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Comparing Prayer Circles to God’s Word

Author Mark Batterson draws a "prayer circle"

Author Mark Batterson draws a “prayer circle”

Is the practice of drawing a circle in chalk around specific prayers something we as Christians are supposed to be doing? Ever since Mark Batterson’s popular Circle Maker book began sweeping Christendom, we’ve been warning people against pursuing this non-Christian practice, because it is rooted in the occult, and Jesus very specifically showed us what prayer looks like.

And yet time after time, Christians are confronted with this popular trend in their small groups, church leadership teams and conferences. But check out what one woman, Jamie McMullan, did as she compared what was being taught to the true Word of God. Jamie writes about it in her blog, The Velvet Covered Brick:

Prayer Circles                  by Jamie McMullan

I recently attended the True Women Conference with Nancy Leigh DeMoss via simulcast. During the simulcast Nancy shared an illustration of a British evangelist from the 1860s, Gipsy Smith, who encouraged people to “Go home, lock yourself in your room, draw a circle around yourself, and pray fervently that God would start a revival within that chalk circle.”  Then Nancy, pointed out they have chalk circles around the auditorium for people to go pray in and she had a circle around herself at the podium; they were used throughout the conference. At the end of the conference, two men named Byron Paulus and Bill Elliff gave a presentation of their ministry movement called OneCry which is inspired by the teachings of Gipsy Smith. (1) (.1)Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Gipsy Smith

Seeing all this at the True Women conference gave me pause. The first time I saw circles like this in the church is from a book I saw being promoted on YouTube called The Circle Maker, by MarkBatterson, the Pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. Instead of calling people to revival, Mr. Batterson promotes a prosperity message that is centered on praying for God to make your hopes and dreams to come true by praying in a chalk circle or circling the promises in scripture. In his book and website, Mark Batterson, sites as his examples, Gipsy Smith and Honi the circle maker, a Jewish legend in the Talmud  who drew a circle on the ground and sat in it until God answered his prayer for rain. Sources: (2) (3).
Out of curiosity, as well as being alarmed at seeing such rituals being practiced, I decided to contact OneCry to find out more about these circles and see if they were aware of the occult ties to the circle. I received an email back promptly assuring me these circles are to help us visualize our commitment to God as well as give an outward showing  to God that we are repentant and want revival to start with us. Then the representative stated: “No occult connections”. The problem with OneCry’s premise for the circle is that it directly goes against the character of God revealed in scripture.
  •  Psalm 51:16-17 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.
God knows our hearts, and we are desperately wicked. God tells us to repent and turn away from our sin and follow after him. A ritual circle is not what God tells us to do and goes against the fact that we can’t DO anything to please God or cause Him to act outside of His will. If we need a circle to remind us then perhaps we need to examine ourselves to see whether we are truly repentant of our sins.
It’s interesting that these practices are being promoted in Christian conferences and books being published considering there is no Biblical backing for such a practice. One can’t even twist scripture and say this is a prescribed way we are supposed to pray. The Bible says we are to pray according to God’s will, God’s Word also states positions in which to pray: standing, sitting, kneeling, bowing and with lifted hands. (4)

To go further, I looked up references in the Blue Letter Bible Concordance for “Circles” there were none, except for one reference to Isaiah 40:22 “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the Earth…” If the practice of prayer in a circle is not Biblical, where do they come from? One does not have to look far; a simple Google search will find chalk circles have a long history in most religions, most notably in pagan practices such as Witchcraft and Gnosticism. Regarding witchcraft the author of the book The Magic Circle says:

“There is no aspect of ritual occultism more ancient or more essential than the magic circle. Indeed, it is difficult to find systems of magic that do not use the circle in some form, and when they are found, they seem incomplete and naked. The magic circle is older than Solomon, older than Moses, and occurs throughout the world in all religions and systems of witchcraft and thaumaturgy. It divides, excludes, protects, attracts, focuses, and concentrates, as these functions are needed by the magician. It is used not merely for evocations, but for invocations, for charging of talismans, for scrying, for projecting accumulated occult energy, and even for meditation. A correct understanding of the circle, not only how to project it, but what it signifies symbolically, is the most basic knowledge any magician can possess, and no magician can be said to know anything of importance about magic who has not mastered the use of the circle.” -The Magic Circle by Donald Tyson

The Bible says relating to pagan practices:

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one, who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.

