Mark Batterson, the lead pastor of one of America’s most innovative churches authors an equally innovative little book Praying Circles Around Your Children, published by Zondervan, which is ostensibly an offshoot of his earlier New York Times bestseller The Circle Maker.
Praying Circles Around Your Children basically talks about five biblical and practical ways to circle your children in prayer:
1. Circling the Promises of God
2. Making Prayer Lists
3. Creating Prayer Mantras
4. Forming Prayer Circles
5. Praying through the Bible
This small book is inspiring, practical, easy-to-understand, and most certainly provocative. It offer a revolutionary and unique methodology of prayer by which parents can not only pray for their children but also incorporate prayer into their lives.
But the book has also drawn much criticism for various reasons. The first and, perhaps, the most controversial, is the use of the term “mantra” for the third prayer circle. While I may not be the right person to remark on the validity of its use, and its biblical soundness, it may be pertinent to point out that it is a term intrinsically linked to Hinduism. It is a mystical formula of invocation or incantation as widely practiced in Hinduism. And that's exactly what I thought when I saw it. Some may be doubtful about the appropriateness of its use, or could even argue that Satan is surreptitiously planting tools in the form of new ideas and practices.
And that brings to mind the widespread adoption of yoga in Christian circles around the world. Though that is not the subject of this review, it is imperative to mention it. Christians need to be vigilant and discerning.
Another area where the book has come in for sharp criticism is it over emphasis on prayer as a tool, and not as a part of relationship with God.
Whatever be the flip side to this book, I personally discovered a gold mine of practicable ideas which if channeled correctly have the power to shape not only the destiny of children but also parents. It is no bed of roses walking children through their growing years. The task is a difficult one. And there are many difficult children. But as parent, one should never give up. God will answer our prayers, if necessary, even long after we are long gone.
This book has the potential to change families worldwide! As Mark Batterson suggested, all we need to do is to start circling!
Don’t lose heart. Don’t lose hope. Don’t lose faith. Keep circling!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Batterson serves as the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D. C. Recognized as 'one of America's 25 most innovative churches,' NCC is one church with seven locations. Mark's blog and webcast also reach a virtual congregation around the world. Mark is the author of several bestselling books, including New York Times bestseller - The Circle Maker and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. He and his wife, Lora, live on Capitol Hill with their three children. You can follow Mark on Twitter: @markbatterson