Prayers when we're empty or when we're full
The humble cup has origins so ancient it’s hard to know when cups were first in use across cultures and lands. From practical considerations of using a vessel to drink liquid to ceremonial traditions of many forms, cups have been part of human every day experience for thousands of years.
Early cups were made by hand from clay or wood or bark or fashioned from gourds. Today the cups we drink from are made using complex machine processes. How often do we pay attention to the liquid held within the cup and not pay attention to what processes were involved to get it into the cup or even to the cup itself?
When we drink a glass of water, do we think of the sand that was used to make the glass or the rain that fell to bring us the water? If we drink our recommended intake of eight glasses of water a day are we more focussed on keeping count, or quenching our thirst, than paying attention to the glass we’re holding? As we turn on our tap, to fill our cup with water do we think of the rain or the water reservior, the underground system of pipes that deliver us our tap water? When we buy a cup of coffee, do we think of the coffee bean that was harvested in a country far from us, and the people involved? Do we noticer the type of cup we’re holding and where it originated from, or are we grateful for the caffeine hit from the coffee?
A cup filled with a favourite beverage is inviting. Drink the beverage and the cup is no longer so inviting when it’s empty. Cups need to be refilled. Again and again. The entire process invites us to pray for our world. We live on a watery planet where plants grow. Between the water and the plants, we are gifted with many options of drink to fill our cups.
And anyone who gives one of my most humble followers a cup of cool water, just because that person is my follower, will be rewarded.
The cup has a purpose. Today’s prayers invite us to pay attention to our own cup, both an actual physical cup and also the metaphorical cup. What do the cups we drink from hold and what cups do we offer to others? It seems so simple to say we should offer a cup to another person, but if our cup is empty it’s not that easy to share.
These prayers are starting ideas. Some time this week I invite you to sit with your favourite cup. Sit holding it empty and let your thoughts flow into a prayer. Then fill it and drink from it. I’ve added a prayer practice at the bottom of this week’s Virtual Prayer Room that you could use to help you focus in your prayer but you could make up your own prayer. I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments section.
On the journey
Empty Cup Prayer
If a cup is empty there’s not much point trying to drink from it. The cup to drink from is one that is filled with a welcome, thirst quenching beverage. Hold an empty cup. Think of your own life and what makes your life full? Perhaps instead you will think of what makes your life empty. Give yourself time and space to ponder these thoughts. You may want to turn these thoughts into a prayer or you may want to write down your thoughts and place them inside the cup. Think of others around you who have needs right now, and are staring into cups which are either not very full or running on empty. Turn these thoughts into prayers for your friend in need. What do you have within your own cup that you can share with your friend? Pour a drink into your cup and as you sip it, pray for your own needs and for your own cup.