Friday, July 30, 2004

the prayer of the teacup

i have just been introducted to marcina wiederkehr, she is a wonderful spiritual director and benedictine monastic. i'm excited to read her work and know her more. this was my first exciting find:

The Prayer of the Teacup

Never get tired of staying awake to pray for the saints. Eph 6:18

In this beautiful reminder to pray for one another the author of Ephesians is certainly not talking about the saints in heaven. The saints spoken of here are the saints at your elbow, the saints in your household, and the saints you shop with at the supermarket.

I used to worry about how to be faithful in praying for all these ordinary saints. While looking for a way to pray for those who are a part of my life, the way found me. I call it the prayer of the teacup.

The first 15 minutes of each day I reserve for the saints on earth. It is one of my favorite morning rituals. I begin my day with a cup of tea or coffee. As the steam from my cup ascends to the heavens I pray for friends and strangers. I see their faces in the ascending steam. I receive the persons who come into my memory and give them back to God.

So many folks are brought together in my dawn ritual: my family and friends, my community, those I have worked with in the past, political figures, and church leaders. Often the faces of people whose names I don’t know come to me: people at check-out counters, folks I’ve seen during my travels, in the airport, or on the streets. There are even the faces of those I read about in the newspaper or see in the evening news.

I like this prayer because it is so simple. When we pray for others we often get bogged down with words. I need few words—just a name or a glance is enough. I simply gaze at all these people whom God loves, and I yearn for their good.

I stand at my window and watch
one by one the stars all leave me
I am having tea with the dawn
the first ray of sun descending
into my teacup
into my heart

The steam of my tea ascending
to the heavens
into God’s heart

The yearning in my heart streaming
to the heavens
into God’s heart

And God, standing in the heavens
watching the sun rise in my heart
leans down to breathe in
the first rays of my yearning
and names it morning prayer.

©Macrina Wiederkehr
Seasons of Your Heart

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