Tag: Be Still (page 1 of 4)

Less is More

Photo Credit: NXP Stats | © 2017 Copyright Allen Aaron White | Used with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Today I read Robert Browning’s Andrea del Sarto¹ where, in the dramatic monologue of the eponymous renaissance artist, he has Andrea comment to Lucrezia, “Less is more.” (Yes, that’s where the well-known and often quoted axiom originated.)

I wonder if Browning really had Psalm 46:10 in mind when writing this, but not likely, as for most of his life Robert Browning² struggled with religion. At age 13, Robert announced he was atheist, although as he got older he considered himself a Theist. But I digress. Yes, I agree, Andrea. Less is more. Especially when it comes to nexus prayer.

I’m writing on this theme today because we live in a society where bigger is always considered better, and super-sizing everything is the norm. Subconsciously, I think this creates unrealistic expectations for nexus prayer, especially those new to the prayer practice. That’s because I’ve recently noticed a trend with beginners who (falsely) conclude that if five minutes of prayer is good, then ten, fifteen, or even twenty minutes (an hour?) of nexus prayer must be better, right? Not so fast. I thought so too in the beginning. But I quickly learned that the 5-minute Nexus Prayer was my friend. So, you’ll often here me say, “Embrace the 5!”

“Less is more.”

After you’ve experienced two or three successful nexus prayers of five minutes in duration – especially when you realize how good it feels to just be still in sacred silence – it is quite normal to think you’re ready to double up and jump to ten minutes. Maybe you are. But I strongly encourage you to utilize the five-minute interval once a day exclusively for at least the first week. If you do, by week’s end you will have spent 35 minutes just be-ing with God. That’s a big step when you consider most of us don’t spend any time at all being still and knowing God. Of course, you’ll want more (trust me on this), so keep embracing the 5, but instead of once a day, try twice a day – say morning and night. Do that and you just spent over an hour with God in a week! Then, and only then will you be ready for increased units of time.

All of that said, I had something to celebrate last Fall as I achieved another personal nexus prayer milestone … 500 total hours of duration, more than 3,000 prayer sessions, and over 1,000 days of praying nexus prayer since 2015. Translation?  The hours of duration equal the total amount of time I’ve spent being still and knowing God Psalm 46:10 – most achieved in only 5 or 10-minute increments of prayer time. Did you catch that? Most of my 500 hours of prayer were accomplished in 5-minute increments!

Please know that I’m not boasting or bragging here (God knows I should and need to do better.) I’m only sharing this to demonstrate that we should never underestimate the power of spending “only” five minutes with God. Don’t have time to pray, you say? Amazing what can be done with only five minutes a day. Text me and I’ll join you.

Quality, not quantity. Less is more. Embrace the 5!

 NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Andrea del Sarto | Poetry Foundation

2 Robert Browning |  Less is More  |Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 Photo Credit: NXP Stats | © 2017 Copyright Allen Aaron White | Used with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

4 A prayer timer app such as the one by Meditation Timer Pro can be very helpful for Nexus Prayer.

Praying On the Go

 “Lawnmower” by Daniel Watson | Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

BE STILL & DO

Without question, the very best way to maximize the benefits and enjoy the experience of nexus prayer is to pray when we are still, quiet, and undistracted. Better still (no pun intended), is to practice nexus prayer in a sacred space.  Whether in an intimate chapel, a cathedral, a beautifully landscaped garden, or even sitting alone on a bench by a lake, there is something special, something holy about praying in a sacred space. But if you live a busy, multi-tasking, and all-too-often stressful life like mine, the opportunities to just “get away from it all” to some secluded spiritual oasis are few and far between. Besides, the Apostle Paul exhorts us as Christians to pray without ceasing for everything, everyone, and everywhere I Thessalonians 5:17, I Timothy 2:1-8. For these reasons, we must learn to pray nexus prayer during our ordinary, everyday lives but also while we are on the go.

“Ordinary Prayer” by Allen White | Copyright ©2017 Nexus Prayer International. All rights reserved.

Allen & Rugby take a 5 minute break from work for Nexus Prayer.

ORDINARY TIME
FOR PRAYER

We spend most of our time here on earth doing quite mundane, ordinary things with our time: eating, working, attending school, doing the dishes or laundry, gardening, and cooking to name just a few.

