Honi the Circle Maker is a story that enables us to be spiritually enlightened about turning unfruitful ways into productive attitudes. Like a garden requiring regular watering of the dust to bring forth fruit, so is our soul. Here is the story from Wikipedia: “Honi ha-M’agel (Honi the Circle-drawer) was a Jewish scholar of the 1st-century BC, prior to the age of the tannaim, the scholars from whose teachings the Mishnah was derived. During the 1st century BC, a variety of religious movements and splinter groups developed amongst the Jews in Judea. A number of individuals claimed to be miracle workers in the tradition of Elijah and Elisha, the ancient Jewish prophets. The Talmud provides some examples of such Jewish miracle workers, one of whom is Honi ha-Ma’agel, who was famous for his ability to successfully pray for rain. It is reported that, on one occasion, when God did not send rain well into the winter (in the geographic regions of Israel, it rains mainly in the winter), Honi drew a circle in the dust, stood inside it, and informed God that he would not move until it rained. When it began to drizzle, Honi told God that he was not satisfied and expected more rain; it then began to pour. He explained that he wanted a calm rain, at which point the rain calmed to a normal rain. He was almost put into cherem (excommunication) for the above incident in which he showed “dishonor” to God. However, Shimon ben Shetach, the brother of Queen Shlomtzion, excused him, saying that he was Honi and had a special relationship with God.” This essay will suggest we need to draw a circle around the dust of the soul, where unfruitful attitudes exist, until the rains of the spiritual fruit comes. The water of life will transform our spiritual infertility into spiritual fertlility.
As we all know, rain is essential to ensure our survival by making the earth fertile for growing food. What Honi the Circle Maker did, by praying for rain during a drought, was to benefit whosover suffering hunger and thirst. From the inner life of Honi was the fertile ground of faith, love, goodness, and perseverance. Even then, there were some whose inner life was full of dust and who wanted Honi sentenced to death for successfully praying for rain. Honi was marked a heretic. Within us we must draw a circle around the dusty and infertile ground where sour attitudes exist towards others. Then we should pray for the rains of the spiritual fruit to make what we think, feel, and do compatible to an humanitarian purpose. God gives us the fruit of the spirit to enable ordinary human beings to be motivated in noble ways towards one another. Absent of the spiritual fruit we become indifferent and cruel to the welfare of the needy. Amidst the dust of unfruitfulness pray for the rains of spiritual fertility. Here are some attitudes that lay within the dusty, hardened, and calloused earth; hate, cruelty, ill-will, conflict, aggression, harshness, despair, pessimism, evil, fatality, out of control reactions, and rash responses. These are the attitudes that lurked within those seeking the death of Honi. In contrast, the soft, moist, tenderness of the spiritual fruit are the rains that will turn dusty ground into spiritual fertility. Draw a circle around the dust of our inner life to drench in the qualities of the spirit’s fruit. Those fruitful rains include; love, peace, faith, perseverance, kindness, gentleness, joy, patience, goodwill, meekness, goodness, and self-control.
Health concerns should be in the center of the prayer circle. After receiving multiple physical healings, I can reveal that not one time did I pray specifically for those healings. Amidst my discomfort, my one desire was for the spiritual fruit to saturate my inner life. I unwittingly did according to Honi the Circle Maker. I placed the dust of my ailments into a circle where my prayers were for the rains of the spiritual fruit. Subsequently, I received substantial healings…the type that places unfruitful individuals into ardent denial, but grants fruitful individuals with wonderment. More important than physical healings are the healings of our inner thoughts, feelings, and resulting behaviors. Honi is an example of thoughts and emotions with the spiritual fruit as in his behavior he performed in a way as to benefit humanity. As the spiritual fruit came to water the dust, the land was made fertile to bring many obvious healings to the hungry and thirsty. That miracle of rain also brought comfort in the minds and emotions of those fearing severe drought. In contrast, those seeking to put Honi to death was living from the dust of their soul. Their thoughts were uncomforting, emotions indifferent, and behaviors attempted to stop the source that could make the infertile fertile. The fruit of prayer did not exist in their spirit. When we feel as though a drought is upon our spiritul needs, we need to be sure to allow the fruit of patience, self-control, and perseverance to be in the circle. Patience is the key that allows the saturation of fruitfulness to gradually absorb into the soul, regardless of our health situation. Self-control allows our focus to be on the rains we hope for without over-reacting on what we lack in our health. Perseverance enables us to continue with hope in our way of thinking and feeling amidst seemingly hopeless physical circumstances.
