For the past few months, I’ve been including Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson in my daily devotions. It is a must-read for anyone who has a dream, a request, or a concern that they want to bring before the Lord. It taught me some valuable insight and provided challenges that made me think, and prayer, differently than I had before.
I started in 2017 with a “read through the Bible” plan on Bible.com called the Solid Life “Whole Bible” Reading Plan. I start off my devotional time with reading and recording in my prayer journal any verses that stand out or speak to me. After that, I would read one of the prayer challenges, then journal on the topic and listen to what God had to say about it. It’s become a very big part of my prayer life to not only bring my concerns to God, but to literally ask God what He has to say to me. It’s at that time, when I’ve been fully concentrating on God, that I allow myself to just listen and write down anything I’m feeling. I’ll admit, He hasn’t answered every one of my questions, but I’ve received true insight during those times and I thank Him for the promises he has given me.
Draw the Circle made listening to God a daily task, and while I cannot say that I am confident that everything I write down in my prayer journal is truly from Him, I’ve been learning how to discern. Day 1, page one started off with a bang: “And when you pray to God regularly, irregular things happen on a regular basis.”
Have I seen this happen? Yes, and I can say that over the 4 months I took reading through this book (I wanted time to mull and digest the chapters), I have seen some pretty irregular, crazy things happen. I’ve learned about getting into the scriptures, intercession, praying for what I cannot do and doing what I can, and simply handing things over to God.
I would say the most challenging and convicting day for me was day 1. As it talks about getting ready, the author also speaks about allowing God to create the connections and opportunity for us. As much as I trust my heavenly Father, I trust that if I don’t work at something, it isn’t going to happen. But there is such freedom in saying, Lord, I know I cant meet the right people/ go to the right places/ afford that next step. But if this is your will, you can make it happen. There is something truly freeing, and terrifying, about giving up control and handing it over to God.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“We need to ask God to give us the grace to sustain, the strength to stand firm, and the willpower to keep on keeping on.”
“When our circumstances don’t change, it’s often an indication that God is trying to change us.” (Very relevant to me right now!)
“When we act in faith, we aren’t risking our reputation; we are risking God’s reputation because He’s the one who made the promise in the first place.”
“Don’t just pray on your dream; act on it. Act as if God is going to deliver on His promise.”
“He can orchestrate divine appointments with anyone, anytime, anywhere. Lord surprise us!”
These are just a few of the dozens of sections I underlined. If you need a jolt to your prayer life, I would encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and straight praying circles around the thinks God has laid on your heart.