It’s almost enough to make me want to learn to knit.
Each Sunday when I walk into church, I glance at the front row to see if there are any prayer shawls.
Yesterday there were three.
Our church has a Sit ‘N’ Knit group of ladies who meet to sit and knit—and pray over the beautiful shawls (and scarves and blankets) they create. Rarely do they know in advance who will receive their creations, but you can be sure…
When one is needed, it will be ready.
There’s an entire closet dedicated to their handiwork, and the ladies work hard to keep it stocked.
At any time—for any reason—if a church member knows of someone who needs to be comforted, encouraged, prayed for, they can request that a prayer shawl be given. The perfect-for-the-situation gift is selected and draped over the back of the pew, and a card telling about the prayer shawl ministry and the name of the woman who knitted the shawl is set beside it.
As we come into church—or before we leave—men and women, boys and girls, stop by to sign their names on the cards. It’s a simple gesture, but one that communicates to someone who’s hurting that they are being thought of and prayed for. It tells them they aren’t facing their situation alone—and also reminds them that God is walking the difficult path alongside them.
One of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen is a woman in her 80s who touches each scarf with her little arthritis-riddled hand and prays over it. Not a quick little prayer. She PRAYS—over each one. She’s also one of the knitters.
Over the past few months, I’ve had the privilege of delivering some of these prayed-over gifts. When Daughter the Older had surgery, she received a beautiful variegated purple shawl. And when Sister’s husband was ill, Renaissance Man and I took him a gorgeous grey-blue scarf. Neither of them live in our town; neither knew of the prayer shawl ministry. Both were surprised and deeply touched to know that they were thought of, loved, and prayed for by people they don’t even know.
A few weeks ago, I walked into church, opened the closet, and took out a shawl, a scarf, and a blanket.
Three items—for one family.
Today the family’s needs are even greater than they were then… and they’re not going to get any easier for a really long time. Maybe never. But somehow the simple gesture of a Mom or Dad wrapping a shawl or scarf around their shoulders—or placing a blanket at the foot of their child’s bed—brings comfort. It makes a big difference. It reminds them they aren’t alone…