Security concerns should be in the center of the prayer circle. Insecurities are not necessarily due to some sort of inward frailty. Honi the Circle Maker showed how secure he was in faith amidst the uncertainity of the fate he might suffer for doing good. Drought conditions and rain making involved more than Honi and those who labeled him an heretic. The severe conditions involved the security of all the people. Imagine what they would be thinking during the scarcity of food and water. They had no way to regulate the weather which would cause widespread instability in their day to day living. Circumstances depriving people of basic needs often leads to stress, friction, and bodily harm. They can find no shelter from deterioration of secure living. Consequently, they could become unstable inwardly as they become plagued with insecurities about their fate. Bringing a safe and secure environment requires placing the dust of insecurities within a circle and praying for the rains of the spiritual fruit. Honi the Circle Maker already possessed peace, meekness, and gentleness within to enable him to respond to the potential of calamity with a stable purpose. The rains Honi prayed for would bring security to the people. Those who referred to Honi as an herectic unsuccessfully called for his death and was filled with the dust of a harsh, violent, and aggressive inner life. Like Honi, we should place our insecurities in a circle and pray for the rains of a meek and gentle spirit of peace. In so doing, we can contribute to a safe and secure environment by contributing to tranquility amidst hostile offenses. Place the dusty attitude of aggression into the circle to saturate with the water of meekness. We will bring the fruit of security in our physical interactions. Put the dust of harshness in the prayer circle to be softened with gentleness. We will bear the fruit of safety to establish shelter amidst chaos. Let the dust of conflict be soaked with the rains of peace. This will bring the fruit of tranquility to stabilize day to day living.
Belonging concerns should be in the center of the prayer circle. Where we picture ourselves in the view of social placement relates to our attitude of people overall. While Honi the Circle Maker is known for performing miracles of rain, his direct social interaction was minimal. Even then, the love, goodwill, and kindness of his inner life was directed at the masses of people and for the whosoever. As Honi made a circle around the dust, he stood alone until the rains restored fertility to the earth for the benefit of all. Some people hated Honi for his popularity among the people and with cruel intent wanted Honi to be executed as an herectic.The souls of those seeking the end of Honi was covered with dust causing them to be disassociated from social decency and would bring society to ruin. Belonging to a civil community of people requires that we put the dust of hate, cruelty, and ill-will into a circle as we pray for the rains of love, kindness, and goodwill. Devotion to social compassion requires sensitivity to the welfare of others, even if we stand alone to bring the rivers of life to those experiencing social calamity.
Esteem of one another should be in the center of the prayer circle. In the prayer circle is respect for God. Reverence for God causes our actions to be respectful to the worth of others. Honi the Circle Maker esteemed the worth of God above all, which brought benefits to all. As Honi stayed in the dusty circle it was a matter between him and God. Honi prayed for rain from a deep respect for the ability of God to perform wonders. When the rains came the masses of people felt a new life within themselves in celebration of the fertile earth. God granted respect to Honi from the people as Honi returned the acknowledgement of respect to the people. Foremost, Honi always reverenced the source of the rains, God. Those who sought to put Honi to death had no reverence to God and subsequently held no respect for the people. Within their dusty soul they would leave the earth desolate and the people insecure. They had no respect for the sanctity of life as they disrespected the universal deity. Negative energy manifested through the population. For us to put a circle around the dust of disparagement, we must first feel esteem for the living Divinity of the soul. Then the rains of the spiritual fruit will exalt our sense of worth according to our respect for others. Respect for God means respect for the spiritual fruitfulness in others. In that fruitfulness is the source of tranquility, love for life, reverence for the divine, and a positive perspective.
Self-actualization concerns should be in the center of the prayer circle. Goals of self-actualizing is the impetus of the question, “what do you want to be in the course of life”. Positively oriented people will identify with something constructive for society. In another light, negative people might identify with a destructive purpose. Those who wanted to self-actualize through Honi the Circle Makers murder would also spread despair, evil, and pessimism through the population. The people were desperate for water, but those opposing Honi would do nothing to present hope in a time of drought and infertility of the earth. They sought power through the dusty intent of the soul where the spiritual fruit was barren. Self-actualizing for them meant domination at the expense of a civil world. Honi had a different idea of self- actualizing, which made him more popular than the leaders who labled him an heretic. Honi the Circle Maker wanted to be what God wanted him to be. Honi’s identity became known as the person who could make it rain to return fertility to the earth. He stood in the dusty circle praying not to be great on the earth, but merely praying for rain for all the people of the earth. Honi self-actualized through the positive energy of faith, joy, and goodness. All that he became was enveloped in optimism, compassion, and a deep devotion to the universal deity. When we feel desolate inwardly with no hope, optimism, or positive future, we need to decide what we want to become from that dusty place. Do we choose to be a negatively destructive force or a positively constructive entity? We should draw a circle around the dust of hopeless feelings, pessimism, and inklings of evil to pray for the rains of joy, faith, goodness, hope, and optimism.