Matthew Henry put it best in his commentary regarding these rituals:

Using arts of divination, to get the unnecessary knowledge of things to come, enchantments, witchcrafts, charms, etc., by which the power and knowledge peculiar to God were attributed to the devil, to the great reproach both of God’s counsels and of his providence, Deut. 18:10, 11. One would wonder that such arts and works of darkness, so senseless and absurd, so impious and profane, could be found in a country where divine revelation shone so clearly; yet we find remains of them even where Christ’s holy religion is known and professed; such are the powers and policies of the rulers of the darkness of this world. But let those give heed to fortune-tellers, or go to wizards for the discovery of things secret, that use spells for the cure of diseases, are in any league or acquaintance with familiar spirits, or form a confederacy with those that are—let them know that they can have no fellowship with God while thus they have fellowship with devils. It is amazing to think that there should by any pretenders of this kind in such a land and day of light as we live in.”

The words of Matthew Henry ring true even today, God’s revelation he has given us is clear. We are not to try to use outside forms or rituals to hear from God, we have His Word, The Bible. In His Word He has commanded us to not be involved in these practices.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 tells us: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

  • Ephesians 5:15-16 says: Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

We live in a sin filled world where evil always tries to find a way to sneak in so we need to be careful of what we do, what rituals we practice, especially if it is not something commanded in the Bible as a way of hearing and learning from God. The only rituals in scripture that God has given are the sacraments of communion and baptism.

  •  Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
  •  ”Matthew 26:26-29 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the newcovenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”

According to the research I have done, there is nothing in scripture that supports praying in a chalk circle. It’s disconcerting that even after the Second Nicene Counsel deemed it a heresy practiced by the Gnostics it is still being practiced today. In the past 200 years we have had a resurgence of gnostic teachings come into the church through different movements; more recently in the last 50 years is the Charismatic Catholic Renewal Movement as well as Catholic Native Americans which call these circles Kateri Prayer Circles all of which use Gnostic teachings. (6)

The teachings of the Gnostics date back to the time of Christ, in the first century. In fact John, the author of 1, 2, 3 John, counters the gnostic beliefs that are being taught to the church by false (Gnostic) teachers in 1 John 1, 1 John 4 and 1 John5. In these references John is referring to the gnostic teaching that Christ did not come in the flesh something that was being taught by Gnostics in the first century. (7) John also states that that they are false teachers because they counter what Jesus said about himself as well as counter the eye witness account of the Apostles.
Just as in the first century, we encounter these false teachers. Romans 16:17-27 gives us instructions to have nothing to do with teachers who’s teachings does not line up according to the revelation of scripture that God has given us. (8)

Brothers and Sisters do as the noble Jew’s of Berea and search the scriptures to see if what I am saying is true (Acts 17:11). Take nothing on face value, just as it says in 1 Thessalonians, test all things. (Test what I am saying! Do the scriptures line up?) Do not practice something because it’s what everyone else is doing or because what a trusted leader says sounds good. The Bible tells us to have nothing to do with pagan practices as well as have nothing to do with leaders that teach it. The purpose of this article is a call to all believers especially Pastors to use your God-given discernment, line everything up with scripture before promoting it.

Father God, I pray this article brings Glory to you and that those who read it would search the scriptures and hear from you what the truth is bringing knowledge and understanding. The only knowledge we can have comes from you through your Word. In Your Glorious name, Amen

Works Cited
.1. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.onecry.com/resources/videos/
1, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.truewoman.com/?id=2250
2, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg6ymCcIFDE
3. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.markbatterson.com/uncategorized/the-one-thing-you-cannot-delegate/
4. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://carm.org/dictionary-prayer
5. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wicca.in/casting-circle-wicca/
6. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_circle#Origin
7. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+John+1&version=NKJV
8. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%2016:%2017-27&version=NIV

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43 Responses to “Comparing Prayer Circles to God’s Word”

  1. Sharon W. #

    Thanks for this interesting & informing post.
    Not long ago, I was attending a church where a pastor/elder would often use this "circle" word when he would lead in prayer. He wasn't referring to drawing a chalk circle, but something similar like an imaginary "drawing a circle' as we gather for prayer. I thought it odd and maybe a fad, but this article shares some insights to consider about it's origins.