Interestingly, it is not a requirement, nor do we necessarily need to find special times or places (though it helps) for prayer in our life. That’s because there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of opportunities in our lives every single day for prayer in general, and nexus prayer in particular. For example, because my schedule permits it today, I’m going to stop what I’m doing right now (writing this post) and do a 5 minute nexus prayer. (Be right back.) Done!

Likewise, although I awaken every morning at 5am for special, uninterrupted nexus prayer before beginning my day, I routinely pray nexus prayer every time I mow the lawn. After all, cutting grass is a pretty mindless activity.  Try it and you’ll see that you can perform a 5 minute or even a 20 minute nexus prayer while mowing, gardening, pulling weeds, or almost any outdoor activity.¹ If you want to learn how to pray on the spiritual mountain tops, you first need to learn how to pray on terra firma. So, after we turn off the TV, we shouldn’t have to look too hard or too far to find a few minutes for prayer right there under our nose.

BE STILL … AND GO!

No, that’s not an oxymoron. It’s a fact. Ours is a very mobile generation. Setting aside for the moment how much time we spend on our mobile phones and devices, American drivers spend an average of 17,600 minutes behind the wheel of their car each year.² That being so, why not put that enormous block of time to work? Or to prayer? Between errands, church, commute time to and from work, appointments, shopping, and more, we spend a lot of time going places in our vehicles. So why not make your car or truck a vehicle for prayer? I call it praying with my eyes wide open. Add to that the time we spend waiting in line for a drivers’ license, making bank deposits, fast food drive thrus, and the like, and the time adds up quickly. Wasted time? Not much in my life nowadays as I typically use those 5, 10, and 15 minute waits in line at the post office and pharmacy drive thru for nexus prayer.

Don’t have time to pray? Think again. In fact, why not pray right now? Nexus prayer can be done in as little as five minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

NOTES & CREDITS

1 Be Still & Do | Like being still and praying while on the go, this appears to be an oxymoron. It is unusual I admit. However, Nexus Prayer is first and foremost just “BE-ing” with, listening to God. It is a conversation with God doing most of the talking. We multitask and have conversations with others all the time in our daily lives. Why not with Nexus Prayer?

2 American Driving Habits | AAA Report, September 8, 2016 | American Automobile Association

3 Photo Credit: “Lawnmower” by Daniel Watson | Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

4 Photo Credit: “Ordinary Prayer” by Allen White | Copyright ©2017  Nexus Prayer International. All rights reserved.

Resolutionary Praying

RESOLUTIONARY PRAYING

When the brother of Jesus¹ wrote in James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away”, perhaps he had in mind the rhetorical question, “Where does all the time go”? I find myself asking that same question about 2017 with a hot cup of tea and a warm bagel on this first cold January morning of 2018 – the first day of a new week of a new month and a new year.

Like most years, and as I mentioned in my post Praying Resolutely exactly one year ago today, I don’t make resolutions per se. Instead, each year around the time the first cold front arrives, and usually during my evening prayer walks, I begin conducting my personal and spiritual inventory of what I accomplished (or did not accomplish) in the previous year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, like most everyone else I do have a long list of personal, family, home, business, and even financial goals I’d like I need to accomplish this year, but I prefer having one larger all-encompassing resolution – a theme as it were – for my year. Last year it was to pray more. This year, though I doubt I’ll pray less, my main aspiration is to draw close – even closer – to God. Needless to say, I plan on accomplishing this through nexus prayer, which brings me back to James …

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…” – James 4:8

Just like Psalm 46:10 in the Old Testament, this short verse in the New Testament – another command with a promise – is pregnant with meaning. Simply put, if we desire to have more of God in our lives in 2018, then we only need to initiate our intention – through prayer – to be present to God and He will meet us there. Jesus referred to it as going to pray in our inner room (the subject of a future post), Matthew 6:6, and I know of no better way to connect with God there than through nexus prayer, but I’ll let my fifty-two journal posts this year (I plan on writing one a week, of which this is the first) explain how this may best be achieved.

