Praying Circles Around The Lives Of Your Children By Mark Batterson

by Mark Batterson

Author Mark Batterson Isbn 0310325501 File size 3 9 Mb Year 2014 Pages 113 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Mark Batterson shares a perfect blend of biblical yet practical advice that will revolutionize your prayer life by giving you a new vocabulary and a new methodology You ll see how prayer is your secret weapon Through stories of parents just like you Batterson shares five prayer circles that will not only help you pray for your kids but also pray through

Publisher :

Author : Mark Batterson

ISBN : 310325501

Year : 2014

Language: English

File Size : 3.9 Mb

Category : Family and Friendship



Praying
Circles

Around the

Lives of

Your
Children
Mark Batterson

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ZONDERVAN
Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children
Copyright © 2014 by Mark Batterson
Requests for information should be addressed to:
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530
ISBN: 978-0-31033-973-1
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are
taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by
permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Other Bible versions cited are listed on page 199, which hereby
becomes a part of this copyright page.
Some of the text in this book is adapted from The Circle Maker.
Copyright © 2011 by Mark Batterson.
Any Internet addresses (websites, blogs, etc.) and telephone
numbers in this book are offered as a resource. They are
not intended in any way to be or imply an endorsement by
Zondervan, nor does Zondervan vouch for the content of these
sites and numbers for the life of this book.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy,
recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed
reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Published in association with the literary agency of Fedd &
Company, Inc., Post Office Box 341973, Austin, TX 78734.

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Contents

1. The Greatest Legacy You Can Leave

1

2. The Legend of the Circle Maker

17

3. Seven Prayer Circles

37

4. The 1st Circle: Circling the Promises of God

45

5. The 2nd Circle: Making Prayer Lists

69

6. The 3rd Circle: Creating Prayer Mantras

83

7. The 4th Circle: Praying a Hedge of Protection 103
8. The 5th Circle: Forming Prayer Circles

121

9. The 6th Circle: Praying Through the Bible

141

10. The 7th Circle: Passing On the Blessing

151

11. Teachable Moments

173

12. Holy Complications

185

Notes

195

Bible Versions Cited

199

iii

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Chapter 1

The Greatest Legacy
You Can Leave

I want to be famous in my home.

1

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T

hat is the deepest desire of my heart and the
greatest challenge of my life. Parenting our
three children is far more difficult—and far more
important—than pastoring thousands of people.
Compared to parenting, every other challenge is
child’s play. Being a mom or dad is our single greatest privilege. And while I’ve never met a mom or dad
who disagrees with me on that point, it’s easy to end
up with inverted priorities. But at the end of the day,
I want those who know me best to respect me most.
That’s my family. And that’s my definition of success. Of course, it’s much easier said than done.
During a recent parenting slump, I facetiously
said to my wife, Lora, “I think we’ll finally figure
out this parenting thing the same day our kids
leave home!” The truth is, we’ll never figure it out
because children are moving targets. Just when you
think you have them pegged, they become toddlers
or teenagers or twenty-somethings, and you’re right
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back to square one. I’ve come to the conclusion that
parenting is not a puzzle to be solved. Parenting is
more like a roller coaster you ride for eighteen years
with no exit. The relational corkscrews and emotional inversions result in exhilarating highs and
nauseating lows. So my advice is simple: buckle up,
learn a few lessons along the way, and enjoy the ride.
You will make more mistakes than you care to
remember, especially with the guinea pigs we call
firstborns. But no matter how many things you get
wrong, there is one thing you must get right—and
that one thing makes all the difference in the world:
Make sure the heavenly Father hears about your
kids every day!