    March 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM Reply
  2. I see a huge difference between praying in a circle (or really without a circle) for something you want, and praying in a circle for something you already know is in God's heart. From what I read about Nancy DeMoss' presentation, she was encouraging people to pray for revival. I haven't done any research beyond just looking at the quote, but it seems like Gipsy Smith (and Nancy DeMoss by extension) was telling people that if you want to see revival, it has to begin with you! So, instead of praying for God to change others' hearts, symbolically draw a circle around yourself to say, begin the revival with me. It sounds like it was a call to humility and to passionately seek revival. I can't speak to the other circle praying promoted by other Christian authors, although I think any brand of Christianity that pushes praying for materialism over spirituality is sending the wrong message. But if the purpose of the circles here was simply to encourage people to examine themselves and ask God to start a work in their hearts, that doesn't really seem to me like it's patterning secular/pagan practices, it's simply symbolism.

    March 13, 2013 at 7:44 AM Reply
    • but... #

      Symbolism is bad enough. It's not in the bible to draw circles around ANYTHING, so why even "symbolically" do so? I'll stick with the bible's method of prayer, thank you.

      August 19, 2013 at 5:36 AM Reply
      • Sarah #

        but…# – do you pray in a literal closet? Because the Bible does actually say that when you pray, you should enter a closet (and close the door, no less!). Most people would say that that was just "symbolic" of praying privately and not praying to put on a public show. But if symbolism is bad, perhaps you should consider doing all your prayer in a closet…

        September 18, 2013 at 9:46 AM Reply
        • lyn #

          It all comes down to this, do we find a command in the Bible for this 'circle prayer'? Sola Scriptura was the cry of the Reformation, and should still be so today. If you cannot back this with God's word, it is not of God.

          September 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM Reply
          • Sarah #

            There are a WHOLE lot of things we do that weren't commanded in the Bible! We aren't commanded to eat breakfast – does that mean we shouldn't? We aren't commanded to go to church 3 times a week (or however many your church dictates). We weren't commanded to sit in pews, sing from hymnals (or projectors), have potlucks, etc., so does that mean that all of those things are wrong? The prayer circles was simply an illustration of getting people to focus on their own hearts before worrying about everyone else's – a lesson similarly illustrated in the new testament when God told people to worry about the beam in their own eye before accusing another brother of having a beam in his.

            September 18, 2013 at 11:01 AM
          • Julia #

            Caught out? Weak, childish arguments.

            November 5, 2014 at 2:08 PM
          • godsfingers #

            The Bible commands you not to forbid speaking in tongues yet you do. Sola Scriptura

            January 17, 2015 at 11:32 AM
          • lyn #

            The bible also commands that someone interpret the tongues being spoken in Paul's day. Let's not forget, tongues is a language, not gibberish. Most of what we see today is gibberish with no one interpreting that gibberish. Tongues is a foreign language not studied or known to those is apostolic times who possessed that gift. It was supernaturally given to them by God; if this gift were still in operation, why is it missionaries must learn the language of the countries they go to? Why doesn't God just gift them with this foreign language? It's quite clear, this gift ceased long ago.
            In 1 Cor. 14:19 Paul states "but in an assembly I wish to speak five words through my understanding, that others also I may instruct, rather than myriads of words in an unknown tongue." Matthew Henry states "Note, A truly Christian minister will value himself much more upon doing the least spiritual good to men's souls than upon procuring the greatest applause and commendation to himself. This is true grandeur and nobleness of spirit; it is acting up to his character; it is approving himself the servant of Christ, and not a vassal to his own pride and vanity."

            Yes, sola Scriptura indeed! The gift of tongues ceased with the apostolic ministry – the canon is now closed. We need no new revelation, for God has given us all we need for life, growth, and maturity in His holy word.

            January 17, 2015 at 11:48 AM
          • godsfingers #

            tongues is the language of men and of angels. Get out of your dogma and debate the Bible girl. Quit adding your man made garbage to the discussion. No where in the Bible does it say that God gives day to day communication as a gift in tongues, this is your man made condition for legitimacy. You say it's quite clear the gift ceased long ago, where dear? In your less than pointed remark you skip the FACT that Paul was admonishing the Corinthians for their pompousness in regard using the gifts.