I look forward to sharing these spiritual insights with you throughout 2018 right here on the Nexus Prayer website and through our local prayer group gatherings, but for now, I’ll close with arguably the most important lesson of Psalm 46:10 found in Step 4 of nexus prayer. Namely, being still or letting go. If you are like me, 2017 was filled with many blessings, achievements, and successes, as well as a few disappointments along the way. That said, last night during my prayer walk and after taking one more long good look in my mental rear-view mirror, I left the not-so-great parts of 2017 behind me, while carrying forward into the new year all the goodness of last year – the people, the experiences, the memories, lessons learned, and wisdom gained.

May all the blessings of Emmanuel – God with us – be yours not only today, the eighth day of Christmas and first day of the new year, but every day of 2018 as you draw closer to God through nexus prayer. Amen.

Now, just for fun, and thanks to Statistics Brain, here are the results for 2017’s top ten resolutions in America.² And just in case you are one of those people who actually enjoy making New Year’s resolutions, how about this one? Resolve to join me in praying no less than a five minute nexus prayer 365 times (once each day) in 2018. I’ve made that commitment, and hope you’ll join me in adding more prayer in general, and more nexus prayer in particular to the top of your list! Happy New Year!

AMERICA’S TOP TEN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR 2017

1 Lose Weight / Healthier Eating | 21.4%
2 Life / Self Improvements | 12.3%
3 Better Financial Decisions | 8.5%
4 Quit Smoking | 7.1%
5 Do more exciting things | 6.3%
6 Spend More Time with Family / Close Friends | 6.2%
7 Work out more often | 5.5%
8 Learn something new on my own | 5.3%
9 Do more good deeds for others | 5.2%
10 Find the love of my life | 4.3%

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 James the brother of Jesus | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia | There is disagreement about the exact relationship of James to Jesus. The presumed author of the Epistle of James is also sometimes identified with James, son of Alphaeus, James, son of Zebedee, and James the Less.

2 Top 10 Resolutions for 2017 | Statistic Brain Research Institute

3 Photo Credit: Happy New Year 2018 | By Nordwood Themes in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Jesus Christ is Born

This is an audio post. Turn up your speakers, hit “play”, and enjoy the music of Advent.
Merry Christmas from Allen & Nexus Prayer | Christmas Eve, 2017

“Jesus Christ is Born”

“Sing it up high, sing it down low. Sing far and wide that Jesus Christ is Lord. Sing it up high, sing it down low. Sing ’til the whole world knows that Jesus Christ is born.”

 

“A long time ago like the prophets foretold Immanuel came. Born to a virgin by the Holy Ghost as Gabriel did say.  Laid in a manger of hay for his bed, the Shepherds prayed., while Mary and Joseph and Kings from the East their homage gave.” – allen aaron white

The Songs of Christmas continue on Christmas Day: “Praise to the Newborn King” Enjoy!

NOTES & REFERENCES

  • “Jesus Christ is Born” – Text inspired by Isaiah 7:14 | Isaiah 9:6 | Luke 2:1-20 | John 3:16
  • “Jesus Christ is Born” | Nexus Prayer International
    Copyright © 1996 Christmark Music, Inc.

    Nexus Prayer International | All Rights Reserved.
    Words, music, and classical guitar: Allen Aaron White
    Arranged and Produced: Jeff Nelson
    Soloist: Howard Meell
  • Crèche Photo:  Copyright © 2017 Allen Aaron White | Used with permission Nexus Prayer International | Christmas Eve, 2017

Praise to the Newborn King

This is an audio post. Turn up your speakers, hit “play”, and enjoy the music of Advent.
Merry Christmas from Allen & Nexus Prayer | Christmas Day, 2017

Alleluia! Let all creation sing. Alleluia!
Praise to the newborn King.”

 

“Close your eyes and go to sleep. Jesus, hush your cry. All creation lauds your birth with this lullaby. Born God’s Son in Bethlehem, Savior at his birth. Prince of Peace, Emmanuel. King of all the Earth. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Sweet, Jesus, sleep. – aaw

Did you miss the Songs of Christmas for Christmas Eve “Jesus Christ is Born”? Enjoy!

NOTES & REFERENCES

  • “Praise to the Newborn King” – Text inspired by Isaiah 7:14; 9:6 | Luke 2:1-20 | John 3:16
  • “Praise to the Newborn King” | Nexus Prayer International
    Copyright © 1993 Christmark Music, Inc.