Bad News, Good News,
and Great News
Right at the outset, let me give you some bad news,
some good news, and some great news about parenting and praying for your children.
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The bad news first: you’ll feel like a failure at the
end of many, if not most, days.
There are days you need to take a mulligan. Go to
bed, get up the next morning, and start over. There’s
nothing like a good night’s sleep to help you hit the
reset button. I realize that isn’t a luxury you have if
you have a newborn baby, but the same baby you have
a tough time getting to sleep will one day be difficult to
wake up because they missed curfew the night before.
My advice? Take a short nap as often as you can.
I’ve already revealed my definition of success:
I want those who know me best to respect me most.
That’s the dream. But the reality is that I often feel
like a complete failure as a father. Some days I even
feel like a fraud. It’s usually those moments when
one of our mini-mes begins to mimic something I
don’t like about myself. It’s a sobering thing when
you say, “Don’t take that tone with me” and then
realize it’s the same exact tone you take with them.
Having children is like looking in the mirror on
a really bad hair day or looking at old pictures from
a fashion season you’d like to forget. Kids keep us
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humble! Just when you think they’ve mastered the art
of Emily Post etiquette, they’ll mortify you by making
a passing comment or passing gas at the most inopportune time. Of course, they learned this from you as
well. In the infamous words of John Wilmot, “Before I
got married, I had six theories about raising children;
now I have six children and no theories.”1 Nothing
keeps you on your knees or on your toes like parenting.
My parenting ineptitude is epitomized by one
shining moment when our oldest son, Parker, was
a toddler. He had a fitful night full of tears, and I
couldn’t understand why. Then he crawled into our
room in the middle of the night. I was too tired to take
him back to his bed, so I reached down to pull him
into ours. That’s when I realized why he had been crying—his bare butt was the tip-off that I had forgotten
to put a diaper on him when I put him to bed.
It’s amazing that our kids even survive our parenting, isn’t it?
While we’re on the subject, the word diaper
spelled backward is repaid. So apropos!
Just as our children won’t fully appreciate the
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sacrifices we’ve made for them until they have kids
of their own, I think it’s impossible to fully appreciate the heavenly Father until you have kids of your
own. I have three graduate degrees in theology, but
nothing has taught me about the heart of our heavenly Father like being a dad. I love my kids like crazy,
but they can also drive me crazy. And when they do,
I’m reminded of God’s infinite patience with our
incessant whining, occasional temper tantrums,
and blatant disobedience. Astounding, isn’t it?
You’ll lose your patience. You’ll lose your temper.
You might even lose your mind a time or two. You
will make a million mistakes as a parent, but now
for the good news: your worst mistakes double as
your greatest opportunities.
How will your kids learn to apologize unless you
model it for them by apologizing to them? Your mistakes give you the opportunity to model one of the
most important lessons they’ll ever learn—how to say
“I’m sorry.”
I have a very simple parenting philosophy that
boils down to just three words: please, sorry, and
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thanks. If all else fails, I want to teach my kids to be
really good at saying those three words—and then
doing them! If they master please, sorry, and thanks,
they are well on their way to a great marriages, great
friendships, and a great relationship with God.
Finally, here’s the great news: prayer covers a
multitude of sins.
You’ll never be a perfect parent, but you can be
a praying parent. Prayer is your highest privilege as a
parent. Don’t just leverage it as a last resort when all
else fails. Make it your first priority. Nothing you can
do will give you a higher return on your investment,
and the dividends are both generational and eternal.
God will answer your prayers for your children long
after you are gone. Prayer turns ordinary parents into
prophets who shape the destinies of their children,
grandchildren, and every generation that follows.

Prayer Genealogy
The blood running through my veins is 50 percent
Swedish. I trace my genealogy back through the
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Johansson family, who made a decision to get on
a boat and come to America in the late nineteenth
century. That single decision set off a chain reaction
that radically altered the destiny of every descendant to follow. That one decision made its mark on
children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren
in more ways than I can possibly imagine.
Just as one decision can change your destiny, so
can one prayer. If you were to map out your spiritual
history, you would find countless answers to prayer
at key intersections along the way. Before many of
you were even born, even named, you had parents
and grandparents who prayed for you. At critical ages
and stages, family and friends interceded on your
behalf. And thousands of complete strangers have
prayed for you in ways you aren’t even aware of. The
sum total of those prayers is your prayer genealogy.
It’s like your tree of life, your tree of Adam.
I believe that every blessing, every breakthrough,
every miracle in your life traces back to the prayers
that were prayed by you or for you. One of the greatest
moments in eternity will be the day God peels back
the space-time curtain and unveils His sovereignty
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by connecting the divine dots between our prayers
and His answers. That infinite web of prayer crisscrosses every nation, every generation. And when
God finally reveals His strange and mysterious
ways, it will drop us to our knees in worship. We will
thank Him for the prayers He did answer. We’ll also
thank Him for the prayers He didn’t answer because
we’ll finally understand why. And we’ll thank Him
for the answered prayers we weren’t even aware of.
My grandfather Elmer Johnson died when I was
just six years old, but his prayers did not. Our prayers
never die. They live on in the lives of those we pray
for. Some of the most poignant and providential
moments in my life have been the moments when
the Spirit of God has whispered to my spirit, Mark,
the prayers of your grandfather are being answered
in your life right now!
My Grandpa Johnson had a habit of kneeling by
his bed at night, taking off his hearing aid, and praying
for his family. He couldn’t hear himself, but everyone
else in the house could. Few things are more powerful
than hearing someone intercede on your behalf. His
voiceprint left an imprint on my soul.
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I’m trying to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps
by getting on my knees and praying next to my bed.
It’s a great way to start the day. My first thoughts
and words are directed toward God. I also pray for
my sleeping beauty lying a few feet away.
I realize that not everyone inherited a prayer
legacy from their parents or grandparents as I did,
but you can leave a legacy for future generations. You
can start a new tradition, a new tree. You can begin a
new prayer genealogy.

