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Prayer Shawl Ministry

The Prayer Shawl

As a person crochets, knits, knots or weaves a Prayer Shawl, he or she is in prayer for the person who is to receive it. A card given with each shawl contains these comforting words and the prayer that follows:

"As I made this prayer shawl I prayed for the one who will receive it. I prayed for that one to receive from God the help needed. I prayed that they would be reminded that they are not alone. I prayed that they would find in this shawl a place of comfort and strength. When I was told it would be given to you, I prayed for you and will continue to pray for you - and ask that you pray for me." 

“May this gift made for you with love
be a mantle and sign of God’s sustaining presence.
May it refresh your weariness;
Surround you with comfort in your suffering.
May it encircle you with healing for your pain;
Consolation for your loneliness.
May it bring you joy in sorrow or gladness.”

About Prayer Shawls 

Peoples from many faith traditions have found it helpful in their praying to have ways of recognizing a space as sacred.  

Prayer Ponchos can be given to young people who have had big changes in their lives.

A prayer shawl is such an aid. The shawl is usually large enough to wrap around one’s shoulders, or even drape over one’s head, and thus “create” a sacred space in which to meditate and pray. Some shawls have been made large enough so that an adult, say a mother or father, can wrap themselves and their child inside of this space. On the other hand, some are small so that they are manageable by someone whose arm strength is less than it once was – small enough that these are really prayer scarves that elderly folks find physically comforting in those chilly drafts – as well as comforting as a space where remembering God and God’s blessings is encouraged. 

The added blessing is a prayer shawl ministry is that those who make the shawls pray for the recipient as they are making them. The promise is that this praying for another will continue after the shawl has been presented. 

Not every one is comfortable with a prayer shawl since these are most easily identified with some Jewish practitioners – or even less well-known world religions. And some men are reluctant since they recall shawls as being the garb of women. This is a matter of preference since there is no great attempt to “weave” into the prayer shawl an elaborate set of symbols. Yes they do have fringes many times. Yes sometimes the fringe has a tinge of purple to denote that all are of royal blood in the Kingdom of God. 

The prayer shawl ministries fostered by the Blessing Center are not so elaborately explained. The shawl is one more physical aid to praying – like prayer beads and candles, like pinwheels and sandboxes. The meaning is this: someone prays while making a shawl, sewing, knitting, crocheting. The shawl is given to someone who needs to be reminded of God’s blessing along with the narrative of prayerful creation. The recipient then uses the shawl in the ways that are personally helpful.

Download the Blessing Center Prayer Shawl Ministry brochure.

Other useful resources about Prayer Shawls:

The Shawl Ministry

Lion Brand Yarn  A comprehensive site about prayer shawls from the original prayer shawl group, featuring free shawl patterns and cards.

Prayer Shawl Words

Crossroads Presbyterian Church PC(USA)  has a Prayer Shawl Ministry. This is the prayer included with the Prayer Shawl they give: 

"May God's grace be upon this shawl...warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing. May this mantle be a safe haven... a sacred place of security and well-being... sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones. May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love. Blessed Be!"

 

The Prayer Shawl
-Nancy Peterson (adapted 2003)

This shawl was knit with love and care,
Each stitch  made with a special prayer;
To warm you when you feel a chill,
And hold you when you’re very ill.
To give you strength and hope and cheer,
To let you know that God is near.
As you wrap it ‘round you tight,
Know that God blesses you this night.