The Prayer-Circled Marriage
Joel and Nina Schmidgall’s new book offers great advice about both prayer and marriage.
Some books offer advice about marriage, others about prayer.
Praying Circles Around Your Marriage offers advice about both, under the assumption that couples who pray together stay together. “The richness of your marriage will be determined by how frequently and how fervently God is invited into your relationship,” write Joel and Nina Schmidgall. “Prayer will draw you into unity with God and, as a result, with one another.”
The concept of “praying circles around _____” comes from Mark Batterson’s excellent book, The Circle Maker. The Schmidgalls are in-laws of Batterson and work with him at National Community Church in Washington, D.C., Joel as executive pastor and Nina as direct of family ministry. Their book is an excellent addition to the “Circle Maker” brand.
The Schmidgalls identify seven areas (or “circles”) of marriage that couples need to address prayerfully:
- developing a shared purpose (Vision Circle),
- resolving family conflicts (War Circle),
- cultivating personal intimacy (Romance Circle),
- balancing marital unity with individual interests (Dance Circle),
- establishing a peer network (Support Circle),
- responding to unexpected crises (Storm Circle), and
- impacting future generations (Legacy Circle).
“Of course, the purpose of prayer is not to get what we want from God for our marriage,” the Schmidgalls write in conclusion. “Its purpose is to commune with God and gain His heart for our marriage.”
Praying Circles Around Your Marriage offers Bible-based, common-sense, experience-tested advice about prayer-filled marriages. It’s suitable for private reading but can also be used in premarital and marriage counseling, as well as in book clubs and small groups.
Joel and Nina Schmidgall, Praying Circles Around Your Marriage (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2019).
This review first appeared in the January-February 2019 issue of Influence magazine.
For more on this topic, check out the Influence Podcast with Joel and Nina Schmidgall.