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.
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.