About Prayer Shawls
Peoples from many faith traditions have found it helpful in their praying to have ways of recognizing a space as sacred.
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:
Lion Brand Yarn A comprehensive site about prayer shawls from the original prayer shawl group, featuring free shawl patterns and cards.
Prayer Shawl Words