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, that we Christians cannot gather together virtually as well. Indeed, even though I live in Spring and my personal Nexus Prayer partner lives in the Houston Heights, 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.

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. 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 5 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 Fr. Randall Trego, Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church (Houston) and the Brothers of Taizé Community4 in 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.

HAPPY BIRTHIVERSARY!

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

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.

Milestones of Prayer

Photo Credit: Track & Field | Public Domain Photo by Stephen Di Donato on Unsplashed | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.Milestones of Prayer

Next week marks two new milestones for Nexus Prayer. First, it marks two years since I first began my intensive research and study of Psalm 46, and secondly, it marks Nexus Prayer’s 1st birthday celebration! As you’ll discover below, “milestone” takes on special meaning for me as I share my thoughts and news today about a few of the next steps in the works for Nexus Prayer.

Running the Race
When I was a student at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, Jim Ryan1 was my hero. That’s because at that time Ryan was best known as the first high school track athlete to break four minutes in the mile, and because as a member of Blair’s track and cross-country team, I, too, was a miler. But that’s where the comparison ends. The only thing Ryan and I had in common was a passion for running the mile, measured at the time as four laps around a track of 440 yards. And although I did hold the record for the fastest mile ever run at my high school (4:27), and showed enough potential at the time to be invited to attend and run for Brown University, I was no world-class athlete. Interestingly, in both I Corinthians 9:24 and II Timothy 4:7, the Apostle Paul compares the Christian life to running a race. Looking back, God’s plan for my life was quite different from the Olympic day dreams of my own, as God took away my running shoes and put me on a new course and different kind of track at Tennessee Temple to study bible and theology. Today, my competitive running has long since been replaced with long-distance prayer walking, but I’m stilling running a race nonetheless – a race for God, a race for prayer, and a race against time.

Since beginning my study of Psalm 46:10 back in 2015, and stepping out on this journey with God called Nexus Prayer a year later, I’ve travelled – spiritually speaking – many a mile. Along the way make that The Way, I’ve met some fascinating people, made some new friends, found a new church home, and gained some profound insights not only about God and prayer, but history, the Scriptures, human nature, people, and especially myself. What a fascinating journey! Today, and especially as Nexus Prayer anniversaries next week, I feel God calling me to delve even deeper into Psalm 46 and to take a longer view for Nexus Prayer. But, what does that mean precisely? Several things…

PRAY MORE | 440 = 4:40
My sustained daily study and prayer practice of Nexus Prayer have been ongoing for two years now. I’ve been averaging an hour a day for Nexus Prayer (not counting other types of prayer) beginning at 5:15 each morning with my local prayer partner in synchronized prayer (same time, different locations.) But I desire even more, so I’m moving my personal prayer time for Nexus Prayer to commence every morning at 4:40am. (Fitting for an ex-quarter-miler and runner, don’t you think?) Additionally, what began as occasional prayer walks last Fall for both my neighborhood and local community, are now a routine part of my nightly prayer regimen. (It’s all your fault, Randy Sprinkle!2)

PRAY WITH OTHERS
I’m both excited and humbled to announce that approval has just been granted to begin regular weekly classes and prayer groups for Nexus Prayer starting next month at Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. (Thank you, Fr. Rob and Fr. Randall!) This is not only a very special opportunity, but a sacred responsibility and specific answer to prayer. And as you see me mention often here, this is no normal coincidence, but a God-incident that a “permanent home” for Nexus Prayer coincides with its first anniversary! Preparation is currently being made and details regarding meeting rooms and times will be announced here on this site soon.
 

PRAYER PRESENTATIONS
My Fall calendar is starting to fill up with weekly opportunities to share Nexus Prayer with various local groups and organizations. Seeds that have been planted for the last two years are now budding seedlings. Please pray that these young, tender plants will continue to grow into healthy and strong trees in God’s kingdom as new opportunities for Nexus Prayer rise up locally.

 Photo Credit: Runner | Public Domain Photo by Dev Dodia on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.What started as a crawl, then baby steps, then a walk, jog, and one mile run for me turns out to be a marathon of prayer. A two-year marathon where I just crossed the finish line, right? Not hardly. Despite all I’ve experienced, learned, and accomplished these past two years, what I realize today is that my marathon journey with Nexus Prayer has not been a journey at all, but a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage that had a beginning, but has no end. What I’ve learned is that no matter how hard I try or how deep I delve into Psalm 46, the truths to be gleaned from God’s word and the lessons to be learned simply cannot be exhausted. So, ever the student and never the teacher, I’m more excited than ever to be on what John Bunyan would refer to as my pilgrim’s progress3, and to discover all that God has planned for me along the way.

Ready to join me in the race? 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 Jim Ryan | Wikipedia– the free Encyclopedia

2 Randy Sprinkle | Follow Me: Lessons for Becoming a Prayerwalker. New Hope Publishers, 2001.

3 John Bunyan |The Pilgrim’s Progress | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia

4 Photo Credit: Track & Field | Public Domain Photo by Stephen Di Donato on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

5 Photo Credit: Runner | Public Domain Photo by Dev Dodia on Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.

Sacred Spaces: Canterbury Chapel

Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan's Episcopal Church | Copyright 2017 © Nexus Prayer International

Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Houston

SACRED SPACES SERIES
Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church
14301 Stuebner Airline • Houston, Texas 77069 • (281) 440-1600 • SaintDunstans.org

Given the opportunity to pray in the 800 year old Trinity Chapel of England’s Canterbury Cathedral, you would no doubt take me up on the offer. (You can actually do that you know?) But if you live in the Greater Houston area, you need only trek to the Canterbury Chapel located within Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church. Offering a communion service every Thursday at noon and a Eucharistic service known as “Simple Meal” held most Sunday evenings at 5:00 p.m., this lovely little chapel is located near 1960 on Stuebner Airline Road in northwest Houston.

Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan's Episcopal Church | Copyright 2017 © Nexus Prayer International

Jesus Window | Canterbury Chapel

Although the Canterbury Chapel is not generally open to the public during weekdays, I have found that if you arrive a little early or stay a little late you can “steal” time for private prayer both before and after all services. Of special note is that during all regularly scheduled Sunday A.M. worship services of the church, the chapel is staffed by individuals during and after communion that are especially trained to offer prayers for intercession, healing, and thanksgiving.

Dedicated in 1995, and able to accommodate about 25 persons, this intimate chapel is appointed with inspirational furnishings, religious art, icons, prayer candles, and even its own columbarium! Behind the altar are two gorgeous stain glass windows – one depicting Christ and the other Saint Dunstan (c 909-988; Archbishop of Canterbury.)

Canterbury Chapel | Saint Dunstan's Episcopal Church | Copyright 2017 © Nexus Prayer International

Canterbury Chapel, Saint Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Houston

 

I may indeed one day be fortunate enough to pray in one of the many chapels located within the sacred walls of Canterbury Cathedral. But until then, I am perfectly content attending the inspired weekly services and praying Nexus Prayer every chance I get in the lovely Canterbury Chapel located in Houston’s own backyard.

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.