    Nexus Prayer International | All Rights Reserved.
    Words and music: Allen Aaron White
    Arranged and produced: Jeff Nelson
    Soloist: Howard Meell
  • Crèche Photo:  Copyright © 2017 Allen Aaron White | Used with permission by Nexus Prayer International | Christmas Day 2017

Immanuel or Emmanuel?

Bethlehem Crèche | Photo by Allen Aaron White. Courtesy of Jack and Valerie Murray. © Copyright 2017 Nexus Prayer International

IMMANUEL or EMMANUEL?
Either way… God with Us!

Second Sunday of Advent | December 10, 2017

As both a continuation of my celebration of Advent¹ this year, and in preparation for the final lesson of 2017 that I’ll be sharing with our Nexus Prayer circle tomorrow morning at Saint Dunstan’s , I thought I’d share a few random thoughts here in my prayer journal about the reason for the season – the birth of Immanuel. Or is it Emmanuel?

From previous lessons and posts that I’ve shared, we know that embedded deeply within the ancient Hebrew of Psalm 46:10 there are no less than five unique names of God: Elohim, I Am, YHWH (Yahweh), Be, and an allusion to the Holy Trinity that is originally found in Genesis 1:1. But although not literally listed, there is yet another “name” to be found in Psalm 46 – namely (pun intended): Immanuel. Whether you prefer to use “Immanuel” from the ancient Hebrew found in Isaiah 7:14, or the transliterated² Greek “Emmanuel” found in Matthew 1:21-23, I placed the word “name” above in quotes because technically neither are an actual name of Jesus. They are instead descriptions or titles.

There are many places in both the Old and New Testaments that declare how Jesus is to be referred to or called. The best examples were also provided to us by the prophet Isaiah when he wrote in Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Like the “name” Immanuel, none of those listed by Isaiah are actual, literal names, but rather titles or descriptives of the (coming) Messiah.

Interestingly, “Emmanuel” found in Matthew 1:21-23 appears only once in the entire New Testament, and although Isaiah makes a second mention of “Immanuel” in Isaiah 8:8, that reference is to the Jews of Israel, not the Messiah. So, there is actually only one reference to the coming Messiah in the Old Testament as well – the reference to the birth of Jesus some 735 years before it happened!

And what of the references to “Immanuel” in Psalm 46 that I spoke of? There are no less than three, but you’ll have to read my post on Emmanuel: God with Us from last Christmas to learn even more. But before continuing, why not take a moment and enjoy the following video “Immanuel: El is with Us”³ inspired by a Christmas Eve sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon³.

 

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Advent | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Transliterated Greek or Romanized Hebrew | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 “Immanuel: El is with Us” Video | Courtesy of Qandnotu2 on YouTube | Published December 23, 2013 | Based on a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on Christmas Eve, 1854.

4 Charles Haddon Spurgeon | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

5 Photo Credit: Bethlehem Crèche | Original photo by Allen Aaron White. With thanks and kind permission of Jack & Valerie Murray for allowing photography of their beautiful Nativity that is hand-carved from olive wood, originated in Bethlehem, and has a place of honor in their home every Christmas season. © Copyright 2017 Nexus Prayer International.

Being Still – Rx for the Body and Soul

Palms Up Praying Hands | Photo by Jeremy Yap in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.Being Still – Rx for the Body and Soul

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

First, there was Halloween, followed by All Saints Day, All Souls Day, then last Sunday night’s beautiful Requiem Eucharist at Saint Dunstan’s. Then all hell broke loose, and it was all downhill from there.

That’s because for the better part of six days (and counting) I’m weary from wrestling with some mysterious influenza bug of unknown origin that’s gotten the best of me and kept me bed-ridden most of the time. Sick as a dog and really too weak to do much else, you’d think it would be a perfect time to spend more time in nexus prayer. That’s what I thought, too, but that’s not exactly how it has worked out for me. But I digress.

The scripture I cited from Romans at the top of this page has come to mind many times this week as I’ve struggled to maintain my normal, daily nexus prayer regimen. I realized that was easier said than done when, on day one of my solitary confinement, I set my alarm for my usual 4:54 am wake-up call, began my customary 30-minute nexus prayer, and did not realize until some ninety minutes later than I had fallen asleep and never even got past step one!  It’s remarkable how the mind wanders and how, when either deprived of sleep or over-medicated, a simple five-minute nexus prayer can take almost an hour to complete. But despite the challenges, I’ve been able to glean some valuable spiritual insights from my bedroom-turned laboratory and this urban monk-turned guinea pig. In no particular order, then, here are a few lessons for us all, but especially for me:

“Let go, and LET GOD do the heavy lifting.”