We can assess that prayer for the waters of the spiritual fruit will turn the dusty places of our soul into fertile territory. The diagnosis is that without prayer for the fruit of the spirit the dusty places become our hardened and infertile attitudes. In this light, we plan to pray for the fertility of our inner life so that we can manifest with fruitful growth. We implement this plan by placing sour sentiments of hatred, conflict, hopelessness, and fatality into a circle of prayer. We know we are successful when the spiritual fruit of love, peace, faith, perseverance, and eternal life begins to saturate our soul.
Prayer is the key to the lesson Honi the Circle Maker brings. With that said, there are some people who will attempt to deny the fruit of prayer from manifesting in the spirit. They know that prayer changes our inner life. Because a prayerful spirit is not an angry spirit they utilize hostile and harsh tones to combat prayer. They know a peaceful spirit is a community spirit. Similarly, a prayerful spirit does not embrace depression therefore they use pessimism, despair, and negativity in their attempt to defeat prayerfulness. They know a joyful spirit is the moral of a civilization. Interacting with people who oppose the fruit of prayer is like a constant tug-of-war. They use conversation like a negotiating event where they intend to usurp your attitude of prayer in exchange for your dependence on them. Opposers of the prayerful spirit will never accept the fruitful changes that happen within a person as a result of prayer.
In the story of Honi the Circle Maker, there was a population of people who plotted to destroy Honi’s rain-making prayers. Similarly, there are reservoirs of people who attack the prayerful spirit in the people of today. Their reason? Prayer changes people. The attitudes that exit the opposers of prayer are hostile to faith, God, and the spiritual fruit. With their words and behaviors they attempt to scatter away the rains of the soul to keep you imprisoned into the dust of spiritual infertility. Directly, those attitudes come from entities that want your petitions to be for the things they can give of this world. They attack prayerful petitions that regenerates the human spirit with kindness, meekness, joy, and eternal life. Indirectly, those who oppose life-changing prayer are endeavoring for materialistic and fleshly rewards while neglecting the components of the spirit.
We might wonder how attitudes that oppose the necessity of prayer could enter into a person. Clues to that are found within the story of Honi the Circle Maker. Honi sensed his self-worth and purpose to be in maintaining a life in the presence of God. He accepted his place of belonging within humanity to be individually devoted to praying for rain for people everywhere. Honi’s esteem and place of belonging were found in the prayerful communion with the universal deity. In another light, those who plotted Honi’s murder had a different evaluation of esteem and belonging. Their sense of worth was solely with abusive powers, and their desire to belong was not with the general population. To maintain their place of belonging among corrupt leaders, they had to attack their opposition. Their opposition being the fruit of prayer that would restore fertile spiritual growth. They would lose prestiege and acceptance to the people’s faith in God who blessed them abundantly with all joy, comfort, and peace. When prayer is alive in the spirit, we will discover all the worth and acceptance we will ever need. Hostility to prayer only happens when we seek prestiege and belonging amidst worldly desires. May we place our dusty feelings of disparagement and of being unwanted into a circle of prayer. In that prayer circle will come the rains of love, peace, faith, and perseverance.
What makes some susceptible to hosting the attitude that opposes prayer for the rains of the spiritual fruit? Some people do not want to be alone in a circle waiting for something they vaguely belive in. Patience and perseverance are not with them, but are within a prayerful spirit. Additionally, the fear from the intimidation of powerful influences stifles the fruit of prayer. The rains of the spiritual fruit do not come because of impatience and fear. They succumb to the will of those who oppose the fertility of a prayerful spirit.
We can interrupt the cycle of a prayerless spirit. That is done by acknowledging all the good fruit that comes by a prayerful attitude. Always know that prayers of the spirit connect us to everyone else who has that connection to the universal deity. Have a purpose to only allow prayerful words and deeds to exit our self-expression. Instead of transferring fear and the effects of those who oppose life-changing prayer, transfer hope, optimism, and steadfastness in the spiritual fruit. The fruit of love, peace, faith, and perseverance are in a prayerful spirit. Let our sense of worth be in knowing the influence we have through prayer, and to know our place of belonging is with a compassionate God. May we always place the dust of spiritual infertility into the prayer circle. In that circle will come the rains to enliven our spiritual fertility.