            I would appreciate you losing your arrogance. I could care less of your doctrinal commentaries. They are of no value in this discussion. You speak out your dogma as fact but have no backing. It comes mostly from your casting out the Holy Spirit and I caution you, in your remark above, to take that you don't blaspheme the Holy Spirit, your ilk have a tendency to do that and where would that leave your eternal security.

            January 18, 2015 at 3:53 PM
          • lyn #

            Let me add this concerning the gift of tongues – it is for unbelievers -'so that the tongues are for a sign, not to the believing, but to the unbelieving; and the prophesy is not for the unbelieving, but for the believing' 1 Cor. 14:22. How are we to interpret this text? You must start with defining tongues, ' by implication a language (specifically one naturally unacquired' -from Strong's. This language is a gift, meaning those who spoke in tongues did NOT possess the ability to do so on their own. The language they spoke was foreign to them as well. What would be the purpose? For this, I will share commentary from Albert Barnes, "It is a miracle designed to convince them of the truth of the Christian religion."
            Matthew Henry's commentary is similar, "The gift of tongues was necessary to spread Christianity, and gather churches; it was proper and intended to convince unbelievers of that doctrine which Christians had already embraced".
            Lastly, this commentary from Adam Clarke, "The miraculous gift of tongues was never designed for the benefit of those who have already believed, but for the instruction of unbelievers, that they might see from such a miracle that this is the work of God; and so embrace the Gospel. But as, in the times of the prophet, the strange Babylonish tongues came in the way of punishment, and not in the way of mercy; take heed that it be not the case now: that, by dwelling on the gift, ye forget the Giver; and what was designed for you as a blessing, may prove to you to be a curse. For if, because ye have the gift of tongues, ye will choose for your own aggrandizement to use them in the public congregation where none understands them, God may curse your blessings."

            Matthew Henry warns "Note, That gifts may be rightly used, it is proper to know the ends which they are intended to serve. " Many claim to have the gift of tongues, but in reality, they do not. As previously stated, this gift is no longer in operation. Missionaries must learn the language of whatever country they travel to before they go, this proves tongues ceased with the apostolic ministry.

            January 17, 2015 at 11:53 PM
          • godsfingers #

            so sad Lyn. Your starting point is from your doctrine. Make your starting point the Bible, Stongs is just a doctrinal concordance and not valid. Acts2 is clear, there were 11 speaking and over 17 languages "heard" and the rest "heard" only drunken gibberish. If you'd quit working the text with the minds of men instead of the Holy Spirit (oops you don't believe in that) you see that what was coming out is not what the men heard. The only ones that "heard" were the unbelievers who's hearts were prepared. You can't hope to discuss the things of the Spirit when you lack Him and your eyes are closed. You are akin to those that Jesus spoke in parables to.

            Lose your commentaries, who is Adam Clarke and why should I care? As you stated, wrongly, the gift is no longer in operation, based on what? All you folks keep doing is stating another lie to protect the other lie. Paul referenced to the comping perfection, the Bible? If it's THAT perfection why is there such hate over translations? Oh wait, the Holy Spirit speaks no matter what the English verbiage, but you don't believe in the Holy Spirit. And in your pettiness you would rob those that seek the Holy Spirit. You can't come back and discuss the point with the precepts of weak and evil men. The evil you enjoin is no less than those with the holy laughter or soaking prayer. How so you ask? By working in league with the devil to water down the Bible and promote a license to sin and restrain the Holy Spirit. As I said before, "do not forbid the speaking in tongues", Sola Scriptura. isn't that what you said…

            January 18, 2015 at 7:19 AM
          • godsfingers #

            but Lyn, it's you who causes division and rants. You put some very unkind and ungodly language in your posts. I do debate from the biblical text. You don't correctly quote biblical text, only the cut and paste that supports your doctrine. Trying being a Martin Luther, look at the truth and say my doctrine is wrong. Quit conveniently removing texts or creating convenient passing ages. Do you take offense that I threw the Latin term back atcha??