Lesson 1In times of trouble, distress, and illness follow Martin Luther’s example of turning to the God of Psalm 46 for comfort. As we know today, Luther loved this psalm so much he set it to music as “A Mighty Fortress is our God”.¹ He both recited and sang Psalm 46 quite often, especially when he was under heavy persecution. It begins: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 Are you overwhelmed with your present circumstances, including illness? God is your refuge and strength! Run to Him.

Lesson 2Embrace the 5. Having spent more than two years of practicing nexus prayer, I can tell you that the 5-minute prayer interval is the Rodney Dangerfield of prayer. It gets no respect. The biggest mistake beginners to nexus prayer encounter is underestimating the value of simply spending five minutes with God. All too often, newbies to the prayer practice attempt the 20, 30, even 60-minute intervals all too soon, or attempt praying for five minutes, but do so something like twenty times a day. Also, not a good idea. Indeed, since first launching Nexus Prayer in 2015, I have logged more than 3,400 prayer sessions for a total duration of about 547 hours. That’s praying nexus prayer – connecting to God daily – more than 500 hours with most of those sessions coming in 5-minute intervals. And being bed-ridden this past week – the sickest I can recall ever being in my life – I discovered more than ever that the five-minute nexus prayer is my friend.

Lesson 3Be realistic. Do not strive for perfection. God neither demands nor desires perfection from us in our prayer time, just our intention. The mind wanders. Accept this fact. External noises and internal distractions, memories, thoughts, etc.… while we are praying are ever-present. Let them go. We get tired and sometimes fall asleep while praying. It’s okay! It’s not about how many minutes we pray a day, but our simple intention to just “be” and spend any amount of time with God. The closest human bond is probably that of a mother and her child. What mother does not love for her baby to fall asleep in her arms as she lovingly caresses, cradles, and whispers in a still, small voice words of love? Do we think God – our Abba Father – cares for us any less when we drift asleep in those moments we draw near to Him through nexus prayer?

Lesson 4 Praying Psalm 46:10 is full of obstacles – especially when we are sick. As mentioned previously, the mind wanders; our spirit is willing, but our body is weak Matthew 26:41. Our symptoms and nagging pain, even with the common cold or flu, can be a major distraction, how much more serious health issues such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, or heart problems to name just a few. Big or small, God can handle them all.

Lesson 5 – Let God do the heavy lifting. Praying when it is the hardest for us to do so is the most important time for us to pray. Just be still and let God do the heavy lifting. God knows what we need before we can even ask or think. Remember the verse at the beginning of this post? “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26 Sometimes, we are simply unable to pray. No words. No strength. Perfect! Just where God wants us.

Finally, at the time of this writing, several members of our Sunday morning nexus prayer circle are either in bed sick, recuperating from surgery, or remain in the hospital. Although they can’t be with us physically, I’ve joined them virtually throughout the week via synchronized prayer², and I’ve encouraged them to connect with God and me every chance they get. I never tire of hearing or sharing with them the comforting words of Matthew 18:20.

Although my personal physical battles with sickness this week presented significant challenges for me, they are simply mosquito bites compared to those who suffer each and every day from serious and chronic illness. This has both raised my awareness and increased my compassion for those suffering from debilitating physical and mental injuries and disease. How can I – we – best share nexus prayer with them so that they, too, can benefit from hearing God’s still, small voice and experience Christ’s suffering love for them? I don’t know the answer yet, but I’m more compelled than ever to discover how. God will show the Way…through nexus prayer.

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”| Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Synchronized Prayer | NexusPrayer.org

3 Photo Credit: Palms Up Praying Hands | Photo by Jeremy Yap in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Synchronized Prayer

Synchronized Swimmers | Public Domain via Jesus de Blas | Used and modified with permisssion | Nexus Prayer International

Synchronized Prayer

No doubt you are familiar with the Olympic sports of synchronized diving, skating, and swimming, the latter previously known as water ballet. But who knew that synchronized swimming has been around as a competitive sporting event since 1891? ¹  Now, let me introduce you to something that you may or may not be familiar with – synchronized prayer – specifically, synchronized nexus prayer.

