Month: September 2018

Cairns of Prayer

CAIRNS OF PRAYER

I recently reached a new milestone and marked it with another cairn. A cairn of nexus prayer. A cairn on my prayer timer.

Cairns¹, from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn, are human-made piles of stones that have been used from prehistoric times and that are still being used today for many and varied purposes, including landmarks, milestones, monument markers, and sometimes for ceremonial purposes such as identifying a famous gravesite or significant battle ground. For example, cairns or milestones were used to mark key distances and landmarks along the Appian Way² (Rome’s oldest road), and are still used today to indicate important or dangerous paths along remote jungle, densely forested, or mountainous areas such as some of the trails I’ve hiked leading to a few sacred spaces in Switzerland. Interestingly, for centuries historical monument markers were so prolific in Europe that in ancient Roman religion the Romans even had their own god, Terminus³, whose sole purpose was the protection of boundary markers. Of course, in everyday circumstances from the time we enter this world to the time we depart it, the term “milestone” is used in more casual ways to mark special occasions along our journey in this life such as the birth of a child, graduation, an engagement or marriage, job promotion, or significant awards and achievements.

All of that said, and as mentioned earlier, I have a personal cairn of my own to share – a cairn of prayer. Please know this is no humblebrag (though it’s true I’m both happy and humbled), but just last week I surpassed the 5,000 mark for completed individual nexus prayers. Sure, there’s good reason to celebrate because, after all, it took me the better part of three years of multiple daily nexus prayers to reach that number. However, the primary reason I’m so happy to have hit that marker is not because five thousand is the largest isogrammic³ number in the English language, but because it means that while on my nexus prayer journey over the past 1,453 days, I have spent almost 800 hours making a personal connection with God using nexus prayer. And surprisingly, most of those times of prayer were done in five-minute increments – the 5-minute nexus prayer.

So why am I writing about this milestone and sharing it with you here? The answer is because the most common excuse I frequently hear from people (Christians and non-Christians alike) about prayer in general and nexus prayer in particular is “I’m just too busy to stop and pray.” Of course, we all know that we make the time for the things that matter most to us – time for work, meals, sleep, romance, sporting events, recreation, television, social media, family time, and sometimes even church. What or, more importantly, who is missing in that litany of activities? God. God gives us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to use as we choose. I’m simply challenging all of us to prayerfully look at our daily lives – our schedules and action lists – and find a five-minute time slot at least once a day to just “be” with God in the quietude of nexus prayer. To listen to God’s still, small voice.

Five minutes doesn’t sound like much, but even a single five-minute nexus prayer once a day – every day – will provide you with more than 30 minutes spent in quality, one-on-one time with God each week. Do that twice a day and you just spent more than one hour with God that week. I encourage you to make this a part of your regular daily routine, leaving markers along the way, and before you know it you too will have 5,000 cairns of prayer – cairns that will continue to lead you to the heart of God. Cairns that will show others the Way.


NOTES & REFERENCE

1 Cairn | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Appian Way | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 Terminus – Ancient Roman god of boundary markers. | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

4 Isograms| An isogram (also known as a “nonpattern word”) is a logological term for a word or phrase without a repeating letter. | Source: Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.

5 Photo Credit: “Stones in Balance” by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash | Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

6 Photo Credit: Design for a stained glass window with Terminus Hans Holbein | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. Modified with permission – Nexus Prayer International,

7 Photo Credit: © Copyright 2018 Nexus Prayer Timer 5K by Allen Aaron White. | Used with permission Nexus Prayer International.

St. Francis of Assisi (1182-​1226)

“We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.” – St. Francis of Assisi


Image Credit | Saint Francis of Assisi
The oldest surviving depiction of Saint Francis is a fresco near the entrance of the Benedictine abbey of Subiaco, painted between March 1228 and March 1229. | In Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons and License Art Libre.

