Oh God, help me to realize that I either am now lost, or once was, and that your desire is to find me and receive me and dwell with me as with a friend.
As one of your sheep, I may be safely in your fold living a life of faithful obedience. In this case, I watch as you leave us here safe and secure under the watchful care of your Spirit while you go and rescue (to seek and to save) the lost. Help me to realize that “lost” is not about the condition of my character, which will always be broken and in need of healing until I finally rest in you. Rather, I am lost when I do not know, or live having forgotten, how precious I am to you. I am lost when I try to do things my way. I am lost when I try to follow my own path and pursue what I think is best for me, failing to remember that I am, after all, just a sheep, one among many, who is in need of guidance if I am to live abundantly.
When I find myself secure, I pray that I will be grateful, both for your gracious provision for me as well as for your urgent desire to go in pursuit of those still struggling out in the storms and dangers of the wilderness. Help me to never be smug that I am safe while others seem to struggle, but to hope and pray fervently for their safety as well.
Teach me, Lord, to value myself as fully as you do. Teach me the lesson of the lost coin worth several days wages. Help me to understand how immeasurably precious I am in your sight, how you long for me to be near you far more than I will ever long for the same. Impress upon me, Seeking God, how you rejoice at my restoration – past, present and future. I know what a mess I am, what a shambles I make of my life, and regretfully, of others’ as well. And yet you rejoice when you have found me. Lord help me to never consider myself beyond the need of your finding, so that I may never be above your rejoicing.
And Searching/Rejoicing God, may I learn from Jesus, follow Jesus, seek to allow Jesus to live in and through me into my world. May Christ in me always seek, long for, welcome, befriend, encourage, heal and restore those who know themselves lost. Teach me to “receive sinners and tax collectors and eat with them” knowing that you do the same for me. In all of this, may I live humbly in you before others so that in me they may see you and find peace. This I hope and long for with my whole being. Amen