            January 18, 2015 at 3:33 PM
          • godsfingers #

            Um what's a Holy writ? Are you really supposed to be Christian?

            January 18, 2015 at 3:55 PM
          • standupwi #

            Godsfingers, I've been watching your posts and must warn that they've been disrespectful for quite some time now. I always warn people once before deciding whether to remove them from further conversations, as is my right to do.

            January 19, 2015 at 8:04 AM
  3. Sharon W. #

    My devotional this morning used as an example how Jewish families would have a Blessing ceremony, and they would gather friends & family and form a circle around a son or daughter, to bestow a blessing. Later in the day, the scriptures about the Apostle Paul and the Handkerchief & apron came to mind. [Acts 19:12]

    With some fresh insight from my previous post, I'd like to propose another perspective which I'll call for now, the "true fit" & the "counterfeit".

    God does use symbolism & symbolic language in His Word. What God does or designs is good & true, but our adversary also has his own counterfiet in many things. Our 3 enemies…"the flesh, the world & Satan".
    A concern and sometimes a danger I'd like to raise is how often we've heard stories where people may start with good intentions using methods or objects as a means to pray or worship, but before long, lose sight on who we are praying to and become more dependent on the methods/means?
    Or in some cases, these things become "props" or "worldly" because of the lack of the true authentic move of the Spirit of God in believer's hearts or in corporate prayer. And yet, in some cases, it can even turn into form of idolatry.

    What I'd like to see? Where believers are more interested with "Those prayers that God does hear, ie. [John 15:7, 1 Peter 3:12]
    and those prayers that God doesn't or are hindered, ie. [James 4:3, James 1:6-7]
    and they will probably find they won't need alot of those methods or props because you'll be so fixed on your fellowship in prayer with God that's all that matters. What matters more?
    Looking unto Jesus Christ [Hebrews 12:2]
    Praying in the Spirit [Ephesians 6:18]
    A heart of humility [Psalm 10:17, Psalm 51:17]
    According to God's will [1 John 5:14-15]

    March 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM Reply
    • Forrest Jamison #

      Hi there, I'm not saying you aren't correct about the circles not being biblical, but my question to you is this. Have you read the book The Circle Maker? There are some truths and inspiration and testimony coming from the Matt. Just wanted to point it out. I'm not saying he is correct or incorrect, just stating the facts.

      August 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM Reply
      • Sharon #

        Dear Forrest, No, I have not read the book the Circle Maker and I will take at face value that you state that there is some truth & inspiration coming from Matt.

        I don't believe that I necessarily stated that these prayer circles are unbiblical in my previous two comments as much as my emphasis was on digging a little deeper into what is important to God (in regards to prayer).

        Many books are being written that contain some truth and inspiration, but I'm not a fan of "eat the meat & spit out the bones". God can use many things for His good & purposes. I encourage people to spend more time getting to know God and building a good foundation in His Word, so as to better equip ourselves to be able to discern these matters.

        August 26, 2013 at 1:54 AM Reply
  4. lyn #

    Sarah,

    I think you are grasping at straws, and going over the top to try and defend a means of prayer that is not found in God's word. The example of this type of prayer should be enough to warn others to steer clear; from the article "Gipsy Smith and Honi the circle maker, a Jewish legend in the Talmud who drew a circle on the ground and sat in it until God answered his prayer for rain".

    All this nonsense is similar to labyrinth walking, which has the participant walking in a circle-type pattern, praying and meditating all the while. This has it's origin in pagan worship, but has been drug into Christian circles as part of contemplative prayer practices, and is being promoted by Rosicrucian groups, at New Age festivals and celebrations, and throughout the neo-pagan world.

    Sitting down while we hear God's word being preached isn't comparable to how we are commanded to pray. It isn't even wise to try and base any argument on this. With all the new age/mysticism making its way into the church, it is essential we compare what we see happening with what God's word says. How are we to pray?

