Praying Circles around your Children (Reprise)

A few years ago, I did a study through the book, “Praying Circles around Your Children” and I believe it is powerful enough to repeat. In fact, I think I need a refresher in purposeful prayer for my children (often). So, if you joined me two years ago, dust off your copy or fire up you kindle (if you need renewal) or order up a copy and join us! Prayers for our children are priceless!

Praying Circles around Your Children

It’s a short read and full of meat.  I was tempted to read it straight through without pausing for reflection- too much is missed that way- what better way to study it than together? You can order the book hard copy or download it to your Kindle (I feel so hip saying that)- click here.  If you are like me, you won’t want to read this book via a kindle, because you can’t write in the margins, the old fashioned way.

The prayer foundation of the book is found in the “Legend of the Circle Maker”

“It was the first century BC and a devastating drought threatened to destroy a generation, the generation before Jesus. The last of the Jewish prophets had died off nearly four centuries before. Miracles were such a distant memory that they seemed like a false memory. And God was nowhere to be heard. But there was one man, an eccentric sage who lived outside the walls of Jerusalem, who dared to pray anyway. His name was Honi.1 And even if the people could no longer hear God, he believed that God could still hear them.
When rain is plentiful, it’s an afterthought. During a drought, it’s the only thought. And Honi was their only hope. Famous for his ability to pray for rain, it was on this day—the day—that Honi would earn his moniker.
With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi began to turn like a math compass. His circular movement was rhythmical and methodical. Ninety degrees. One hundred and eighty degrees. Two hundred and seventy degrees. Three hundred and sixty degrees. He never looked up as the crowd looked on. After what seemed like hours, but had only been seconds, Honi stood inside the circle he had drawn. Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. With the authority of the prophet Elijah who called down fire from heaven, Honi called down rain.
“Lord of the Universe, I swear before your great name that I will not move from this circle until you have shown mercy upon your children.”
The words sent a shudder down the spine of all who were within earshot that day. It wasn’t just the volume of his voice. It was the authority of his tone. Not a hint of doubt. This prayer didn’t originate in the vocal chords. Like water from an artesian well, the words flowed from the depth of his soul. His prayer was resolute yet humble; confident yet meek; expectant yet unassuming.
Then it happened.
As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth. An audible gasp swept across the thousands of congregants who had encircled Honi. Every head turned heavenward as the first raindrops parachuted from the sky, but Honi’s head remained bowed. The people rejoiced over each drop, but Honi wasn’t satisfied with a sprinkle. Still kneeling within the circle, Honi lifted his voice over the sounds
of celebration.
“Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.”
The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour that eyewitnesses said no
raindrop was smaller than an egg in size. It rained so heavily and so steadily that the
people fled to the Temple Mount to escape the flash floods. Honi stayed and prayed
inside his protracted circle. Once more he refined his bold request.
“Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain of Thy favor, blessing, and
Then, like a well-proportioned sun shower on a hot and humid August afternoon, it
began to rain calmly, peacefully. Each raindrop was a tangible token of God’s grace.
And they didn’t just soak the skin; they soaked the spirit with faith. It would be
forever remembered as the day. The day thunderclaps applauded the Almighty. The
day puddle jumping became an act of praise. The day the legend of the circle maker
was born. It had been difficult to believe the day before the day. The day after the
day, it was impossible not to believe.
Honi was celebrated like a hometown hero by the people whose lives he had saved.
But some within the Sanhedrin called the Circle Maker into question. A faction
believed that drawing a circle and demanding rain dishonored God. Maybe it was
those same members of the Sanhedrin who would criticize Jesus for healing a man’s
withered arm on the Sabbath a generation later. They threatened Honi with
excommunication, but because the miracle could not be repudiated, Honi was
ultimately honored for his act of prayerful bravado.
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.”

.- Mark Batterson,

What are you doing right?

What if we believed as Honi did?  What if we prayed with such conviction, such authority for our children?  What if we circled our children in prayer?  Will you join me?
What supplies do you need?
Praying Circles around your Children
A journal
A pen
A willing heart
(and if you are anything like me- totally optional- sticky-notes, hi-lighter, index cards and a fine tip sharpie)

Please join me!  Go ahead and read up to and including chapter four so we can begin together on Monday, February 4th, with the first circle-circling the promises of God.

