Thinking Out Loud

December 22, 2011

Book Review: The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Before this blog started four years ago, I was already a regular reader of Evotional, the blog of Mark Batterson, pastor of National Capital Church (NCC)in Washington, DC, recently reformatted as .  In the short space that followed, Mark has written In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase, Soul Print and Primal; while at the same time NCC continues to expand with new campus locations in movie theaters located along the DC Metro route.

With The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, Mark moves over to Zondervan; borrowing a story from Jewish antiquity about Honi The Circle Maker and propelling that story into a challenge to all of us “draw circles around” the thing or group of things that constitute our greatest needs or righteous desires.

In many ways, The Circle Maker follows in a line from two titles you may already have on your bookshelf: Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala and Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick.

The former comparison is appropriate because this is a book about vision birthed in prayer, though unlike the large prayer gatherings described by Cymbala at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, much of the growth at NCC began with Mark quietly walking around sections of Washington, often not fully cognizant of what he was praying for or what the answer would look like when it appeared.  It was only when there was a major development in the life of the church that Mark realized that his prayers had become reality in ways he never dreamed.

The latter comparison is apt because this is a book about praying the big prayers, the impossible prayers.  Since Furtick’s book is more recent, this might be a good book to read as a sequel to the Charlotte pastor’s challenge to pray “audacious” prayers.   All three books are faith-inspiring, and all are written from the perspective of pastors building churches but with connection to your biggest hopes and prayer concerns.  Mark Batterson also encourages readers to pray intensely and to pray continually over the long term for the big prayers that can result in big answers.

Ironically, there is a section in the book where Mark shares his “bucket list” of things he’d love to do, and one of them is to “write a New York Times bestseller;” and today Mark reports the book is in fact to be mentioned in the January 1st list as a recommended title.  Perhaps you’ll want to add a checkmark to that item when you get your own copy!

  • Read a sample of The Circle Maker at Christianity 201
  • Watch a preview of the DVD curriculum Zondervan has developed for the book at YouTube.


  1. Greetings from Zambia! I want to share an answer to prayer. We have been participating in Outreaches to very rural areas in Zambia. We go out with students from the Bible College where we teach. We show the Jesus Film, and do Men’s, Women, and Children’s ministry, and also preach. The students also counsel those desiring spiritual help. We have experienced God’s favor and many times the whole village including the Headman will come to the outreach services. But we had a problem, no reliable equipment, at times we would rent a generator, or haul our TV with us in the back of Land Cruiser or borrow a small TV. There were problems with that; last time our dvd player was burnt up by the generator operator, or the screen would be so small not everyone could see, or hear the message of the Jesus film. So we and our team were praying for equipment, but I felt I should not tell our overseas supporters, just pray. This week we recieved an email from a church saying they had money for us but it had to be used for audio visual equipment if we had any needs for that. I happily told them of our need, it seems we will be able to buy equipment for the college and the outreaches so we are so grateful!

    Comment by Cindy Helvie — January 4, 2012 @ 6:20 am

  2. I am an account exec at WAVA Radio in VA/DC. I downloaded a sample and am looking forward to reading the entire book, “The Circle Maker”.. God Bless you.

    Sue Gallion
    WAVA 105.1 FM

    Comment by Sue Gallion — February 8, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  3. Two years ago I had received an injury at the hands of two men. My lt arm was broken in seven areas. I had no use of my hand and fingers for nine months. God had healed my left hand completely. I am now able

    Comment by anne — February 16, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  4. My husband and I have been married for 11 years. I have always worked outside the home and my husband John is on disability with Epilspy. For the last 6 years we have prayed that God would heal John, or lessen the amount of seizers John was having. Well Praise God John has been seizure free for 1 and a half years. He is now trying for his drivers license. Praise you Jesus, we are so thankful. Jeri and John from Indianola, Iowa

    Comment by Jeri Ringle — March 6, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  5. The Word of God speaks whispers loudly to my soul. And authors like Batterson echo that refrain. I have just finished the book, found it profoundly simple…the wisdom contained provided me many “ah ha” moments — like tasting chocolate for the first time again. Refreshing, challenging, basic truth expressed in an exciting new way. As I closed the final page, I felt challenged and expired to “test it”.

    Comment by Linda Lafoon — June 14, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  6. […] For a previous review here of The Circle Maker click here. […]

    Pingback by Mark Batterson Goes All In on Newest Book | Thinking Out Loud — October 10, 2013 @ 10:11 am

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