Teach us to pray: “Grab some masking tape, make a circle…”

I received a question today from a woman taking Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon Bible Study. One thing Gideon did NOT do was pray by drawing a circle around himself and demanding that the Lord do something in the circle. No, that example came from a scenario Shirer shared outside of Scripture (“extra-Biblical”) as an example, which she herself demonstrated by standing in a circle. She then instructs women to do the same, using masking tape or even a circle of their children’s toys:

Please note that no where in Scripture did anyone ever draw circles around themselves, in either the Old or New Testament. No, circle making comes from a very popular pagan book written by Pastor Mark Batterson called The Circle Maker. In it, he tells of a character who does not appear in Scripture, Honi Ha-Ma’agel, a Jewish scholar who lived in the first century B.C. (For some reason God did not include Honi in any of His breathed-out Word.)

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.”

Batterson began 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.”

Author Tim Challies gives us three reasons not to pray in circles in the manner Batterson prescribes:

It’s Extra-Biblical

What I consider most notable about Batterson’s approach to prayer is that it is extra-biblical. It is not drawn from the New Testament or the Old Testament but from the Talmud. To the Jew the Talmud is the authoritative, binding body of religious tradition; to the Christian it is nothing, no more binding and no more prescriptive than Encyclopedia Britannica. It may be of historical and academic interest, but it does not represent the voice of God to his people. When Batterson prays in circles, he begins with a tradition outside the Bible and then looks within the Scripture to build a shaky support structure.

It’s Un-Biblical

Praying in circles is extra-biblical, derived from a source apart from Scripture. But that’s not all, it’s also patently un-biblical, finding no support in Scripture. It is entirely absent from God’s Word to us. The Bible is not lacking in explicit and implicit teaching when it comes to prayer. Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus as simply and clearly as they could: “Teach us to pray.” When Jesus taught his disciples, he said nothing about prayer circles; if anything, he said the opposite when he told them to pray privately and in a quiet place. When Paul wrote to the people he loved, he often told them how and what he was praying on their behalf, and he said nothing about prayer circles. Praying in circles is absent in any and every form.

It’s Anti-Biblical

Praying in circles is extra-biblical and un-biblical, but it is more than that: it is anti-biblical. It directly violates the principles of prayer. When Jesus teaches us to pray, he teaches us to approach God as a child approaches a father, not marching in circles around him, but simply asking with confidence and humility. To pray in circles is to elevate technique at the expense of the heart behind it. To pray in circles is to attempt to manipulate God by action rather than seeking God by communing with him in his Word and prayer. It is nearly indistinguishable from a name-it-and-claim-it kind of Christianity where the things we visualize and demand are the things God must and will give to us, if only we know how to bend his will to ours.

Pray Boldly

Praying in circles is simply the latest in a long list of techniques to exploit our deep-rooted dissatisfaction with our prayer lives.

Now listen! We need to pray big prayers and bold prayers. Through Christ Jesus we can approach God’s throne with boldness and confidence; we can be like that persistent widow who asks and asks until she receives. The Lord loves to hear us pray and loves to grant what we ask. But not if we attempt to manipulate him by technique.


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

(Updated) Showing in pictures how “The Circle Maker” practice is occult/Wiccan

3 is the Number: The Circle Maker and Wiccan magic

The Circle Maker: Heretical Witchcraft?

Open Letter to Anne Graham Lotz Regarding The Circle Maker

© Berean Research, 2016

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13 Responses to Teach us to pray: “Grab some masking tape, make a circle…”

  1. Sola Scriptura July 8, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

    Hmmm. I think I like how Jesus Christ prayed a little better….

  2. Laurie Race July 8, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Drawing a circle and standing in it is what occultists do when they are calling on the spirits.

    • Faith July 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm #


      That’s what they are bringing into the church; occultism, witchcraft, new age, etc.

      • Kat July 9, 2016 at 1:09 am #

        Drawing a circle is totally unbiblical , nowhere in God’s Word are we suppose to pray in a circle. I’m so saddened that some people have been deceived by this. Our model prayer is The Lord’s Pray which starts out as Our Father in Heaven hallowed be thy name….. Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven. People that are drawing a circle, then praying in that circle are doing what witches do ! agree with what Faith said, it is witchcraft and occultism, we can NOT pray in this manner ! God is sovereign and He is in control. God is not a genie in a bottle either.

        • Faith July 9, 2016 at 8:44 pm #

          Exactly Kat!

          And with movies like ‘the war room,’ the problem is that the whole perspective changes. Instead of humbly and reverently approaching a sovereign, holy, and powerful God and praying according to His will, even if we have specific requests, it has been turned upside down. They make their area the ‘throne room’ by all sorts of rituals from the occult (a sacred space is one of them, which is not like a prayer closet but has occult origins), and to them God is just some magical, mystical force in the universe that they ‘learn’ how to manipulate and harness to their favor. They invoke ‘powers’ by incantations as if calling things into being (as if ‘they’ were god), just like the word faith heresy claims you can do. YOU become the source of power that molds forces around you in your favor to reap material or other benefits, according to YOUR will, as if you were the one who was sovereign. THAT is the occult, (witchcraft, etc.) and that is what they promote by these movies and books. It turns the whole model upside down. God is not a genie in the bottle up to your mercy. God is sovereign and you are up to His mercy. So take heed people, in which of these fashions you pray.

          God bless!

  3. Tim Mackin July 9, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Prayer and fasting. Draw a red circle around your refrigerator and refuse to cross the line on Wednesdays and Fridays for a start.

  4. Manny1962 July 10, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

    Jesus Himself, gave us clear, succinct instructions on how to pray………. Anything else that comes from man is of the devil.

  5. Kimberly Pickron July 10, 2016 at 10:14 pm #

    We need to pray for the United States.. We are under a lot of spiritual warfare!

  6. Manny1962 July 12, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Kimberly,

    We need to pray for the bride, for the faithful, for our children and families. I don’t like to say it, but this country is done, the world is done, we cannot change this mess, this needs nothing short of God’s direct intervention. Revelation tells us about the current situation the world is under, social upheaval, economic stress, leadership crisis, etc……….. Eventually some form of chaos will usher in the antichrist. As sad as it is for many, we, like Lot’s wife, cannot look back, the fictitious vision of the Leave It To Beaver America will never materialize, this country and this world have turned their back on God and Jesus Christ, God is letting man have his way. What’s sneed to do as the bride of Jesus Christ is proclaim the good news of Christ, pray unceasingly and rejoices we see the day growing closer! Pray and don’t fret! Many have already been killed, literally lost their heads for standing up for the name of Jesus Christ, we haven’t had that happen yet, prayThe Lord will provide His sheep respite from the ensuing judgements that are to come! Maranatha! And God bless!

  7. Manny1962 July 12, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    P.S. Pardon my typos, my iPad has a keyboard with a mind of its own!

  8. Tammy Gaddy July 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    I watch this movie War Room and I thought that was good and I know a little bit about the Bible. And I didn’t realize that movie is Satan trying to trick us again thanks for sharing

  9. Nan B. July 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

    Drawing a circle is done before calling down spirits. It is a pagan practice done after the towers/watchtowers are set. Setting watchtowers is forbidden in Levitcus. The circle is drawn in the air using the cleansed Athame. The circle is also known as a circle of power to a practicing pagan or practioner of magick and is used to protect the individual/s from outside evil spirits while at the same time giving power to the individual/s inside the circle during ritual, ritual magick and spell casting. The circe is occult

  10. Anna February 8, 2020 at 6:45 pm #

    You can also find this “prayer” of Honi in the book “Solitary Witch “

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