    I will share Matthew Henry's commentary on Matthew 6:6, 'But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall recompense thee.' —-

    "Instead of praying in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, enter into thy closet, into some place of privacy and retirement. Isaac went into the field (Gen_24:63), Christ to a mountain, Peter to a housetop. No place amiss in point of ceremony, if it do but answer the end. Note, Secret prayer is to be performed in retirement, that we may be unobserved, and so may avoid ostentation; undisturbed, and so may avoid distraction; unheard, and so may use greater freedom; yet if the circumstances be such that we cannot possibly avoid being taken notice of, we must not therefore neglect the duty, lest the omission be a greater scandal than the observation of it.
    [2.] Instead of doing it to be seen of men, pray to thy Father who is in secret; to me, even to me, Zec_7:5, Zec_7:6. The Pharisees prayed rather to men than to God; whatever was the form of their prayer, the scope of it was to beg the applause of men, and court their favours. “Well, do thou pray to God, and let that be enough for thee. Pray to him as a Father, as thy Father, ready to hear and answer, graciously inclined to pity, help, and succour thee. Pray to thy Father who is in secret.” Note, In secret prayer we must have an eye to God, as present in all places; he is there in thy closet when no one else is there; there especially nigh to thee in what thou callest upon him for. By secret prayer we give God the glory of his universal presence (Act_17:24), and may take to ourselves the comfort of it.
    (2.) The encouragements here given us to it.
    [1.] Thy Father seeth in secret; his eye is upon thee to accept thee, when the eye of no man is upon thee to applaud thee; under the fig-tree, I saw thee, said Christ to Nathaniel, Joh_1:48. He saw Paul at prayer in such a street, at such a house, Act_9:11. There is not a secret, sudden breathing after God, but he observes it."

    Prayer isn't a ritual we perform, it isn't some outward mechanical work; it is personal intercourse with our precious God, one on one. There is no greater intimacy between a believer and his/her God than when that person is in deep, heartfelt prayer with God. Visual aids are not necessary, just a heart that loves and seeks after its God.

    September 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM Reply
    • Sarah #

      I will end my argument here, because I think it's pointless to spend any more time arguing with someone who isn't really interested in changing his mind. I've personally never prayer in a prayer circle. I don't think anyone is saying that we have to do so. I also have rarely prayer in an actual closet. But I think we can use all kind of tools to refocus our attention where it needs to be, and if someone is able to use the idea of a circle, more power to them.

      September 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM Reply
  5. lyn #

    As Matthew Henry pointed out, it isn't a literal 'prayer closet' that was being referred to. If one needs a 'tool' to focus, then that person is relying on an outward source to help connect them to God, bring them closer, etc.

    As I stated, that cannot be supported from Scripture. Prayer comes from within. It's sad that so many Christians resort to outward means to get some type of closer experience their God.
    We defend what we can't support with His word, then we become offended when confronted. Rather than this be the end result, I would as that each of us seek the Lord, get into His word and search. Dig deep, compare what you see and hear with what His word says. Do research and see where the latest 'fad' originates. If there are any suspicious ties to any pagan movements, etc., wouldn't it be more honorable to God to avoid that method than possibly offending Him?
    We dare not think God will accept whatever we think is acceptable, remember "Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them." Lev. 10:1
    They were struck down, on the spot. God had NOT commanded their strange fire, nor does God now command prayer circles, labyrinths, or whatever else man invents and says is acceptable.

    September 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM Reply
    • godsfingers #

      Who is Mathew Henry and why should I care? There's a repeating pattern here of reliance on other men's words that shows, yes, you're very well read but lack knowledge of the Bible. The Berians didn't take Paul at face value and so far you all, in your arguments haven't been lining up with the FULL bible text.

      Your comment above about missionaries left me rolling on the floor, thanks for the laugh. Paul didn't do his missions work speaking in tongues, he spoke Greek, Aramaic, Latin of the day. You leave out the part of missionary testimonies where they opened their mouths and out came, who knows, but the recipients heard their own languages from one source. They also report limbs growing back and resurrections, but then you will debunk them because it doesn't fit your commentaries.

      January 18, 2015 at 7:32 AM Reply
      • godsfingers #

        What is opinionated as opposed to Biblical. Actually, if one should be censored it would be you. You keep ignoring direct Bible texts and bringing in false teachers from your sect. I've asked direct questions and you bring vague opinions ( err I mean rightly divided word). I rather enjoy debating you folks, it's always the same you bring in your key verses which I debunk, rightly, then you bring in your theologians which matters not to me because they are false teachers, then you resort to childish come backs about missionaries learning languages. There's a time to admit defeat and be gracious, your continued rants don't stand up to God's Word.

