The gift of a prayer shawl wraps tangible, “touchable” love around the recipient–prayer that can be felt. Many who make prayer shawls do so to minister to people suffering from grief or loss. This ministry is ecumenical and includes men, women and children.
FIVE TIPS FOR STARTING A PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY:
- Pray and discern. Does your group feel called to this ministry?
- Assess the gifts and time availability of knitters in your group. Do you have knitters or perhaps someone who could teach others how to knit or crochet?
- Talk with others in your area who may already have a prayer shawl ministry.
- Inform your pastor or chaplain about this ministry.
- Keep in mind that recipients can be men, women, or children of all ages.
Here are printable prayer shawl instructions for making the shawls (knit and crochet options).
PRAYER TO GIVE WITH A SHAWL
You, whoever you are, are very special to God.
This Prayer Shawl was made with you in mind.
Our prayer for you is:
That God may guide you, keep you, and instruct you into all truth.
May this shawl, as you fold it over you,
keep you warm in his love,
close to his heart,
and at peace with yourself and others.
Shared by Esther Mae Long of Goshen, Ind., who made many prayer shawls, and said, “People have expressed to me that as the shawl is wrapped around them they receive a peace that is inexplicable. I believe this is from the ‘bank of prayers’ that go into the making of these shawls. Every stitch is a prayer.”
Three prayer shawl recipients at the Gulf States women’s retreat.
PRAYER SHAWL SISTER-LINK BRINGS JOY
Following Hurricane Katrina, Mennonite women from 14 states made 170 prayer shawls for their sisters in the Gulf States. The shawls were given at the annual Gulf States women’s retreat.
This Sister-Link project was coordinated by Elaine W. Good, Lititz, Pa.
Donna Duplessis, a recipient who lost her home in the hurricane, said, “This shawl is the most beautiful reminder of how much God loves us, and how much God’s people love us.”
AN AMAZING BLESSING
Wondering what God would have for her after moving from Illinois to Big Fork, Montana, Jo Miller (pictured right) remembers making her first prayer shawl in 2004: “I began knitting a shawl for a man in our community who attended Mountain View Mennonite Church. As I knit I prayed for God’s presence to sustain him as he was in his last months due to cancer. Thus began a ministry of love, through which God has richly blessed me and touched many lives.”
Since then, Jo has made more than 40 shawls. She says: “Knitting needles, yarn, a pattern, willing hands and a prayerful heart are all that’s needed to make a prayer shawl. God turns it into an amazing blessing.”
-From A Postcard & A Prayer, June 2007
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