Praying Like Napoleon

Photo Credit: Pig by Fabian Blank | Photo in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Those familiar with Animal Farm1, George Orwell’s allegorical novella published in 1945, will recall that after the barnyard revolution when all the farm animals overthrow the humans on Manor Farm, the pigs, led by Napoleon (the conniving Berkshire boar), issue the Seven Commandments of Animalism for all the animals to live by. These Seven Commandments were summarized by the Seventh and greatest commandment: “All animals are created equal.” Orwell’s classic short story on the rise of the Soviet Union and the dangers of Communism reaches its dolent climax when, at the end, all the commandments are eliminated, except the Seventh…with one small, but important modification: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

I recently recalled this now famous quote from Animal Farm when I had just completed a Nexus Prayer session. That’s because from the very conception of Nexus Prayer, I have always thought of and treated the key words of Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God” – the Five Steps of Nexus Prayer – as all equal. Or so I thought. Today I realize I’ve treated some of those words more equal than others since, from the beginning, I’ve given preferential treatment to the words “Still” and “Be”, as will be discussed.

“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” – Napoleon

 

ALL WORDS ARE EQUAL
The obvious place to begin my study of Psalm 46:10 back in the summer of 2015 was with the word “Still”, since it is usually that solitary word in verse ten that is beloved by most, truly understood by a few, and assailed by many. “Be” received my attention next, followed by “God”, “I am”, and finally “Know”. However, as already mentioned, the two words or phrases that always dominated my thoughts and prayers were the climax of Nexus Prayer: “Be still” (harpu in the original Hebrew) and “Be.” The first being the place in Nexus Prayer where we drop everything, let everything in our life go (let go) by uploading our problems, sins, concerns, worries to God, and the second, by simply “being” with God, allowing God the Holy Spirit to download directly into our spirit precisely what each of us may need on any given day or time in our lives.

Cows © 2017 Copyright by Erin Theisen Photography | Used with permission. | Nexus Prayer International.ALL WORDS ARE EQUAL…NOT!
All of that changed several days ago during my customary morning prayer when my attention was especially drawn to Step 3 (Know) of Nexus Prayer. This is most likely due to conversations I’ve had recently with a close friend and prayer partner regarding God’s innate nature – another four-letter word (LOVE), and especially spiritual insights I’ve gained from reading Love, Imperfectly Known by Brother Emmanuel of Taize. Brother Emmanuel reminds us that “…the love of a father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, and friend become possible analogies and even indirect reflections here below of a Divine love that is even greater than human beings dare to believe.”2

When I was an agnostic, I tried to know God with my head. After choosing to become a Christian, a follower of Christ, I began to know God with my heart (soul). Today, and especially thanks to Nexus Prayer, I know God with all my body, mind, and spirit. Indeed, Scripture’s simplest “definition” or description of God is found in I John 4:7,8 “…God is love.” I plan on writing a post soon that fully examines this vitally important word “Know” that is strategically embedded in Psalm 46:10 and halfway through the Nexus Prayer cycle, but for now, and in a very real way, suffice it say that when you get to this stage of Nexus Prayer you may feel free with full confidence to exchange the word “know” for “love.” It follows naturally from the previous step: I am …loved. Just as we are letting go to God all our human problems and emotional baggage in Step 4 (Be Still), and allowing God to download His Spirit into our spirit in Step 5 (Be), we can just as easily visualize God placing Her3 loving arms around us and holding us close to Her divine heart in Step 3 (Know). When we reach this third step of Nexus Prayer it is as though we are hugging God and He is hugging us back.

Arguably, of course, when one considers the first word “God”, and the second word(s) “I AM”,  I have to concede there can be no stronger or more powerful beginning to Psalm 46:10. I’ve now used Nexus Prayer on average no less than three times daily for the last two years, and although in my heart of hearts I still believe these five key words of scripture to each be equal in depth of meaning, significance, and power, I must admit that when it comes to Psalm 46:10 Napoleon was right… “all words are equal but some words are more equal than others.” Or are they? God only knows.

Ready to pray? Why not join me? 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 & REFERENCES

1 Animal Farm by George Orwell | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

2 Love, Imperfectly Known by Brother Emmanuel of Taize.| p131, Continuum (2011) / Amazon

3 He/She. Truth is, God is a Spirit. John 4:24 “He” simply cannot be adequately described by the limited anthropomorphic labels we assign to God. We understand today that males and females both have feminine and masculine sides to their psyche and personality, and that God created us (male and female) in His image, so why should it surprise us to learn that God’s attributes include both masculine and feminine qualities? This subject is expertly explored by Brother Emmanuel of Taize’ in his book, Love, Imperfectly Known – Beyond Spontaneous Representations of God (Continuum, 2011, see above.)