Nexus Prayer 9/11


NEXUS PRAYER 9/11
Remembering September 11, 2001

One thing is certain: with each passing year I remember less and less. But like most everyone else in America I suppose, I remember precisely what I was doing the morning of September 11, 2001.

And to the day, exactly seventeen years later, I find myself remembering and reliving the tragic events of 9/11 and again find myself turning on the television to watch the news coverage of the day, only this time instead of witnessing the live reporting related to the attack of The World Trade Center, it’s the memorial tributes being given to all those who were killed. Of the almost three thousand innocent people who died in the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pa., the youngest victim was a two-and-a-half-year-old child on Flight 175 and the oldest was an 85-year-old passenger on Flight 11.

A special memorial service commemorating the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was held today at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum that included the reading aloud by family members the names of the 2,983 men, women and children who were killed, as well as six moments of silence – marked with the chime of bells the times at which the twin towers were struck, when they fell, and the moment of impact at the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. And as is done every year on the anniversary of 9/11, the Memorial Plaza is open to the public from 3 p.m. to midnight for the viewing of Tribute in Light.

Of course, the attack on the World Trade Center and other locations happened long before Nexus Prayer was even a thought. But as I paused this morning for the six specific minutes of silence that preceded the reading of the victim’s names, it seemed that the least I could do today would be to create and hold a special 9/11 nexus prayer of nine minutes and eleven seconds in memorium.

A special reading of Psalm 46 by President Barack Obama was done on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Should you also like to remember those who died, the thousands who were injured, the family members who lost a loved one, the survivors, and the first responders of 9/11 by pausing for prayer, you can find the special 9/11 nexus prayer timer settings here.


A PRAYER FOR PEACE ON THE ANIVERSARY OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
– After the Prayer of Saint Francis –

With all our heart and all our mind, we pray to you, O Lord:

Make us instruments of your peace.
For the peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and forbearance

may grow among nations and peoples, we pray to you, O Lord:

Where there is hatred, let us sow love.
For our enemies and those who wish us harm, especially those who are led to acts of terror; that in the aftermath of the destruction in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington on September 11th, 2001 we may grow ever
more deeply in your spirit of justice and peace, we pray to you, O Lord:

Where there is injury, let us sow pardon.
For all who believe in you, Lord Christ, and all whose faith is known to you alone, that they may be delivered from the darkness of fanaticism that arises from poverty and oppression, and from the pride that arises from wealth and comfort, and brought into your light, so that divisions that foster violence may cease, we pray to you, O Lord:

Where there is discord, let us sow union.
For those who have lost their faith in you Lord God, for those who continue to mourn those who died in the World Trade Center, the airplanes and the Pentagon, may your Churchgive comfort and hope
in this time of remembrance, we pray to you, O Lord:

Where there is doubt, let us sow faith.
For all those whose spirit has been broken and whose lives have been irrevocably disrupted by the violence of that day and its aftermath, we offer our prayers along with the persecuted, the lonely, and the sick who have bid our prayers today, that they may be relieved and protected.

Where there is despair, let us sow hope.
For the mission and ministry of the Episcopal Church, especially in the Diocese of New York; that we may listen to the Gospel of reconciliation and proclaim it in word and action for the building of your reign
here on earth, we pray to you, O Lord:

Where there is darkness, let us sow light.
For all who died in the terror of September 2001 and for those others whom we remember today, for those who believed in your resurrection and those who knew not your promise of eternal life, in trust that they have been found by you and are at rest in your holy habitation, we pray to you, O Lord:

Where there is sadness, let us sow joy.
We pray for the concerns of our parish. And we pray for the forgiveness of our sins.

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love.
Take heart, in Christ we have been reconciled to God.

For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we reborn to eternal life.
Amen.


NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Official Website | National September 11 Memorial & Museum

2 Sept 11 Attacks Historical Overview |Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.

3 A Proper for September 11 | A Prayer of Peace | The Episcopal Diocese of New York

4 Photo Credit: “Never Forget” tapestry at 911 Memorial in New York City| Original image by Billy Hathorn | Used and modified with permission via Creaive Commons license CC BY 3.0  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), from Wikimedia Commons.