Throughout the five week study, one for each of the five circles, I will share some of my past and present prayers for my children, along with the answers. My emphasis will be praying for hurt children with attachment issues and the capital letter syndromes.Your emphasis can be whatever God puts on your heart.  I’ll be digging out my old journals, dusting them off and sharing from the history of God’s faithfulness!
I’ll be blogging more about it this week!

Praying Circles around Your Children- Triggers, Part 2

Triggers, Part 2

Children and toddlers lined both sides of the table, babbling, joyfully anticipating the traditional Friday meal out.  The children outnumbered parents almost six to one, so in the name of efficiency, one Mom traveled down the line  with antibacterial drops, blobbing a small portion on each  outstretched hand.  When she neared my youngest son, I called, “Stop!”  It was too late.  I saw the drop of sticky goo suspended in mid-air.  My body seemed to only work in slow motion as I tried to get to him.  He let out a loud, long, guttural wail and then he fell forward, his mouth still agape, his lips blue.
“I’m sorry!” my mom friend offered.

  Any antiseptic sent him into a meltdown in his early years.  How do we pray for our kids in the midst of a trigger?  How do we help them through.  There’s an old adage, “Time heals all wounds”.  That is not true!  Time does not heal. 

If a trigger is not addressed and time simply passes, a child will not heal or overcome the trauma.  That is why circling your child in prayer is so important.   My youngest son no longer melts down at a drop of antibacterial  hand sanitizer.  

How did I pray for him and how did he overcome this?  I wish I had some magic formula to whisk pain away and remove all difficult circumstances.  I couldn’t pray for all hand sanitizer to vanish from the face of the earth.  I did pray that God would heal him and then I had to help him do it afraid.  

If we removed every obstacle from our children’s lives, how would they learn to overcome?  More sensitivity needs to be applied to children who have come from hard places, but they too must learn to ‘do it afraid’.   

Paul does not admonish us to pray for removal of the circumstance, but the secret to facing any circumstance is the strength that Christ gives us.

12 I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
13 I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who <sup class="footnote" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a]infuses inner strength into me; I am <sup class="footnote" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[b]”>[b]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. -Philippians 4:12-13
Christ’s strength is infused in us.  He gives us strength for all things.  As I mentioned in my last post, I still have triggers that I am working thorough with the help of Christ.  I empathize with my children and I am more willing to pray for them in their times of struggle, hypersensitivity and regression because I am just a weakling.  For years, I let fear boss me around.  Triggers shot me out the door like a bullet.  I would have been the Israelite who turned and ran back to Egypt instead of crossing THROUGH the Red Sea because it would have been too claustrophobic-feeling-scary for me.  What if God forgot for a moment to suspend the laws of nature and a wave crashed over me (cause I am not valuable enough to save)?  
Hurt children have overwhelming catastrophic fears.  If they cannot control the day- something will go wrong.  If the schedule changes-something horrible might happen.  If people are wearing white lab coats-they will hurt me.  
 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.               -II Timothy 1:7 
Yes, the scripture I pray for myself (last post), I pray for my children. I am thankful for EVERYTHING I went through in my life and my residual triggers because I can attest of His faithfulness and deliverance to my children when I sit, when I stand, when I walk by the way, in an elevator and a tunnel.
* Click on Red Sea above to read blogger Tracey’s post!
Next time:
Meltdowns are Opportunities! 

Praying Circles Around your Children, Week 5


This is the last week of our study, Praying Circles Around your Children!
It’s been a great study. I am glad you took the time to study with me!

The last circle-praying through the Word for your children is an awesome task.  It is a sowing project of mammoth proportions.  I keep random notes everywhere, so if you are diligent and disciplined enough to write in a Bible for each child, then Godspeed and God bless.  I will stick with my posty-notes and ask God to bless my randomness.  He will. He promises in Isaiah that HIS WORD will not return void.  It won’t return empty.  It is out there in the atmosphere doing what God commissioned it to do. 

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so  that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth;
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent.
Isaiah 55:10-11

I’d like to switch gears a bit and delve into praying for hurt children.  

Saturday I went to lunch with daughters two and three and a son-in-law.  We were driving to the restaurant when I felt my old nemesis rise up in my chest- fear.  My heart rate increased.  My face felt hot, my palms sweaty.  For the next hour, I was on the edge of panic.  I cried out to God (in my head), “Why?  What is going on?  I thought I was past all this!”  I’m not sure what set off the panic, the change of plans?  Not being in the driver’s seat?  