        January 18, 2015 at 4:52 PM Reply
      • godsfingers #

        Oh, just so you know, I was invited to these forums, unsolicited, by Mike and Amy a few weeks ago. Frankly, as one who perverts the Bible you should be shunned but I make no request but I di pray that you folks will see the light of the Bible before it's too late.

        January 19, 2015 at 7:56 AM Reply
        • standupwi #

          Why would we invite someone to our forums who would accuse us of perverting the Bible?

          That makes no sense to me. You know our comments policy…

          Please, tell me the reasons you think I should allow you to post your comments here. Last chance to humble yourself, in other words.

          January 19, 2015 at 8:51 AM Reply
          • Answered by email

            January 19, 2015 at 12:25 PM
  6. lyn #

    There are a couple of excellent resources on prayer written by Matthew Henry and AW Pink, you can read Henry's at matthewhenryDOTorg/ and Pink's at pbministriesDOTorg/books/pink/Commandments/indexDOThtm

    September 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM Reply
  7. After reading all the comments here and other articles on this subject I noticed one omission. The work of the Holy Spirit has been ignored. Didn't Jesus promise to send the Holy Spirit who would lead his disciples and future regenerates into all truth? Isn't the work of the Spirit to point us always to Jesus and the inspired word? Is the Spirit also our line of defense from deception? We are warned to not follow myths and fables which are introduced by wolves who are led by demons! The Word of GOD has no mercy for false teachers but warns His flock to always be on guard against these evil tall tales. I am tired of people who keep defending workers of satan by buying their books , cd's,etc. One day we will all face Jesus as judge and that's where the rubber will meet the road. The truth of Jesus will fill the earth and all the circle makers, mystics,pantheists,universalists,dominionists,feel-gooders/ non negative positive thinkers will be put to shame by the most holy awe inspiring truth there is , Jesus the incarnate WORD of GOD who has no equal!

    January 12, 2014 at 6:54 AM Reply
    • lyn #

      Well said D.V….amen

      January 12, 2014 at 7:08 AM Reply
  8. frances #

    Pagan holidays included. Christmas and easter are not of GOD. look at the origins of those holidays.

    May 22, 2014 at 10:29 PM Reply
    • Resurrection Sunday is still resurrection Sunday no matter how you dress it. Since we don't know the day of Christ's birth ( and neither did first century Christians), presumptively September 11, first century Christians would have celebrated the Festival of lights, Chanukah the 25th, as the birth of the light of the world. As anti-semitism grew the date would have been put on the Roman calendar. All this paganism has come about in the anti-catholic campaign post reformation. I've never understood the need to create a false doctrine to combat the catholics, the Bible is powerful enough. Necromancy and idol worship should be evidence enough.

      January 19, 2015 at 2:30 PM Reply
  9. LBE #

    When three people touch and agree while praying, they are generally in a circle. The principles are prayer and faith, trusting in His word. When God leads us to study His word, He gives us revelation and discernment. I thank Him for wisdom and revelation and connection by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

    July 7, 2014 at 4:56 AM Reply
  10. Kirsten #

    It makes no sense to me why fellow believers would want to embrace a practice that witches and satanist practice in their rituals. There is nothing in scripture to support this. Joining hands in agreement in a prayer circle is like comparing apples to oranges. Satan loves to take something and distort it and manipulate it away from God or to corrupt Christian standards in compromise. I think if people knew more of how the enemy works and who he is then you would not be look to bring anything that represents him into the presence of God, with any justifications.

    August 3, 2014 at 8:42 AM Reply
  11. thomas5ct #

    Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, I have just one question? Do I stop wearing my wedding ring? because it's shape is the same as that which is used in Satanic rituals?

    January 16, 2015 at 8:08 AM Reply
  12. rosinavoz #

    Good gracious, no! It is not the shape that is the problem…but the use of the circles as described in the article to draw people away from the gospel truth.

