Although this prayer practice was first developed with the Parable of the Lost Coin, this is a very meditative prayer practice that can be used with multiple Bible stories. Some examples include the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44), Jesus and the Temple Traders (John 2:13-22), and The Question about Paying Taxes (Matthew 22:15-22). In addition to the Lost Coin, it could also relate to the Parables about the Treasure Hidden in a Field (Matthew 13:44) and the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45-46). The sound of the bottle when you are turning it also sounds like a rain stick, so you could use it with Bible stories about rain, water, streams, floods, etc. One prayer practice, many Bible Story options!
The Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin: Luke 15:1-10 (NRSV)
15 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
To help us experience this parable for ourselves, we will use lost and found prayer bottles. They are small bottles filled with rice and a single coin. Use electrical tape around the cap of the bottle to prevent it accidentally opening and spilling rice everywhere. After you have made your bottle, turn it on its side and then slowly turn it toward yourself while you pray and consider the following questions:
- When is a time when I have been lost?
- When is a time when I was found?
- When was a time when I searched diligently for something?
- When is a time when I rejoiced in finding something?
- What in my life is lost right now?
- Where is God to be found in my life right now?
When everyone has finished praying, pray the following prayer together, repeat-after-me style.
Prayer: (repeat-after-me) Dear Jesus, we thank you that you search for us when we are lost, and rejoice when we are found. Help us to keep our eyes on you, and make our hearts ready to rejoice whenever what was lost is found. Amen.