On p. 21 of The Circle Maker, Pastor Batterson states: “It was the legend of Honi the Circle Maker. And it forever changed the way I pray.” Not even a century later the apostles asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. He began, “Our Father…”(Matthew 6:9-13) Yet now we are being asked to change, based not on a prayer from the mouth of the Son of God, but from the mouth of a legend. If the prayer of Honi is so powerful, why is it not in the Word of God, The Bible, and not merely in something called The Book of Legends?
Is Mark Batterson truly asking us to leave the rock-solid foundation of prayer found in the Word of God and begin praying according to the shifting-sands dictates of a non-biblical legend? Surely that cannot be.
The Final Point: the Character of Each Man
One last point needs to be mentioned. Throughout our rather extensive study of Elijah we notice the character of the man. Each refinement the Lord puts him through is met with humble, total obedience. No matter what the Lord ordered Elijah to do, there was never any murmuring or reluctance on Elijah’s part. One was the Master; the other was the submissive servant. Such is not the case with Honi. The first time God sent rain after Honi drew his circle and prayed it was only a sprinkle. “But Honi wasn’t satisfied with a sprinkle and complained to the Lord – “not for such rain have I prayed.””(p. 12) The second time he prayed flash floods came. Unlike Elijah who accepted the heavy rain and the resulting flash floods as God’s will, Honi again was not pleased. So he prayed again until the rain was as he wanted it. While there may be more than one aspect of this entire scenario upon which to comment, there is one that troubles me more than any other. When was the last time you questioned God’s judgment and argued with Him? And then argued again until you got your way?
9 Woe to him who strives with his Maker!—a worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless [and yet presuming to strive with his Maker]! Shall the clay say to who fashions it, What do you think you are making? or, Your work has no handles?
11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Would you question Me about things to come concerning My children, and concerning the work of My hands [would you] command Me?
– Isaiah 45:9 and 11 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Can a man be called a prophet of God, a humble servant of the Lord, if that man argues with his Lord and Master? Is this the kind of sound doctrine readers are to be taught, to argue with God until they get what they want?!
NEW WAYS OR TRIED AND TRUE WAYS
We don’t need “new” ways. The Lord beseeches His people that the only way for them to find rest and peace is in His tried and true ways – the ways in His Word. 2Timothy 2:15 commands us to know what God’s Word says and means so that we will not be ashamed when we present ourselves before Him. It is our place of safety and wisdom, not only for us but for the generations who will follow us. For their safety, we must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
16 Thus says the Lord: “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not listen.’
– Jeremiah 6:16-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
Here we stand much like the people at Mt. Carmel. How long will we limp between two opinions? If God and His Word are sufficient, follow them. If they are not, follow the teachings of a legend. You can’t have it both ways.
Batterson, Mark. Circle Maker. Zondervan, 2016.
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I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published: Michelle Arrington, Hannah Hall, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, Tracy Yoder, and J.P.Wilhelm. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.