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Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long.
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
I have just started “The Circle Maker” and for the past month I’ve had a 19 year old cousin who has been in a comma becuase he had muliple heart attacks and flatlined. It has been something my family has circled. Today he woke up and knew his name and able to respond, which is another miracle because they were worried about brain damage. Loving the book so far!
- Robert, Fort Walton Beach, FL
In June 2008, I prayed that God would bless my daughter with a baby girl. I prayed that God would bring the baby in June 2009. I prayed that God would name the baby Zoe.
My daughter had lost her first baby, a girl, at 20 weeks gestation, 6 months before I started praying for Zoe.
Zoe means life in Greek. My daughter’s husband is of Greek descent. This name would have special meaning to them. My daughter did not know I was praying for any of this.
I also prayed for this because I was a new christian & I had been thru a lot of heartache & loss with my own children. I wanted God to answer my prayer as a way of Him showing me that He does answer prayer & that Zoe would be a real live something I could touch, feel & hug that would let me know that God answers prayer.
- Bonnie, El Paso, TX
I got an advanced copy of the book in October. My wife and I were at a place of despair in our church planting experience prompted by a seeming lack of laborers, funds, and encouragement! The Circle Maker was a lifeline! The first two chapters alone reinvigorated my prayer life. I started to believe again. As a result, I continued to draw circles around our prayer for God to send laborers who were competent in ministry. We needed help! Within a month, a couple and their son from Ohio were sitting in our service saying that someone’s prayers had pulled them there! The couple has been in ministry for 25 years and their 27 year old son is competent as well. They are working on wrapping up details so they can move to help us and their son is already in town and has been a great blessing. God answers prayer!
- Kent, Cambridge, MA
First read completed. 2nd one on the way. There are so many nuggets in this book that I can’t wait to unpack it.
I do admit that I was really convicted of a few things while reading.. not praying big enough prayers… not praying long enough… not speaking enough scripture when I pray.
I did circle something for my daughter in prayer this week, actually started on Monday morning. She is off to Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) with Adventures in Missions to lead a group for 6 months starting in January and was $600 short of her 75% funding requirement that had to be met by the 30th of the month. Her miracle happened last night when a friend from church stopped by and gave us a check for her. We didn’t open it until she got home from work. You already know what the amount was! I know not all prayers I pray are going to be answered like this, but it sure was cool to see this one answered so quickly.
- Tim, Atlanta, GA
In Mississippi 50 years ago there was a horrible drought. A rural church with lots of farmers in the congregation decided to do something about it by holding an emergency prayer meeting at the church. One of the farmers came to the prayer meeting dressed in waders! Some people thought he was crazy, but this farmer actually believed that God was going to answer their prayer so he dressed for the miracle. He said he didn’t want to walk home wet. Well…he didn’t. But everyone else did.
- Adam Wyatt