What do a cup of tea and redeeming our time have in common? (Not a tea drinker? Stick with me.)
Years ago, in a charming old home on a corner lot, I invited small groups of women over for tea, conversation, and a focus on a particular book of the Bible or Scripture verse. There was also an annual Christmas tea and other types too. It was a sweet chapter in my life. (The subject of tea continues to pop up in the oddest of places these days, so who knows what God might be up to?)
Recently, while making a cup of tea, I realized there were moments in the tea-making process that matched some of my prayers from the morning. So I grabbed a piece of paper, jotted down the big ideas, and asked God to keep filling in the spaces. And this is what I’m sharing below (or here, if you don’t have time to read it now).
It’s a way to redeem a handful of minutes used for an ordinary morning act⏤an act that often flies by without notice.
Be very careful, then, how you live⏤not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15,16
Here’s the beautiful part: The redeeming tea process can be applied to many things we do throughout our day. More on that later.
For now, let’s start where any good cup of tea begins, with fresh cold water.
A Kettle and Cold Water
My soul thirsts for you, God you are the living God. Psalm 42:2
Physical dehydration is tricky⏤it can sneak up on us. Before we know it, our lips are parched and we’re lightheaded. Similarly, we can also find ourselves spiritually parched. One day, without notice, we realize our joy is lacking, we’re not making the wisest of decisions, and something is just off.
So, as the water comes to a boil, it’s the perfect time to pause and pray:
Lord, please reveal any signs of spiritual dehydration in my soul. Awaken me to Your glorious truths. You are the One True Living God and I want my soul to thirst for you with the same fervor as King David did all those years ago. Amen.
Prepare the mug
One cube or two? Ha! My mug contains stevia, and a Paris Tea teabag (thank you, Harney & Sons). Sometimes, depending on the day, I might scoop loose leaves into little disposable “pockets” instead. How do you prepare your mug?
So, then, prepare your heart and mind for action. Stay alert and fix your hope firmly on the marvelous grace that is coming to you. 1 Peter 1:13, The Passion Translation
“Stay alert” speaks to spiritual alertness. When I think of these two words, I think of memorizing Scripture, meeting with friends during the week so I can be alert to new guests in church Sunday morning, and asking God to put a guard on my mouth. What about you?
When we stay prepared for action, remain spiritually alert, and fix our hope firmly on the marvelous grace of God, lives change. Ours, and others too. We never know how our faith, no matter how small, can affect another person’s life.
So, as we insert the tea bag, squeeze the honey, and tear the packets, it’s the perfect time to pause and pray:
Lord, prepare my heart and mind for You and Your ways today. Help me to stay alert and spiritually engaged to see where I can join in what You’re doing around me. Amen.
Pour the Boiling Water
Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an overflowing spring. Isaiah 58:10,11
Let’s be honest. There are times when we feel slap out of pouring ability. Other’s needs pop up when everything has gone wrong with our day, or we’re scraping by financially, or we’re mentally exhausted. In fact, we ourselves would welcome a little pouring into. I hear you.
And yet, it’s in those very moments when we feel depleted, but still offer someone else an oasis, that God’s power is put on display. In fact, Isaiah tells us that when we give at the most inconvenient times, God gives us refreshment and restoration. As we give, He continues to replenish.
Quick side note: Obviously, this doesn’t mean we’re supposed to say yes to everything we’re asked to do. Jesus didn’t help or heal everyone who had needs. It goes back to remaining spiritually alert, acting when God taps us on the shoulder or calls our name. There’s an old saying that goes we can’t help everyone, but we can help someone.
So, as we pour the boiling water into the mug, it’s the perfect time to pray:
Lord, show me where You would have me pour into someone, no matter how small an act, and give me peace when You have someone else in mind to help. Like a well-watered garden, help me to be an oasis, providing Your truth, love, and peace, as You lead. Amen.
Steep the Tea
Be still in the presence of the LORD and wait patiently for him to act. Psalm 37:7
Tea steeps anywhere between one minute to ten, depending on the type. So what if we took this time to simply sit or stand in the presence of the LORD? Maybe we’re currently waiting on the Lord for something specific:
- Salvation for a loved one
- A wayward child to return
- A marriage to heal
Consider holding your hands out and palms up, as a posture of trust in God. We trust and we’re open to the Lord’s sovereignty.
As we wait for the tea to steep, it’s the perfect time to pray:
Lord, help me to wait patiently on You for ___________. Even when circumstances try to shake my trust in You, I will stand firm in Your presence. You are a good Father and Your timing is always perfect for my good and Your glory. Amen.
Holding the Mug
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:2
As we surround the mug with our hands, may we be reminded that the One True Living God surrounds us. He is unchanging (nothing we do or don’t do will make Him love us more or less) and faithful (He has been faithful and He will be again). And because we are surrounded, we move through our day with fresh mercy, peace, joy, goodness, and every spiritual blessing pertaining to Christ. We lack nothing!
So, as we surround our mug with our hands, it’s the perfect time to pray:
Lord, may this tangible reminder of Your presence help me to lean into You, Your strength, and Your power, today. Amen.
If you’re not a tea drinker, what’s something you do on a regular basis that could be broken down into redeemable steps? Do you garden, or enjoy baking? Whatever it is, this same process can help awaken those tiny redeemable moments we have every day!
Did one of the above steps, in particular, speak to you? Share in the comments below and you’ll be entered into a random Starbucks gift card giveaway for a favorite cup of tea, coffee, or whatever else you enjoy at Starbucks. Enjoy!