After my parent’s divorce, my father moved from state to state.  When he came in the summer to pick us four kids up, the departure was swift.  We packed our bags in the trunk of his car and sped down the lane, leaving a trail of dust behind us, Mom growing smaller in the distance, standing on the porch watching us disappear. This is the moment  fear gripped me, the familiar faded; the unknown lay before me.  Anxiety choked me while my stomach threatened to explode its contents.  No one explained where we were going.  I didn’t have a map.  My sensitive soul craved positive words of affirmation.  None came.

Once in awhile, fear grips me and I am transported to my childhood once again. After ions of adulthood, a smell, a phrase, a sound, a change in plans cans send me back into the spindly freckle-faced body.  Logic leaves.  Fear reigns for a time until I circle- God has not given unto me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)

It is a mistake to think that hurt children grow out of the pain of traumatic experiences.  My adopted children have experienced trauma beyond my understanding..  My momentary panic attacks are tangible reminders to pray for my children when I see a precursor to meltdown moments.

Everyone has triggers.  Most are minor annoyances.  We can switch gears and deal with life. Hurt children have a difficult time switching gears and a simple change in plans can lead to panic and meltdown.  I recognize the signs in my children.  What are yours?

More next time on triggers.  How do you pray for a child in the midst of a meltdown?  

Praying Circles around Your Children, Week 4

Praying Circles around Your Children- Forming Prayer Circles

Laying on of Hands

 Several years after the adoption, the kids and I were having our morning prayer. We stood in a circle holding hands.  Eldest daughter unexpectedly broke circle and laid hands on a brother.  After she circled each sibling; next eldest did the same.  It was a prayer time I will never forget. The Spirit of the Lord was on my children to heal, to proclaim liberty to the captives and proclaim the acceptable time of the Lord (Isiah 61:1-2).  Chains fell off my children.  Each of them experienced a measure of healing in this powerful prayer time.

“The power of touch, even on a human level, is an amazing thing.  But when you add the power of God to the equation, it sets the stage for something supernatural.”

My adopted children needed touch on a regular basis to make up for the lack of loving touch in the early years.  Children with attachment disorders need planned purposeful contact.  I couldn’t wait for my children to snuggle with me.  I had to find ways to make contact with them.  Morning hugs.  Shoulder to shoulder on the couch while reading.  Holding hands on the way to the park.  Night time hugs and prayer times.  One year I made it a point to hug each child every morning.  Maybe you don’t have children with attachment issues and this sounds like a ridiculous thing to have to plan. For those of us who parent children with these issues- you understand.  Unattached children want to be in control.  They want things on their terms.  So, for more and dad to have a hug on demand is a challenge.

I find it interesting that God heals through the laying on of hands.  Hurt children need touch.  Touch heals.

“Research shows that touch has the power to fight viruses, relieve stress, improve sleep, and help us recover more quickly from injury.”- Mark Batterson

  Touch can hurt too.  Many children in foster care or orphanages have been hurt by physical contact in their previous life.  It is a painful thing to accept healing through the instrument that hurt them.

Letter from Sam to his birth mother from Adopting the Hurt Child:

Dear Ex-Mom, 
I am writing this to tell you I hate you.  You were mean to my brother and me.  You didn’t take care of us or feed us, and you let your boyfriend have sex with us.  You left us outside when we were so little we got sunburned and had to go to the hospital.  You said you would be back for us, but you lied.
I have a new family now, and I have been mean to them because I am mad at you.  No more.  My scars from the sunburn are still there, but you are out of my life.
Good-bye forever,
Your ex-sun, (Sam’s slip of the pen)

Sam’s story resonates with my children’s stories.  Any one of my adopted children could have written a letter similar to this one.  Their beginnings were not with loving, healing touch.  How about yours?
When entrenched in the day to day, feeding, clothing, schooling, taxing of our children, the depth of their pain  takes a back seat even though  it is evident in their reaction, their tone, their hypersensitivity and their meltdowns.  Lay hands on your children.  God knows the depth of their pain.  If they wiggle away, just keep trying.  If they hide under the table, hide with them.  If they can’t stand a hug, try placing one finger on the arm, then two, then a hand.  It is a long, but rewarding process. Be patient.  Lay your hands on softly.  Quietly speak words of encouragement.

“It is our firm belief that children hurt by abuse and neglect can learn to love and trust adults in a family setting.  Growth and development continue throughout the life span, and it is rarely too late for a child to change.”- Adopting the Hurt Child

Don’t forget to check out Maria‘s post!