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Monk in the World Guest Post: Sandi Gaines

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Sandi Gaines’ reflection on praying with money.

One of my contemplative practices involves praying with money. Not praying for money, rather praying with money. It began on an ordinary Monday morning in August 1997 when I found a dime at the bottom of the shallow end of the pool where I swam laps. As I placed the dime on the edge of the pool for the lifeguard to retrieve, I began thinking about how often I find money on the ground. “What value does a loan dime or penny have?” I wondered. So, I decided to start saving the coins I found to see how they might add up over a few years.

As I took my evening walk that same Monday in August, I found a penny on the sidewalk. At that moment I felt an invitation from God to use the penny as a token for prayer.

Put the penny in your pocket, give it the name of someone you know and pray for that person throughout the day. Thus, began my contemplative journey of praying with money.

The following are excerpts from the Prayer Pennies journal I kept over the years.

  • If I am with a person when I find a coin that is who I choose to pray for that day.

  • The most ordinary places become holy once I find a penny on the premises.

  • This is more than just a story about lost and found coins. It’s about my desire to expand my intercessory prayer life and God’s grace in helping me do so.

  • At this time with $6.51 worth of people having been prayed for, I think I’ve covered everyone in my family several times, all of my friends, many church members, several neighbors, and a few dollars’ worth of strangers.

  • Yesterday, I found a one dollar bill at the grocery store. I sit quietly and ask God, why a dollar bill? Immediately, I hear-think-sense a response….100 days-100 people. Am I up for this type of commitment? With God’s help, I believe that I am.

  • This journey that began with a dime and led to a dollar, now feels worth a million bucks.

  • In hospital waiting area while Adrienne has ear surgery. I overhear a lady at the desk ask, “Does anyone know why these pennies are here?” I am tempted to jump up and say, “I do!” Instead, I silently pray for everyone who passes through this same-day surgery unit, patients, employees, and families who anxiously wait.

  • I have prayed a pocket full of pennies for Mike at this point.

  • Grace appeared on two sides of the same coin today when I found a penny as I stepped out of my car to meet Ann for breakfast.

  • I often feel overwhelmed by all the prayer needs there are in the world, however, to immerse one person at a time in prayer feels quite manageable to me.

  • Occasionally God prompts me to reach out to the person that I’m praying for. This morning, after praying for Ashley, I sent an email of support and encouragement to her.

As part of my praying-with-money practice, I keep journals where I write the names of those I pray for, along with some of my prayers. Most often, I just sit quietly holding the imagine of a specific person in the light and love of God and wait for the prayers to surface.

I have saved all of the money, $43.00 after twenty years. It’s a treasured reminder of my time with God and all of the people who have been along for the journey. Every penny, every person, every prayer has been a gift upon my life.

Sandi Gaines lives in Northern Kentucky where she enjoys reading, writing, making quilts, doing Soul Collage work, spending time at a local Benedictine monastery and walking with others on their spiritual journey.

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