    January 16, 2015 at 12:11 PM Reply
  13. Stefanie #

    I will disagree with one posting here about the gift of tongues..it did not go away, It is the :least of the gifts, but it is a vital part of prayer in my life and I have had this gift since I was 9 years old. I only exercise this gift when in private prayer and/or when praying over someone that has asked me to pray with them. I do receive interpretation of that gift from the Holy Spirit and am able to discern it. I do not speak out in a congregation. I discern scripture. But, to say it is gone and closed…I think your mind may be closed to the inner workings of the Holy Spirit and putting limits on His ability to move His people. Has it been abused? you bet is has! Just like so many other gifts….just be careful in not casting the first stone…Peace.

    January 18, 2015 at 11:12 AM Reply
  14. No one Important #

    I just believe we should stay as close to Gods word as possible in all matters. This entire controversy is shocking to me. Who and what can we trust? Jesus said in those days would He find faith? Will He? Lets have faith in Jesus not man. Jesus taught us how to pray that should be the end of the discussion.

    January 18, 2015 at 3:50 PM Reply
  15. I had to come here to read up on the book, I've never read it but there's a lot of bruhaha about it here. So, if I conclude correctly, he wants you to ritualistically draw a circle on the ground and write your prayers in it? I didn't understand. or is it on paper? What's the difference between writing your prayer list in a circle or in a rectangle? Is there an incantation to go with it? Is it more faith movement implied as far as the prayers? Do you go in the circle and do breath prayers,chants, mantras? Guess I have to get the book and find out.

    The key is ritualistic. Honi could have made a line, or an x. He was testing God (and himself ) according to the suggestion in Malachi (for rain as opposed to money and ready to wait for it, in faith) to prove persistent prayer accomplishes things. He drew a line in the sand. Why a circle? Because no matter what direction he went he would not cross the line. And he only did it once. Gypsy Smith, only did it once.

    Quoting Mathew Henry is a stretch I don't trust any witch hunt era preachers. And his reference to the "familiar spirits" clued me. I mean really, "presenting ourselves to him as living sacrifices, which we desire may be holy and acceptable to God and a spiritual service and then bind these festal sacrifices with cords up to the horns of the altar," sounds petty pagan to me (from his method of prayer book). And the vast wordiness, and wordiness, and wordiness reminds me of being rather contrary to Jesus warning when comparing to two prayers. He, like those in his era were more concerned with their religion than any relationship. Let your prayer be rich in faith and your words few.

    February 9, 2015 at 6:27 PM Reply
    • Roberta #

      "Let your prayer be rich in faith and your words few." Do you practice what you preach for your entries are quite "wordy" as opposed to some.

      Kettles often do call pots black. Just sayin…..

      February 10, 2015 at 8:18 AM Reply
      • You need to check out his prayer book, the was the inference. If you've ever had the opportunity to endure someone's 25-30 minute prayer.

        February 12, 2015 at 2:50 PM Reply
    • I see the rock throwers came by to reduce my reputation. I went through all the links in the article, and nowhere, nowhere, does Mark Batterson invoke magic or the occult, only the writers placing occult. I agree with concern over Beth Moore, breath prayers, and such but this demonizing is out and out hate filled.

      His prayer circle is no more occult than Suzanna Wesley's prayer apron. In the same token I'm thankful you rock throwers weren't around Suzanna Wesley. If she'd been around 60 years earlier she may have been burned at the stake because of her "prayer apron". Can't find mention in the Bible about a prayer apron, doncha know…

      February 10, 2015 at 11:33 AM Reply
  16. Paige #

    Please. One only needs to read Gipsy Smith's autobiography (GIPSY SMITH: HIS LIFE AND WORK. New York, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1911) to know he was not practicing the occult, that his tender heart was trained on Christ, that the Word of God was so sweet to this man. Is it really necessary to look for devils behind every door? Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. I love the idea of drawing a circle around me and begging the Lord to allow my heart to be revived so I can effectively carry His message. You've missed the point. Anything contrary to scripture is always wrong, and if there are those who practice weird, pagan circle rituals, or use it to promote prosperity doctrine, that's on them. GS's heart was true.

    February 17, 2015 at 6:35 PM Reply
    • standupwi #

      Since Honi is contrary to Scripture, then what do you conclude?

      February 17, 2015 at 11:02 PM Reply

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