Strictly speaking, and by definition, synchronization occurs when two independent agents act in unison, occur at the same time, coincide, or agree in time or concert at the same rate and exactly together. When this principle is applied to prayer, I think it looks something like what Jesus had in mind when he said:

 

Again, I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:19,20

Now, it’s obvious that Jesus had a literal, physical gathering of individuals in mind when he spoke those words, but there is no reason why today, with all our technological advances,  we Christians cannot gather together virtually as well. Indeed, even though I live in Spring and my personal nexus prayer partner lives in  a different city,  we “gather” in our separate homes at 5:20 each morning for nexus prayer, but to also synchronize our prayer time with The Brothers of the Taizé Community in France. Now, with a local prayer group gathering for nexus prayer every Sunday morning at 10:15 am (Room BEC 315) at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church of Houston, I’d like to extend the invitation for others to join us for synchronized prayer during the rest of the week as well.

The concept is the same as we find in Scripture. David prayed morning, “noon”, and night; the Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth and ninth hour and at midnight (Acts 10:3, 9; 16:25; etc.), and for centuries monastic brothers and sisters have united for the Liturgy of the Hours ² throughout the day.

Synchronized Prayer
Except for the occasional scheduling conflict, special meetings, or select holidays, below are my scheduled daily prayer times seven days a week for 2017 (adjusted periodically). I invite you join me for synchronized prayer any or all times as your schedule permits. If you like, text me a few minutes before the posted time so I’ll know you are joining me for a five minute nexus prayer. Conversely, I also recommend you have a regular time each day that you set aside for nexus prayer. Let me know your set times and I’ll join you! Don’t have a scheduled prayer practice yet? No problem. To get started, simply begin with a  5 minute Nexus Prayer sometime in the morning, and another in the evening, eventually adding one in the afternoon – three times a day! Regardless, my recommendation is that everyone find at least one time a day that is ideal for their personal routine and make it a regular, daily event – a Divine appointment.

My Daily Scheduled Prayer Times (November 2017)

Morning Prayer
5:00 am
| Morning Prayers | Synchronized prayer with the Brothers of SSJE Monastery ³
5:20 am | Nexus Prayer | Synchronized prayer with local prayer partners and the Brothers of Taizé Community³ France.
10:15 am | Nexus Prayer | Synchronized prayer with Saint Dunstan’s Nexus Prayer Group (meets at church on Sunday mornings at 10:15 in Room 315 of the Bentley Education Center.)

Midday Prayer
12:00 noon
| Daily synchronized nexus prayer at noon (meets for a special Eucharist Service and prayer every Thursday at noon in Saint Dunstan’s Canterbury Chapel.)

Evening Prayer
6:00 pm
| Synchronized nexus prayer in conjunction with evening prayer walks for the community
11:00 pm | Evening prayers with final nexus prayer of the day

Seven Days a Week (5 am-11:00 pm)
I strive for one hour of nexus prayer daily (God gives us 24 hours each day, the least we can do is give one back don’t you think?) So that means that in addition to my scheduled prayers, I also try to sprinkle in about another half dozen nexus prayers throughout the day as my schedule permits. Why not join me?

And although we gather for prayer in community every Sunday, synchronized prayer allows us to pray in communion with one another virtually whether you are in Houston, New York, Canberra, or Canterbury. Perfect for when you are unable to make it to church or are on a business trip. Bottom line:  Allen is happy to join you for a 5-minute nexus prayer any day of the week, seven days a week, between 5:00 am and 11:00 pm. I’m just a text, email, or phone call away. Let’s pray together!

Other Synchronized Prayer Opportunities
You are welcome to join Allen in synchronized prayer during any of the published times above. But if you like, you can also participate in synchronized prayer with the Brothers of Taizé and the Brothers of SSJE Monastery. Their daily scheduled prayer times as listed on their respective websites are shown below:

Finally, allow yourself a few minutes of extra time to prepare yourself for prayer, especially if you are scheduling your nexus prayer for the early, pre-dawn hours. For example, every morning I begin my morning prayers at 5:00 am, so I set my alarm clock for 4:54 to allow myself enough time to get up, wash my face, and prepare to start my prayer precisely at 5:00 am. Likewise, when planning to pray with the Brothers of Taizé at 1:30 pm in Houston (8:30 pm in France), my iPhone timer gives me a 5 minute reminder so I can stop what I am doing at the moment and properly prepare myself for prayer.

