Mark Batterson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and grew up in Naperville, Illinois. Mark is married to Lora, and they moved to Washington, DC in 1994 to direct an inner-city ministry. Batterson earned a Bachelor's degree from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri and has two Masters Degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, Illinois. Starting in 1996, Batterson has served the as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. National Community Church was recognized as one of the Most Innovative and Most Influential Churches in America by Outreach Magazine in 2008.
Batterson is also guilty of associations with new age mystics and teachings and openly supports their writings and philosophies, which would explain a lot of his new age philosophies and principles in his preaching at NCC and in his books. Back in April of 2008 Mark Batterson pointed readers on his website to Eckhart Tolle, a New Age guru who has been heralded by Oprah Winfrey. Batterson says that Tolle’s book, "Practicing the Power of Now," has been “instrumental in the way I think about life.” His public reading list also includes several other New Agers, emergents and mystics: Jack Canfield, Daniel Goleman (The Meditative Mind), Gary Thomas (Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways), Leonard Sweet, Tony Jones, Brian McLaren, along with several others.
Mark Batterson is the author of “The Circle Maker” which tells the story of Honi Ha-Ma’agel, a Jewish scholar who lived in the first century B.C. and who is described in the Talmud (not in the Bible). This is the condensed version of the story: On one occasion when God did not send rain well into the winter (in the geographic regions of Israel, it rains mainly in the winter), he drew a circle in the dust, stood inside it, and informed God that he would not move until it rained. When it began to drizzle, Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain; it then began to pour. He explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the rain calmed to a normal rain.
Batterson says, "The prayer that saved a generation was deemed one of the most significant prayers in the history of Israel. The circle he drew in the sand became a sacred symbol. And the legend of Honi the circle maker stands forever as a testament to the power of a single prayer to change the course of history." From Honi he has learned the value of big, bold, audacious prayers. On a very practical level, he has learned the value of drawing figurative (and sometimes literal) circles. The promise of his book is that it "will show you how to claim God-given promises, pursue God-sized dreams, and seize God-ordained opportunities. You'll learn how to draw prayer circles around your family, your job, your problems, and your goals." (From The Circle Maker Review).
The entire premise of the book is based on “the legend of Honi The Circle Maker.” This should be the first red flag to any Bible-believing Christian. This “legend” is a story from the Talmud and Midrash, which is a compilation of Jewish oral tradition and commentaries on the Mosaic law. The Talmud is not the Bible.
Honi is referred to as “a prophet of God” and yet he is not mentioned in the Bible. Notice in the video, Honi did not wait to hear God’s instructions as all the prophets of the Old Testament did. He had his own plan and ideas and took them to God for The Lord to execute. It was Honi’s idea to make the circle, not The Lord’s. This is the exact opposite of God’s prophets, who the word of The Lord came to, and they acted upon it as willing servants.
Prophets of God did not arbitrarily act of their own accord. They waited to be instructed by God, and then they acted as instructed. One merely has to read scriptural accounts of the prophets to see phrases such as, “Thus says the Lord” to see this fact. Even Elijah waited for instruction from the Lord before acting or speaking as God’s prophet. Why? Because God acted through the prophets for certain reasons and purposes. The prophets were God’s chosen manner in which to bring about certain events or to teach His people certain things. However, this does not seem to be the case for Honi the circle maker. God did not tell Honi to draw a circle around himself, gather the people around, and then call down rain. Instead Honi acted in an arbitrary fashion, choosing on his own to draw a circle around himself, telling God he would not leave the circle until he sent rain, and then calling down that rain from heaven. Honi is not acting like a prophet of God. He is acting like he is a little god who by entering his circle, demanding God comply, and saying a few words can conjure up supernatural power.
Model of Prayer?
When we pray we are to seek first the Father’s will for our lives. It is in this submission, that we will receive the desires
of our hearts because in that submission, God’s will for our life becomes our will as well.
⦁ Batterson “small or vague prayers”:
“And that’s why our prayers aren’t just boring to us. They are uninspiring to God.” p. 23 (Circle Maker)
Where is this ever said in Scripture? The Bible tells us to cast “all” of our cares at God’s feet because “He careth for us.” By Batterson’s wildly unbiblical standards, Jesus’ own model prayer asking God to “give us this day our daily bread” would be boring and uninspiring to The Lord. Clearly, this is heresy and false teaching.
Rather than focus on “sound doctrine” Batterson is teaching “fables” to the church. Batterson reinforces this by saying he is in fact teaching “how to pray in a new way” and states “you can’t just read the Bible, you need to start circling the promises..” All of this is with this goal of achieving “big dreams” and having God deliver your desires to you. This “me-centered” approach to the Bible is a hallmark of the Prosperity Gospel heresy. It is a false teaching that misuses Scripture to teach that whatever a Christian desires on earth, can be theirs, either through faith or some other New Age technique. When in fact, Jesus Christ instructs to not store up treasures on earth, but focus on eternal life (which comes through faith in Christ), serving God and our eternal riches in Heaven. But Batterson, like many Pastors today who are “seeker-sensitive” and “emergent”, wants church to cater to the wants and desires of the world wants to use the Bible as a means of receiving what you want, as soon as possible.
In this case, it is done by “drawing a circle in the sand” or around whatever object it is that a person wants. This is where “discernment” - the ability to distinguish a teaching that is based on the Bible and thus The Word of God, from what is not - comes into play. This is a very important skill for every Christian and The Circle Maker is a perfect example to demonstrate how believers can be lured and deceived into thinking a teaching is Biblical, when it is not.
Here we have Batterson giving a format of prayer on his website:
As we approach 2014, I start thinking about our prayer strategy as a church. We try to leverage both the New Year holiday and Lent as a time of corporate prayer and fasting. And that’s one reason why I wrote the sequel to "The Circle Maker" titled "Draw the Circle: The 40-Day Prayer Challenge." It’s a full-length book, but it’s broken into a 40-day format. You can read it solo, but I think it’s best to read it with family, friends, a small group or church.
If you’re looking to jump start your prayer life or take it to the next level, take the challenge in 2014.
The Word of God does not instruct us in this format. We are instructed to pray without ceasing, God's will be done, not mine.
We do not need the legend of Honi to teach us about prayer. We have God’s Word and it contains example after example of how to pray and the nature of prayer. Instruction concerning the nature of praying does not mean that we need a man or a church to provide specific words that a person must use when praying.
More heretical quotes from the Circle Maker:
“The bigger the circle we draw, the better, because God gets more glory.” p 11.
“I had Honi-like confidence that just as this promise had been transferred from Moses to Joshua, God would transfer the promise to me if I had enough faith to circle it.” p. 15.
“The greatest risk is failing to circle the promises of God because we forfeit the miracles God wants to perform.” p. 51
The following titles are by Mark Batterson:
The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
The Circle Maker Participant’s Guide: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
The Circle Maker Curriculum Kit: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears: A Four- Week Church Campaign
Praying Circles Around Your Children
Praying Circles Around the Lives of Your Children
Be a Circle Maker: The Solution to 10,000 Problems
The Circle Maker Prayer Journal
Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge
The Circle Maker: 30 Devotions for Inspiring Prayer
The Circle Maker for Kids: One Prayer Can Change Everything
The Circle Maker Student Edition: Dream Big, Pray Hard. Think Long.
1 John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
America’s 25 Most Innovative Churches of 2008