Hi, there! I’m Allen. Whether I personally handed you a Nexus Prayer card while out and about in the city, you arrived here from Google, or were referred by a church or a friend, thank you for taking the time to visit this website and for your interest in Nexus Prayer. To get better acquainted, please let me tell you a little about myself…
CAREER & MINISTRY OVERVIEW
My diverse professional career and ministry have spanned more than forty years in both the private and non-profit sectors. I am an ordained deacon (Houston’s Second Baptist Church) and ordained minister of the gospel (Houston’s First Baptist Church) who received my formal theological training from Tennessee Temple (now Piedmont International University) and classical music training while pursuing a vocal performance degree during my five years of study with Professor Emeritus, John M. Druary, at the University of Houston.
In addition to being a published songwriter (Zondervan, Benson, Christmark), and having “performed”, recorded, and ministered both nationally and internationally, I have also served numerous churches throughout my ministerial career as an associate pastor, minister of music, and worship leader. In the “real world”, my secular career has included work as a human resources executive, retail manager, and even an antiquities dealer. In other words, I’ve worn many different hats over the years. Today, I don’t even have hair!
On a personal note, there are three individuals who have had the greatest influence on my life: the late Francis A. Schaeffer, John Michael Talbot, and Leslie Ann White, my wife of almost 20 years.
It was Dr. Schaeffer, of L’Abri, Switzerland fame, who single-handedly helped me Escape from Reason, and who persuaded me to abandon my faithless agnosticism for faith in Christ. Soon after becoming a Christian, I discovered the music and ministry of the Franciscan Brother, John Michael Talbot. Not only did John Michael inspire me to use my own voice and classical guitar as instruments of praise, but he taught me by his own example the need for humility as a Christian musician and what it means to truly worship God through music. Finally, I could fill a dozen journals with the reasons why Leslie Ann’s unconditional love, encouragement, companionship, and support as my wife these many years have not only made me a better person, but a better Christian.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
In 1998, while serving a local Baptist church as associate pastor, I received a sign from God. Well, in a manner of speaking. As I recall, it was a tiny classified ad in the Houston Chronicle’s Religion Section that, at first glance, appeared to be either a typo or an oxymoron announcing that a Trappist monk would be speaking at a Baptist church. As it turned out, the ad was legit. The church was River Oaks Baptist Church. The monk? Thomas Keating. Intrigued, I attended Keating’s lecture on prayer that evening where he stood, front and center on the stage, speaking for about 90 minutes without the use of a podium or notes. He spoke both extemporaneously and compellingly to a packed out church on the importance of taking the time out of our busy daily schedules to make a connection with God. Keating likened it to sending God many short emails throughout the day. (Today we would just text God.) To my ears, it sounded like a Christian version of meditation; he referred to it as centering prayer. I left the church that night with a well-fed soul, an armful of Keating’s books, and a commitment to learn more.
More than nineteen years have now passed since my introduction to contemplative prayer. During that period of time, I have immersed myself in the scriptures; absorbed the writings of both the Desert Fathers and modern-day theologians; studied and practiced prayer of all types and methods including those of Richard Foster, John Main, and Dallas Willard (also a Temple graduate); attended countless silent prayer retreats and seminars; been personally mentored by a spiritual director, and facilitated contemplative prayer groups locally.
“So what?”, you may be asking ….
SECOND HALF OF LIFE | THE MAKING OF AN URBAN MONK
First, lest you get the idea I’m trying to make my case for sainthood here, let me quickly dispel that notion. Having been born to an unwed mother, spent most of my childhood in either a Catholic orphanage or foster homes; lived a rebellious life as a youth and a troubled one as an agnostic college student, and having lived through an ugly divorce as a young adult, well, the first half of my life has been more than a little messy. Thankfully, God specializes in cleaning up messy lives. I John 1:9 So, it is no ordinary coincidence, but rather an extraordinary God-incident that, at about the same time I hit rock bottom both professionally and personally, I stumbled into that church to hear Father Keating. Since that time, not only has God been willing to give me a second chance at living a consecrated and contemplative Christian life, but He’s also allowed me to share that life with my wife, Leslie Ann, who also works in full-time ministry. My complete personal testimony and journey with Christ will be shared elsewhere on this site soon, but for now, suffice it to say I am ever-grateful for the unconditional love, grace, and mercy of God. Now older and wiser, can I do anything less than extend that same love and grace to others?
Second, my study and practice of prayer in general, and contemplative prayer in particular, have not only brought me closer to God, but have been literally life-changing. As a result, over the past almost 20 years, my music ministry, now limited to private devotion and occasional church and small group gatherings, has gradually been replaced with the “prayer of great price” Matthew 13:45-46 – Nexus Prayer.
Third, in the summer of 2015, I felt God leading me to begin a yearlong – literally 365 daily prayer and study – of Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” Although the study continues to this day, that commitment was successfully met in August of 2016.
Finally, the end result is what God gifted me and I have named Nexus Prayer. It is what has brought you here, and literally what today I consider God’s personal calling and purpose for “the rest of my life.”
NEXUS PRAYER INTERNATIONAL | THE SHOPS OF SPRING
I’m not much on labels (us versus them), so whether you consider me a contemplative Brother, bi-vocational minister (like the Apostle Paul who was both a missionary and tent maker Acts 18:1-4 ), urban monk, or even a capitalist for Christ, those closest to me know that “I’m all about prayer.”
To make that possible, in our “spare-time” Leslie Ann (when not at her day job) and I run our family-owned-and-operated collectibles business. It is The Shops of Spring that underwrites my prayer ministry and social enterprise known as Nexus Prayer International, while also providing the additional income, time, and flexibility I need to pray, volunteer, speak, write, compose, and minister.
It is my sincerest prayer that as a result of exploring this website and learning more about this contemplative prayer ministry, that you will not only be drawn closer to the presence of God, but also discover the inner peace, contentment, transformation, and spiritual intimacy available to you by connecting to God through Nexus Prayer.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Rev. Allen Aaron White
Founder & Director, Nexus Prayer International