Don’t Pray in Circles!


Respected blogger and pastor Tim Challies wrote this piece in 2014.  Many people are unfamiliar with Mark Batterson and his book The Circle Maker so I thought it would be a good idea to share what’s been going on in some evangelical circles because of what Batterson teaches in his book.  Tim also wrote a scathing review of Batterson’s book before he wrote this piece and provided a link to it.  Believers must heed Tim’s warning: Don’t pray in circles!


Buy the book and you’ll learn how to draw prayer circles around your family, your job, your problems, and your goals.

Praying in circles is fast becoming a thing in some Evangelical churches. People have been taught to draw circles around the things they want, or even to walk in circles around the things they are sure the Lord ought to grant them. In either case, they are to pray around those things and in that way to claim them for the Lord.

The inspiration, I suppose, is Mark Batterson and his book The Circle Maker (my review). Batterson bases his prayer technique on a story from the life of Honi Ha-Ma’agel, a Jewish scholar who lived in the first century B.C. Jewish history records him as being a miracle-worker in the tradition of Elijah and Elisha. Here is a brief account of his greatest miracle:

On one occasion when God did not send rain well into the winter (in the geographic regions of Israel, it rains mainly in the winter), he drew a circle in the dust, stood inside it, and informed God that he would not move until it rained. When it began to drizzle, Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain; it then began to pour. He explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the rain calmed to a normal rain.

Batterson explains, “The prayer that saved a generation was deemed one of the most significant prayers in the history of Israel. The circle he drew in the sand became a sacred symbol. And the legend of Honi the circle maker stands forever as a testament to the power of a single prayer to change the course of history.”

And it is from Honi that Batterson found the inspiration to begin praying in circles. In his book he describes many occasions in which he has prayed in circles and seen the Lord grant what he asked. The promise of his book is that it “will show you how to claim God-given promises, pursue God-sized dreams, and seize God-ordained opportunities. You’ll learn how to draw prayer circles around your family, your job, your problems, and your goals.”

I want to give you three reasons not to pray in circles in the manner Batterson  prescribes.  Continue reading


The Comments Mark Batterson Doesn’t Want You To See–Apprising Ministries

Excerpt:  Below I [Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith] am posting the comments I left on Mark Batterson’s Blog today that he does not want you to see and therefore deleted. …  This is the typical behavior of seeker-driven / purpose-driven “pastors”. Anyone who would dare to critique them Biblically or call them out regarding their false teaching and scripture twisting are NEVER honestly answered. Instead, they are brushed aside and are branded “pharisees”.

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9 Responses to Don’t Pray in Circles!

  1. Darrel January 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

    The last of Tim’s three reasons is short and to the point (all three were good). The current teaching in too many ‘circles’ today is that we can create something by our thoughts, wishes, etc. The teaching goes further to state that we can “command” God to do our bidding over and above His revealed will to the point that we no longer need to “ask” but “command” God to do as we say. This stems from the “you are gods” nonsense taught across the board in charismatic goat barns. If Isaiah 14 goes off in your head that’s a good thing–read it again to see the source of the lie being taught.

    As for Batterson rejecting comments, what else is new? He, like all too many others, have lifted themselves up to a position of infallibility, above question or reproach, and will never subject themselves to the scrutiny of a competent Berean. After all, his image is the most important asset he has—his ability to exegete Scripture is nonexistent according to his own words. Batterson’s educational attainments, peer reviews, years of “service” in his gospel (obviously not the real Gospel) are meaningless and worthless not only those who listen to him, but also to God, whom he claims to love and serve. Yet he is found to serve His enemies and exalt himself above the Lord. It is obvious that MB is a product of those who taught him, no matter who his teachers were. It is also obvious that he is twofold more a child of hell than were his teachers (Matt. 23:15) which makes those who believe and further his lies twofold more a child of hell than MB (and fourfold more than the ones who taught MB).

    • Paul, The Marketplace Minister January 14, 2016 at 7:27 am #

      As typical, BR is right on! At first I was skeptical, then I checked it out. If Honi did not repent and turn over his life to Jesus Christ and trust in His saving grace, then those who practice circle prayers are learning from a master who is tormented in Hell and is bound for the judgement and will be cast in the lake of fire, the second death. I think I’d rather follow the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.

  2. Lee Hicks January 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    This is new to me, as I haven’t heard of the practice until now.

    It strikes me as being a variation of the word of faith teaching and mentality, seeking to put mankind in control. The terrible view taught is one of God as the delivery boy, which has no relation to the God of creation.

    When believers pray, there are three possible answers from God: Yes, No, or Wait, and we are always to pray according to His will (not as petulant children demanding more candy).

    One Bryan Duncan song says it well: “God knows, and I don’t, what’s good for me”.

    Teachings on praying in circles, word of faith practices, positive confession, and prosperity doctrines, seek to turn prayer on it’s head.
    They seek to put man in charge, instead of praying and trusting that God knows far better than we do what answer He should give.

    If the approach to prayer reeks of man-centered pride and arrogance, avoid it like the plague, for the plague would be far less damaging.

  3. Jeanne Smith January 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    The practices that Mark Batterson and others like him are teaching people how to use ritual magic to gain what they want. How scary that the church is engaging in witchcraft. I am thankful for faithful pastors who preach the Word not Wicca-like practices.

  4. David Graham October 31, 2019 at 1:58 pm #

    I think you’d all benefit from actually ready the book. This article mis-characterizes the concept of “drawing a circle” around something in prayer. It is not always a literal circle and there is no witch-craft involved such as you would be lead to believe. The power is not in “circling” something physically in prayer. The power is the commitment to come to God with an earnest and steadfast heart, and believing in the power of God to work a miracle in any given situation. This isn’t “name it and claim it theology”. It’s expecting God to do great things in ways we might not expect. The circle analogy is a reminder of how to fully devote yourself to coming before God with the things you are confronting in life and ask His presence to move in the situation.
    Instead of attacking fellow believers with these sort of scathing reviews, I’d submit that your time might be better spent on your knees.

  5. Paul Jones September 26, 2020 at 8:59 am #

    Amen! I agree with you David.

  6. Lou Amato December 24, 2020 at 6:21 am #

    After reading 2 of Mark Battersons books, I agree totally with you, David and well said. Mark even states this unmistakably in his books.

  7. Ashley April 1, 2021 at 1:22 pm #

    Pick up your bible, Jesus told us how to pray, read Revelation 1-3 Also if you follow MB and his teachings you are no different then the Jews of Jesus’ day, you have ears, yet can not hear, eyes yet can not perceive.

  8. Michael Moore June 12, 2021 at 10:36 am #

    The “drawing circles” gimmick is first and foremost a money-making scheme. Look at all the spin-off books, cards, and other products Batterson is now selling.