The Most Important Ten
Minutes of the Day
The most important ten minutes of my day are the
ten minutes I spend with my kids right before they
leave for school. For many years, I felt like a failure
when it came to leading my family in devotions. I
could never seem to find a rhythm or a routine. It felt
like one failed attempt after another. Then, the week
before Parker started high school, Lora and I were on
our Monday morning coffee date. Since I preach on
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Sundays, Monday is our Sabbath. We talk about our
marriage, our kids, our calendar, and our finances.
During the course of this particular conversation,
I confessed my feeling of failure—and that’s when
Lora shared something her dad did, which I decided
to adopt.
My father-in-law prayed with more intensity
and more consistency than anybody I’ve ever
known. That’s why I dedicated The Circle Maker
to Bob Schmidgall. He prayed about everything. In
fact, when I asked him if I could marry his daughter, he literally said, “Let me pray about it.” That’ll
put the fear of God in you—especially when he forgot to check back in for a week. Longest week of
my life!
Bob Schmidgall was extraordinarily busy pastoring the church he founded in Naperville, Illinois,
but he found time to do devotions with his four children every day before school. In the spirit of full
disclosure, the teenage Lora didn’t always enjoy
those devotions. Most teenagers don’t. But more
than a decade after her dad’s death, those devotional
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times they spent together are treasured memories.
They were a daily touchpoint with her dad.
One of the great challenges with family devotions is finding a consistent time and place to pray
together. It’s not easy when your kids are playing soccer, taking piano lessons, participating in a school
club, and taking swim lessons. And that’s probably just one of your children! So how do you find a
rhythm? I think it starts with looking at your daily
routines. It makes sense to pray with your young
children before bed because you tuck them in every
night. With older children, it’s more difficult because
they probably will be staying up later than you do.
When Lora shared the story about morning
devotions with her dad, it was a revelation. I knew
I needed to leverage the first few minutes of the day
before the day got away from me. So, beginning on
Parker’s first day of high school, I started reading the
Bible and praying with him. Does every devotional
time seem like a success? Hardly! Are there days
when we’re running late and have to scoot out of the
house? Absolutely. But I’m determined to pray with
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my children, and that touchpoint is the most important ten minutes of my day. It’s the most important
meeting of the day. Why? Because I love my children
so much more than anybody I’ll meet with the rest
of the day. And while every devotional time doesn’t
result in an epiphany, some of those touchpoints
have turned into turning points.

Long After You Die
I know it’s hard to find a consistent time and place
to pray, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. And
when it’s God’s will, He will help make a way.
Susanna Wesley gave birth to nineteen children,
including John and Charles, the founders of the
Methodist movement. There is no finding a quiet
place to pray when you live in a small house with
that many kids, but this reality didn’t keep Susanna
from praying. She would sit in her rocking chair in
the middle of the living room, put a blanket over herself, and intercede for her children.2
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Our excuses just went away, didn’t they? Your
children need to see and hear you praying. It doesn’t
matter whether it’s in a prayer closet or a prayer
chair. You can turn your commute or your workout
into prayer times. When you make their beds or fold
their clothes, pray for your kids. Go into their bedrooms while they’re sleeping, kneel next to their
beds, and pray over them.
You don’t become a praying parent by default.
You do it by design, by desire, by discipline. Spiritual
disciplines take sheer determination, but if you determine to circle your children in prayer, your prayers
will shape their destinies, just as Susanna Wesley’s
prayers shaped the destinies of her children. Your
prayers will live on in their lives long after you die.
Your prayers for your children are the greatest
legacy you can leave.

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