(Excerpt from The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson.)
It was the first century BC, and a devastating drought threatened to destroy a generation — the generation before Jesus. The last of the Jewish prophets had died off nearly four centuries before. Miracles were such a distant memory that they seemed like a false memory. And God was nowhere to be heard. But there was one man, an eccentric sage who lived outside the walls of Jerusalem, who dared to pray anyway. His name was Honi. And even if the people could no longer hear God, he believed that God could still hear them...
With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred eighty degrees. Two hundred seventy degrees. Three hundred sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn. Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. With the authority of the prophet Elijah, who called down fire from heaven, Honi called down rain:
"Lord of the universe, I swear before Your great name that I will not move from this circle until You have shown mercy upon Your children."
History belongs to the intercessors. -Walter Wink
The words sent a shudder down the spines of all who were within earshot that day. It wasn't just the volume of his voice; it was the authority of his tone. Not a hint of doubt. This prayer didn't originate in the vocal chords. Like water from an artesian well, the words flowed from the depth of his soul. His prayer was resolute yet humble, confident yet meek, expectant yet unassuming.
Then it happened.
As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth. An audible gasp swept across the thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi...
It began to rain calmly, peacefully. Each raindrop was a tangible token of God's grace. And they didn't just soak the skin; they soaked the spirit with faith. It had been difficult to believe the day before the day. The day after the day, it was impossible not to believe.
Eventually, the dirt turned into mud and back into dirt again. After quenching their thirst, the crowd dispersed. And the rainmaker returned to his humble hovel on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Life returned to normal, but the legend of the circle maker had been born...
Image by Chris Sampson (051111-050 CPS Uploaded by Ultra7) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
[Honi] knelt down in the circle he had drawn. And that's all it takes to change the course of His-story. In the words of theologian Walter Wink, "History belongs to the intercessors." ...
Never underestimate the power of one prayer circle... When you draw a circle and drop to your knees [it] changes the forecast of your life. It's always cloudy with a chance of quail.
You can't fell a fifty-foot wall, but you can march around Jericho... You can't make it rain, but you can draw a circle in the sand.
When you draw a circle and drop to your knees... it's always cloudy with a chance of quail.
Don't let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can. Draw the circle. Don't let who you are not keep you from being who you are. You are a circle maker.
Don't attempt this by yourself. Israel had an army. You need to invite others into your prayer circle. Together you will form a prayer circle. And when two or three agree in prayer, double circling their God-ordained dreams, all bets are off.
Learn more about The Circle Maker.
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