4 Photo Credit: Pig by Fabian Blank | Photo in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

6 Photo Credit: Cows © 2017 Copyright by Erin Theisen Photography | Used with permission. | Nexus Prayer International.

Nexus Prayer Primer

NEXUS PRAYER PROJECT | A PRIMER
“Be still, and know that I am God.”

What began for me in the summer of 2015 as a simple curiosity about the well-known and much loved eight little words buried in the middle of Psalm 46, soon became a passion…then a project. Today it is my humble little prayer ministry.

For 365 days straight I researched, read (often in the original languages), studied, digested, and yes, prayed all of Psalm 46, but especially verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Now several years later, the fruit of my time spent praying (listening) to God is this website and what is now known as Nexus Prayer International.

I refer to nexus prayer as “The Nexus Prayer Project”, but the truth is I’m the project! Day by day, week by week, month by month, and now year by year God has gradually been transforming me from the inside out as I have learned to listen to His still, small voice through Nexus Prayer. Plans include for the expansion of this website, an eBook, a “real” book, synchronized prayer cells, local prayer groups, workshops, presentations, gift shop, and more! Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime through this website. I’d love to hear from you!

A NEXUS PRAYER PRIMER
Not to be confused with Eastern meditation, Mindfulness, or Centering Prayer, and not associated in any way with so-called New Age theology, Nexus Prayer is a short, simple, and scripture-based method of contemplative prayer.

It is easy to learn, and can be used by anyone, anywhere, and anytime by simply praying the first part of Psalm 46:10 (“Be still, and know that I am God”) several times each day. As such, it is designed to supplement, not replace one’s regular church attendance, daily devotional time, weekly bible study, or other times designated for prayer..

Nexus Prayer helps us to better hear the “still, small voice of God” through the stilling of our soul, the quieting of our mind, the letting go of our problems, and the surrendering of our will.”

 

Whether done at home, the office, church, or even on-the-go, Nexus Prayer helps us carve out the time in our busy schedules to create some quality one-on-one time with God. Think of it as a daily, scheduled, divine appointment that takes as little as 5 minutes a day.

In the stillness of Nexus Prayer our intention is not to talk to, but rather listen to God. (It’s worth noting that the words “listen” and “silent” both contain the same exact letters and identical number of letters.) Nexus Prayer, then, helps us to better hear the “still, small voice of God” I Kings 19:9-13 through:

  • the stilling of our soul
  • the quieting of our mind
  • the letting go of our problems, and
  • the surrendering of our will leading us, ultimately, to an authentic connection to and communion with God.

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 & Credits:
1 Photo Credit: Original Bible photograph by Aaron Burden | Used and modified with permission via Unsplash. | Nexus Prayer International.

Jeopardy Answer: What is Nexus Prayer?

Intersection Photo by Denys Nevozhai | Used with Permission | Nexus Prayer International

WHAT IS NEXUS PRAYER?

So, what exactly is a nexus? If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this photo of a metropolitan interchange does a pretty good job of illustrating it.

The interstate “clover leaf” in the center of the photo1 shows the nexus, or connection, of all the major highways feeding into the heart of the city. But, let’s take an even closer look as “nexus” applies to the human “heart”…

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3

Morphed over time, “nexus” is originally derived from the Latin words “nectere” (to bind or tie), then later “nex” (bound), and finally “nexus” (a binding together. Psalm 147:3 The word “nexus” did not enter the English lexicon until the 17th century.  It literally means to connect, link, bind, or bond together, and refers to the central or most important place, as in a hub, center, or junction.2

In the context of Nexus Prayer,  nexus refers to the inner most place of our soul where our spirit intersects with, or is conjoined to God’s Holy Spirit. And founded upon the scripture, “Be still, and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10, Nexus Prayer is the contemplative Christian prayer practice of connecting our human spirit to God’s Spirit through:

  • the stilling of our soul
  • the quieting of our mind
  • the letting go of our problems and
  • the surrendering of our will

Ultimately then, Nexus Prayer is the daily praying of Psalm 46:10 that leads us to an authentic communion with God in real time and space. To borrow from Francis Schaffer’s writings, we are in fact communing with “The God Who Is There” with the intention and understanding that “He is There and He is Not Silent.”3

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 & Credits
1 Photo Credit: Original “Intersection” photograph by Denys Nevozhai via Unsplash.
Modified use with permission | Nexus Prayer International

2 Nexus – Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

3 Francis August Schaeffer (1912-1984) – Christian Philosopher and Theologian. Author of the trilogy: “Escape from Reason”, “The God Who is There”, and “He is There and He is Not Silent.”