Like more information or interested in joining me for prayer? Contact me.

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Synchronized Swimming | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Liturgy of the Hours | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 Brothers of SSJE Monastery | Episcopalian Brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist

4 The Brothers of Taizé | Brothers of the Taizé Community, Taizé, France

5 Photo Credit: Synchronized Swimmers | Public Domain via Jesus de Blas (Russia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Be Still … in the Storm

Hurricane_over_Yemen_NASA_ModifiedNXPPhotograph_PublicDomain_viaUnsplashBE STILL … IN THE STORM

Editor’s Note:
This post was originally written January 27, 2017 – eight months ago. As I write these words, literally at this moment 9:12 p.m. on August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane will be making landfall at Corpus Christi & Rockport, TX within the hour.  As I pause for prayer for all those who will be effected by this storm – the Body of Christ – including residents of Houston over the course of the next seven days, I thought it timely to remind all of us who experience storms of all kinds in our lives that Jesus is in the boat with us. – aaw

Update: August 27, 2017 – Now a tropical storm, “Harvey” is currently hovering over Houston where, in its first full day, has dumped as much as 20 inches of rain in some parts of Houston, with 10 to 15 inches more anticipated in the next several days.  A meteorologist at The National Weather Service has declared Houston’s weather as catastrophic, unprecedented, and of epic proportions – the worst flooding in Houston history,  and the worst storm since Hurricane Carla hit Galveston/Houston in 1961. We now return you to your regular programming …. aaw

BE STILL … IN THE STORM

If you’ve ever been through one of the four T’s: tsunami, typhoon, tidal wave, or tornado, then you know the devastating damage these storms can cause to the four P’s: people, pets, plants, and property.

The single best example here on the Gulf Coast of Texas is the infamous Great Galveston Hurricane that hit September 8, 1900, and left up to 12,000 people dead. It remains to the present day the deadliest single day event in US history.¹ And although I was only eight years old at the time, I still remember my Momo (grandmother) rushing us to the “safe area” of the laundry room as the Level 5 Hurricane Carla hit Galveston and threatened Houston in 1961, as well as countless other storms throughout the years, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that hit the Gulf Coast within weeks of each other in 2005.

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

 

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt (1633) | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.Like the disciples in a boat on a stormy lake Mark 4:35-41, we all sail through storms at some point in our lives. And I’m not just talking about the weather.

Whether your heart is literally failing or someone has broken your heart, sooner or later we are all touched by the storms of sickness and shattered dreams. Don’t be afraid!

When your personal bank account is at an all-time low, while your bills are at an all-time high, don’t lose hope! The tropical depression of finance rains on us all, but will eventually leave us a rainbow (even if not with the proverbial pot of gold at the end of it!) when the Son shines through. Matthew 5:45

And when you’ve unexpectedly lost a loved one or even when, as a thief in the night and through no fault of your own, the people in power take away your job, your health insurance, and your retirement benefits – all in one fell swoop – you can still, like Job, trust in God. Job 5:19 He may allow the hurricane force winds of life to bend you, but never to break you.

Truth be known, life is hard and man will fail you. Businesses may fail. Health may fail. Relationships may fail. Marriages may fail. But, Jesus never fails! And like the disciples who were afraid of the crashing waves, the deep waters, and their sinking circumstances, we only have to cry out to God for help and He will rescue us. Jesus is in the boat!

Even in your deepest, darkest, foggiest moments when it seems that all the walls of your world are caving in and falling down upon you, do not be afraid! For despite all your fears and flash floods of emotions, you can take solace in the fact that you are not traveling through the ominous-looking clouds, the veil of tears, a wall of water, or the valley of the shadow of death alone. Psalm 23:1-6 Indeed, although the winds of change may be rocking your boat, know this: Jesus is in the boat with you and He has the power to command all the hurricane force winds and tidal waves of your life to be perfectly still.

