The Prayer Shawl Ministry
Sometimes in the this era of Reality TV, Sexual Abuse in Churches, and Gun Violence, one can feel saddened and scared. One idea shines forth as a beacon of Gentle Rightness and you can say yes to this! When I first heard about Prayer Shawl Ministry, I thought - now that is a beautiful idea. It is a program that started in many denominations all over our country.
So, what is Prayer Shawl Ministry? It is a way of combining the care and love of knitting or crocheting into a prayerful ministry that reaches out to anyone in need of comfort and healing, through the gift of a hand-made shawl. Shawls have been made for centuries and they have always provided actual comfort and symbolic warmth to the wearer. This is how the ministry in churches today works. It is not an-other church committee, there is no president of vice president. People in the congregation knit the shawls, according to some simple directions, either individually at home or in small groups. While they knit they say prayers for the person who will receive the shawl. When the shawl is finished, a prayer for healing is pinned to the shawl.
When a person receives a shawl, it symbolically is the wrapping around of God’s love and care for that person. Usually, when the knit-ter makes their fist shawl, they may have a special friend in need that has been ear-marked for the shawl. After that first shawl, knitters may make several more, which can be distributed in the name of the church. Periodically these shawls will be blessed in church. The knitting pattern for the shawls is very simple. The shawl takes 3 skeins of yarn and the pattern consists of the sequence, knit three, purl three - the number three being symbolic of the Trinity. The goal of this program is to be able to give a prayer shawl to anyone in need of prayers and comfort; such as after illness, accident or bereavement. A shawl can also be given in times of joy and celebration such as Baptism.
The ministry of presenting the shawls is important too. Pairs of church members visit the recipient, give them the shawl and pray with them.