
This Circle Maker prayer hasn’t been answered yet, but I sure am enjoying the journey…here’s the story…
In the Spring of 2011, Mark Batterson, talked about his upcoming book the Circle Maker that would come out in December 2011. As we know, it’s the story of how he has asked BIG things from God and prayed over property that he felt God had asked him to pray over. It coincided with a building on 78th street that my husband and I (church planters) felt like God was putting on our hearts for our church. With a nod to the Circle Maker idea, we loaded up our church and went to the property to pray. It ignited our dreams and landed on the front page of the local newspaper. Our church was believing for $2.5 million dollars to buy a building in a not-so-great part of town and change the community.
And for many months, we’ve waited quietly for the miracle that we believe is coming. We haven’t forgotten, but in the meantime, we’ve looked at literally every option just in case God had a different plan. Nothing seemed to settle well in our spirits and so with a little impatience and frustration, we have just kept praying.
Fast forward to November 2011. Since my husband and I have been married, I have regularly asked him the same question, “What do you think God is telling us?” And once again, I prodded his heart to see what was going on in there.
Mark’s answers vary quite a bit. He’s got no ability to sugar-coat anything, so sometimes he flat out says, “I have no idea. Totally unclear on God’s direction right now.” Ironically, I appreciate that answer because the last thing I need is a pastor who comes up with the “right” thing to say that comes from the wrong source. Just say it like it is and we’ll go from there.
Last month, however, he perked up at the question and gave me a very clear answer. He said, “I was listening to a message today that I preached a year ago and the story hit me like a ton of bricks. It was the story about how Moses went to God when the Israelites were begging for meat as they wandered around the desert. God said, “Give them what they ask for.” Long story short, even though Moses deemed this impossible, quail rained down from the sky in droves and overly fed them all!”
Needless to say, I thought this was the oddest answer he had literally ever given me.
That same week we had scheduled Jerry to come and pray with our staff. Jerry is a man who had felt impressed to come to our current rental property five years ago and pray that God would use this corner for His glory. We moved in shortly thereafter. He emailed us last month and told us he had a Word from God for us after He had read about 19 Cents of Faith (the story of our dream for the 78th street building), so we gladly welcomed him into our staff meeting.
Jerry began to speak and from most of our staff’s perspective, it was a simple Word, but Mark began to weep. The Word Jerry spoke, with a humble heart, was the story of the Iraelites begging for meat and God saying, “Give them meat, because I am God and what you see is not even the tip of the iceberg compared to what I can do for you.” It then began to rain quail.
Fast forward to December 2011. The mail came and the book that inspired me so many months ago had arrived. I began to read the Circle Maker and fondly remembered the BIG, audacious goal that God had birthed in our hearts. And then I turned to Chapter 5…Cloudy with a Chance of Quail. Yep, the same story of Moses praying for meat was laid out before me. The third time in three weeks in regards to the same prayer.
Do I think that it’s a coincidence that God has used the same characters with the same Bible story for literally a year now? No, I don’t think this is a coincidence. I think this is confirmation. I think this is God saying, “Listen to me. I can do the impossible and I will. Watch me.”
The story isn’t finished, yet. But I sure can’t wait to flip the page and see what God does next…
- Stacy, Vancouver, WA