I have never heard of a prayer shawl (aka comfort shawl or peace shawl).
Not too long ago I was submitting a personal prayer request to various churches when I kept seeing the words Prayer Shawl Ministry appear on some of their websites. My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to investigate.
I am so glad I did!!!
I learned that shawls can be used for ~ someone undergoing medical procedures; as a comfort after a loss or in times of stress; during bereavement; prayer or meditation; nursing a baby; during an illness and recovery…there are endless possibilities!
After some research, I located a church nearby that had one of these ministries and emailed a request to purchase one of their shawls. I quickly heard back from one of the ladies on the shawl ministry team and was invited to their meeting a few nights later to pick it up.
When I arrived I was shown several different colors, textures and sizes. I wound up choosing a smaller very soft, silky shawl that had various hues of blue, with some green and a touch of white. When I held it to my face I knew immediately that was the one by the warm feeling of comfort and peace.
The ladies asked me to select a charm to attach. They also told me that each stitch represented the prayers said for the unknown recipent while the shawl was being created. They invited me to pray over the shawl with them before I left for the evening. I was so moved and very honored. They would not take one cent for this lovely shawl stating with a smile it is “just what we do”.
One other thing ~ While everyone was arriving for the evening, one of the ladies walked over and gave another lady in their group a large, beautiful pink shawl. Tears came to her eyes and they gave each other a huge hug. The lady in this group looked at me and shared that she had just endured two rounds of chemotherapy and was battling breast cancer for the second time. We talked for a little while and I shared that a friend of mine just found out a week ago she had breast cancer. This lady immediately insisted I take a smaller knitted scarf she had just recently completed to my friend.
Since I cannot physically be with either recipient of these lovely prayer shawls, I hope in some way they can feel my love, care and support during their personal journeys.
But most of all, I hope they feel safe, warm, and cared for as a result of the prayers to our heavenly Father that surround them as they wrap themselves in these shawls created by the godly women of this ministry.
I also found this bit of information as to how these shawls got started: “In 1998, Janet Severi Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the 1997 Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut gave birth to a ministry as a result of their experience in this program of applied Feminist Spirituality under the direction of Professor Miriam Therese Winter, MMS. Compassion and the love of knitting/crocheting have been combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort and solace, as well as in celebration and joy. Many blessings are prayed into every stitch.”