Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Praying Circles Around Your Marriage

Praying Circles around Your Marriage

Dream big, pray hard, and think long--together. 

Marriage is your most sacred relationship on this earth, and prayer is the single most powerful way to transform it. It's time to learn the relational truths in the legend of Honi the Circle Maker--a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not leave it until God answered his impossible prayer. The commitment made in the sacred circle of marriage requires the same kind of boldness and resolve as the Circle Maker. Honi's prayer saved a generation, and your prayers can transform your relationship.

Praying Circles around Your Marriage draws from the life-changing principles Mark Batterson outlines in his New York Times bestseller The Circle Maker. Joined by Pastor Joel and Nina Schmidgall who serve with Mark at National Community Church, the authors draw from personal stories, Scripture, and practical insight. You'll discover seven key prayer circles for your marriage: Vision Circle, Romance Circle, War Circle, Dance Circle, Support Circle, Storm Circle, and Legacy Circle. Through these circles you will:

Discover your shared vision and find a new combined purpose together
Turn the tables on conflict and access the gift of being known
Be a student of your spouse and ensure a connected and intimate relationship
Build a foundation for your marriage that will help you weather the trials that are sure to come
Learn to draw a larger circle around your marriage so that your unified purpose can be a blessing to others
The truth is this: what your marriage will become is determined by how you pray. Bold prayers honor God. God honors bold prayers. Praying Circles around Your Marriage will empower you and your spouse to identify your greatest dreams for the most important relationship in your life, and pray the kind of audacious prayers in which God finds delight.

After all, your life together has a legacy to leave for future generations. It's time to start circling.

My thoughts:  I was excited to be invited to help launch this new book by Joel and Nina Schmidgall (with Mark Batterson) PRAYING CIRCLES AROUND YOUR MARRIAGE. I have read several of Mark Batterson's books and like his writing style and voice and I generally come away blessed and maybe more mature as a Christian as a result. 
With Mark Batterson is the key word here.  I didn't see Batterson's voice in this book at all. I recognize that both Joel and Nina Schmidgall are marriage counselors and they know their stuff. There is a lot of thought, detail, traditions (and the reason behind it which I never knew) which is fascinating, a lot of scripture references and verses to read and ponder as well as prayer prompts and action prompts.
As a woman married to the same man for over thirty years I felt that the authors overthought things but since they are writing to a different intended audience than me, maybe not. There is a lot of fascinating information, a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of stuff that I would need to slow down and read and reread, maybe prayerfully, if I were going into this with the purpose of saving my marriage or revitalizing my marriage or something other than reading for review. 
This is not a nonfiction book you read for pleasure, one that feels like you are chatting with an old friend. You are not. This is a book by professionals and the professional voice comes out full-fledged. They are  not old friends, you are not sharing coffee with them and having a nice conversation. They are teaching, sharing their knowledge, educating .... 
So with that in mind, prepare to work through this book slowly. Not a chapter at a time but maybe a segment at a time. Take notes. Pray through it. Talk to your spouse.  Take time to follow suggestions and ask questions. Learn. Listen. Then launch what you learned. 
While this book is not what I expected it is something that many couples need. I sincerely hope it will help fill a void in the marriage-help books and help you to prayerfully work together to merge, align, and cement your marriages into God's plan, not two people working against each other and somehow hoping to survive. 
If you need to do something to revitalize your marriage, work out problems, draw together as partners, then read PRAYING CIRCLES AROUND YOUR MARRIAGE. Great for counselors, pastors (I could see my pastor husband using this as a marriage counseling tool), young married Sunday School teachers, and small groups as well as individual use by husband and wife 
I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.  

Available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book Distributors, Lifeway or your favorite bookseller.


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