Prayer Shawl Ministry
Throughout the centuries, shawls have been made to provide comfort, warmth and protection from the elements. Today’s prayer shawls are handmade gifts of well wishes, into which blessings and good intentions have been lovingly stitched with prayers for the recipient, offering comfort and warmth of a different kind.
Since 1998 Prayer Shawl Ministries have spread around the world, with groups gathering to knit and crochet, and pray for those experiencing life’s challenges as well as those celebrating life’s joys while sharing a time of fellowship.
As each shawl is created for the recipient, this creative handiwork becomes an expression of love, a reminder that they are never alone and a gentle reminder of God’s loving care and constant presence in one’s life.
This ministry combines the love of knitting, crocheting and quilting into a powerful and prayerful ministry that reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace.
There are many blessings that are worked into every shawl. The shawl creator begins each shawl with prayers for the recipient and intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. When the shawl is completed it is offered a final blessing (during Sunday worship services) before being sent along its way. Thus, the blessing is rippled from person to person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace of a sheltering, mothering God.
Who receives a shawl? The recipient could be, for example, someone undergoing surgery, experiencing an illness, or during recovery; as a comfort after a loss and during bereavement; as a means of prayer or meditation; or to mark a rite of passage. There are endless possibilities and even greater need.
Every now and then, it’s nice to pass someone’s shawl-in-progress around the circle. Members can choose to add a few stitches or rows of their own of just hold it quietly, perhaps adding a blessing or wish for the recipient. At the end of your time together, invite members to gather around all the shawls, finished and unfinished, place a hand on them, and recite in unison a prayer of blessing.
As you continue to come together to share thoughts and insights, it will become clearer what direction your particular group will take. Remain open to divine guidance and don’t worry about to whom the shawls will go. The recipients will come to you with ease. Best of all, notice the blessings that flow between the knitter and the recipient and around your faith community, your circle, and your lives.
“Shawls…made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles…” - Janet Bristow