Draw The Circle (book review)

Draw The CircleA year ago I was challenged to go deeper in my prayer life by Mark Batterson’s book The Circle Maker. Now I’ve just completed a 40-day journey through Mark’s follow up book Draw The Circle and I realize how much more I still have to learn about prayer!

I love beginning each new year with a reminder on the importance and the power of prayer. For two years in a row I’ve been both challenged and encouraged by these two Mark Batterson books. Draw The Circle is intended to be read slowly, with just one prayer thought each day for 40 days. As I read each day’s entry, I was able to add another component to my prayer arsenal.

On the last page, Mark sums up the subject of prayer well when he writes—

Prayer is the difference between appointments and divine appointments. Prayer is the difference between good ideas and God-ideas. Prayer is the difference between the favor of God and the luck of the draw. Prayer is the difference between closed doors and open doors. Prayer is the difference between possible and impossible. Prayer is the difference between the best we can do and the best God can do. 

The Circle Maker and Draw The Circle don’t have to be read together for you to get excited about the power of prayer, but if you do read them back-to-back, it’s a powerful one-two punch! And for parents and grandparents, be sure to add Praying Circles Around Your Kids too!

Any time spent learning about prayer is an investment with huge upside potential and these books are well worth your time.

Love Is… (part 1)

Love is… worksheet 1The greatest definition of love in the history of mankind is given to us in 1 Corinthians 13. This is the “gold standard” to which all of us should strive to pattern our lives.

But notice that right at the beginning, Paul says, “Love IS” (verse 4). Not love feels good or even love does; but love is. Love is not love because it makes us feel good. Love is not love because we did something nice. Love is love because it measures up to this standard in 1 Corinthians.

Here are just the first five attributes of love.

Love is patient

  • Patient love doesn’t lose heart, but stays hopeful.
  • It endures patiently and bravely in enduring misfortune and disappointment.
  • “It can endure evil, injury, and provocation, without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge.” —Matthew Henry

Love is kind

  • It is pleasant and courteous.
  • It both seizes opportunities and makes opportunities to show kindness.
  • …as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)

Love is catching others doing something good

  • The biblical phrase is love is not envious, but I want to turn the positive into a negative. Far too often we Christians are known more for what we against, not what we’re for. So the positive way of saying this: we rejoice when others succeed. Or, we catch them doing something good.

Love is complementing others

  • Again, we turn the negative love does not boast into a positive, and say love complements others.
  • Agape raises the value of the object of its love.

Love is others-focused

  • Again, turning the negative love is not proud into a positive.
  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Here’s where the real test comes in: How will you apply these attributes of love to someone in your life? More specifically: to someone you think is “unloveable”?

I know you have someone in your life that you think is unloveable. With that person’s face clearly in mind, how will you fill in the blanks:

  1. I can show patience by…
  2. I can be kind to them by…
  3. I can rejoice in their success in this area…
  4. I can applaud them in their…
  5. I can see them becoming…

If you would like a downloadable PDF of this worksheet, click here –> Love is… worksheet 1

I will be continuing my series on Loving The Unloveable next Sunday, and I hope you can join me.

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