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Summary: loosely based on Mark Batterson's The Circle Maker. As we circle our “Jericho” in prayer, we need to trust God’s promises and Be Specific in what we want God to do.

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TEXT: Joshua 6:1

TITLE: Praying with Excellence - BECOMING A CIRCLE MAKER

SERIES: Being the Church with Excellence

TOPIC: Prayer

OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, March 3, 2013

PROP. As we circle our “Jericho” in prayer, we need to trust God’s promises and Be Specific in what we want God to do.

INTRODUCTION: Good morning! Today, we are continuing to learn about being the church with excellence. Today…our attention is once again focused towards PRAYING with excellence. The first church that was birthed on the day of Pentecost, was CONTINUALLY devoted to prayer. That’s what (in part) made them excellent!

Would you classify yourself as being continually devoted to prayer? Would you say that you are a person of prayer?

As we are learning to be a church that prays with excellence, it’s vitally important for us learn how to pray. That’s exactly where we started last week…the disciples were with Jesus and they were bold with the right request: “Lord, Teach us to pray!” Luke 11:1

I have recently read a book called: The Circle Maker. It has revolutionized my prayer life in a phenomenal way.

Today, I want to explain what I mean when I use the phrase “BECOMING A CIRCLE MAKER…”

What does it mean to be a circle maker in regards to prayer? To answer this question this morning, I want to take you to the original circle makers found in the book of Joshua. I want to start out in Joshua chapter 6.

Let me set the stage for you. So the children of God (called the Israelites) have been led out of slavery in Egypt by Moses. They were journeying on their way to the promised land…you remember the land that God promised to them don’t you? It was flowing with MILK and HONEY…or by today‘s standards…the land was bountiful with Doritos and Mt. Dew! The land was awesome! It was going to be their home for as long as the world would endure.

But there was a problem…as they were on their way toward this land that God had promised to them, Moses sent out 12 men to go check out the land that God had promised to them (Number 13). So after 40 days of spying out the land, the 12 men came back to give Moses a report on what the land was like…They all reported that the land was filled with delicious fruit and was bountiful with resources. But they also saw giants living in the land. And only 2 of the 12 believed they could conquer the people who occupied the land.

So because they failed to trust and obey God on several occasions, God decided to punish the nation of Israel by forcing them to spend 40 YEARS in the wilderness wandering with no home.

God told the Israelites that the generation that was disobedient would NOT live to see the land that God promised to them.

Well, that brings us to the book of Joshua. Several years have now passed. The Israelites had nearly finished their wandering in the wilderness and are ABOUT to take the promised land that God had told them was theirs! The great and revered leader, MOSES, was dead and gone. Joshua was now the leader of Israel.

And so as Israel was about to cross the Jordan river and enter into the land that God promised to them…

Only one thing stood in their way. It was a city. And it wasn’t just any city. It was JERICHO.

BACKGROUND OF THE HISTORY OF JERICHO:

I need to give you some background on the city of Jericho. Here is Jericho (show modern day picture) Not so impressive right? Well that’s AFTER God destroyed the city.

Here is what the city’s limits looked like: (show border of city)

Listen to one Bible scholar’s comments on Jericho:

Ancient Jericho is located at Tell es-Sultan, a mound scarred with the trenches of archaeological digs. It is next to a natural spring on the western edge of the Jordan Valley, just north of the Dead Sea (which was originally within the city-walls). The site’s excellent water supply and favorable climate (especially in winter) have made it a desirable place to live in ancient times, giving it the distinction of being called the oldest city in the world. The site is strategically located. From Jericho one has access to the heartland of Canaan. Any military force attempting to penetrate the central hill country from the east, as the Bible describes Joshua and the Israelites doing, would have to first capture Jericho.

Jericho is described as a strong fortified city with walls and a gate, built on a hill, so that any attackers had to go up to take it (Joshua 2:5,7,15; 6:5,20). As the door to the whole Land of Caanan, it was a most strongly fortified city.

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