President Barack Obama reads Psalm 46:1-11 including Psalm 46:10 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, Pa.

Read my personal journal entry honoring the 17th anniversary (September 11, 2018) of 9/11 here.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President at the September 11th 10th Anniversary Commemoration

 

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE NEW YORK CITY SEPTEMBER 11TH 10TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION CEREMONY

National September 11th Memorial
New York City, New York

8:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea.
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake
with its swelling,
there’s a river
whose streams shall make glad
the City of God,
the holy place of the Tabernacle
of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her.
She shall not be moved.
God shall help her
just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged,
the kingdoms were moved.
He uttered his voice.
The earth melted.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come behold the works of the Lord
who has made desolations in the Earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the Earth.
He breaks the bough
and cuts the spear in two.
He burns the chariot in fire.
Be still and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations.
I will be exalted in the Earths.
The Lord of Hosts is with us.
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 President Obama reads Psalm 46 | 9/11 Memorial Service 10th Anniversary via YouTube

2 Remarks by President Obama | 9/11 10th Anniversary Commemoration via the White House Briefing Room

Invitation to Prayer

 A PERSONAL INVITE

Dear Friends,

Departing from a normal journal post today, it’s hard to believe that our humble nexus prayer group meeting at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church (Houston) is already celebrating its 1st anniversary, but it’s true!

Over the past twelve months we have thoroughly examined Psalm 46, learned and practiced nexus prayer, and have made some life-long friendships. Thanks be to God! Now with Summer almost completely in our rear-view mirror, I hope you will consider this “open letter” your personal invitation from me to come join us for nexus prayer as we begin our Fall kick-off. Our Sunday morning gathering continues tomorrow morning (and every Sunday morning) at 10:15 in room #315 of St. Dunstan’s Bentley Educational Building as we begin our second year and new semester of prayer.

What’s new you might be asking? Everything! Well, almost. Although our fellowship time that includes coffee, tea, and biscotti remains the same, our group now has a new name (Nexus Prayer Circle), new format (more prayer, less talk), new and improved website (you’re feedback always welcome), and a new vision (sneak peek!) that will be explained here in detail in the weeks to come.

Below is an overview of our new class format. New to nexus prayer? Whether you come once, weekly, or anytime you are able, visitors are always welcome. I look forward to greeting all of you personally as we continue our pilgrimage of prayer by learning to “be still, and know that I am God” week after week through nexus prayer.

NEXUS PRAYER CIRCLE | FALL 2018
SAINT DUNSTAN’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH

MEETING TIME & PLACE
Sunday Mornings | 10:15 | BEC 315
Nexus Prayer Circle – Led by Allen White

DESCRIPTION
Deeply rooted in Psalm 46:10, Nexus Prayer is the biblically-based, contemplative prayer that both increases our awareness of God’s presence in our lives, and helps us to better hear God’s “still, small voice” in a busy and noisy world. Through our prayers, responsive readings, and lessons from Scripture, God is speaking; we are listening. Come pray with us in sacred silence.

SUNDAY SCHEDULE
Nexus Prayer Circle
10:15 – Fellowship (Conversation, tea, coffee, hand-crafted biscotti)
10:30 – Psalm 46 (Group responsive reading)
10:35 – Nexus Prayer (15 minutes of silent prayer; 5m of intercessory prayer)
10:55 – *Dismissal (For those attending the 11:00 Worship Service)

* Following class dismissal, all are welcome to linger a little longer for additional fellowship, coffee, and convo. A brief orientation and introduction to nexus prayer for visitors, as well as free brochures and helpful Nexus Prayer literature are always available immediately after class.

NOTES & REFERENCES

Photo Credit: Nexus Prayer Circle | © Copyright Allen Aaron White / Nexus Prayer International. Used with permission.

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