Martin Luther experienced more than his fair share of “donner und blitz” in his life, but thanks be to God, he passed through all his storms both safely and soundly. God’s reward to the world for Luther’s faith, hope, vision, and courage? The Reformation.² Martin Luther’s trials and tribulations may be different from most of ours, but it was his particular and personal storms, inspired by Psalm 46, that led him to compose the classic hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” ³

The eye of Super Typhoon Maysak from the ISS | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.Finally, while speaking both metaphorically and meteorologically here, it is worth noting that although the size of the average hurricane can span 100 miles in diameter with winds exceeding 100 miles per hour, the absolute center of the storm, the eye, is almost always relatively clear and calm. How ironic it is that at the core of arguably the strongest force on earth, God gave us the perfect and scientifically proven example from nature of how he invites us to remain calm in the midst of the storms in our life.  Obviously, God understood this fact clearly when he commanded all to “Be still, and know that I am God” in Psalm 46:10.

Just as the eye of a hurricane is the coolest, calmest, and most collected part of the storm,³  our “safe room” is to be found at the center of God’s will and presence. And for any of us fearful of our life boat capsizing as it takes on water navigating the tropical storms of life, I know of no place that offers greater comfort or safety than when we enter our prayer closet Matthew 6:6 and find the quietude of God through Nexus Prayer waiting for us there.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”– Psalm 46:10

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” – Psalm 46:1-3

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10

Ready to begin? Nexus prayer can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 The Protestant Reformation | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

3 “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther | The Hymn Society – Hymnary.org

4 The Eye of a Cyclone | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

5 Photo Credit: Hurricane over Yemen | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

6 Photo Credit:“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” by Rembrandt (1633) | Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

7 Photo Credit: The eye of Super Typhoon Maysak from the ISS | NASA Photograph in Public Domain via Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia.

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HAPPY BIRTHIVERSARY!

Photo Credit: Birthday Cake | Public Domain Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

 

As you know from my journal post God With Us last December 25th, when it comes to celebrating birthdays – at least my own – less is more. I simply don’t like the attention and fuss. However, today is different. That’s because today, August 25, 2017, Nexus Prayer celebrates two special events: an anniversary and a birthday.

“Happy Birthiversary Nexus Prayer!”

First, it’s a special day because it was exactly two years ago today that I began my daily, intensive, one-year of research and study of Psalm 46 – with special attention given to verse 10. Hard to believe two years have passed. What a special, rewarding, and wonder-filled journey these past 48 months have been for me. But secondly, this day is also special because it’s not just an anniversary, but also a birthday as Nexus Prayer’s ministry and website turn one-year old today.

Celebration is in order! And what better way to celebrate than by taking this opportunity to announce that beginning Sunday, September 10, 2017 Nexus Prayer will be offered at least twice a week – Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons – at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Houston.

Photo Credit: Canterbury Chapel | Copyright © 2017 Allen Aaron White | Nexus Prayer International

Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Houston

 

SUNDAY | 10:15 a.m. | Bentley Education Center | Room 315
Meeting every Sunday between worship services, our prayer group will gather for fellowship, a brief lesson from Psalm 46, a 10 minutes Nexus Prayer, and an optional Q&A session. The class is conveniently scheduled immediately after the 9:00, and right before the 11:00 worship services. Although attendance is not required, I encourage you to arrive early or remain after the Nexus Prayer gathering to attend the worship service that works best for your schedule.

THURSDAY | 12:30 p.m. | Canterbury Chapel
Immediately following the Holy Eucharist Service that meets every Thursday at noon in the Canterbury Chapel, all are invited to remain an additional 15-30 minutes for nexus prayer. Our actual prayer session follows a brief welcome and quick overview of the Five Steps of Nexus Prayer. The Canterbury Chapel (I consider it a sacred space) is both a beautiful and inspiring setting to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

So, Happy Birthiversary Nexus Prayer! Thank you for reading this post and celebrating this moment in time with me, but don’t just take my word for it. Why not come visit and experience nexus prayer for yourself? Our meetings are informal, free, and welcoming of all.

Attend once, or join us every week, but please come join us anytime you are able. Scheduling conflicts? No problem! Nexus prayer can be done anywhere in as little as five minutes a day, and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime.

NOTES & REFERENCES

1 Photo Credit: Birthday Cake | Public Domain Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

2 Photo Credit: Canterbury Chapel | Copyright © 2017 Allen Aaron White | Nexus Prayer International.

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