Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prayer Shawls

At our church we have a group of women who meet regularly to knit shawls, which we then give to people – church members, relatives of members, friends or neighbors who might be wanting or needing comfort and prayer. The knitting group varies from a few to many. The knitting is done at bi-weekly meetings and in between. The yarn is purchased or donated, and the knitting patterns are as varied as the members of the group.

In addition to the shawls, the knitting group makes “prayer pockets”, small squares made into pockets into which are placed a talisman of some sort representing to the recipient the presence of God or their guardian angel or their “higher power”. If you are going into a scary situations, whether it’s a dentist’s office, a principal’s office, or an oncologist’s office, it is like taking your guardian angel with you when you carry a prayer pocket in your pocket. It reminds us that we are never alone.

The knitting group consists of experienced knitters, (even one who has taught knitting and spins her own yarn) – and people just learning to knit. Some of the members don’t knit at all. They crochet.

While the shawl is being made, or the prayer pocket, we don’t know who will get them. That means that while we make them, we pray for everyone, whether they think they need those prayers or warm wishes or not. We pray for each other. We pray for people we’ve encountered that day, including the checker at the grocery store, or the waitress at Denny’s, the kid we passed lugging his backpack to school, or the person we’re having a hard time liking. We pray for the guy who cut us off on the road, and we pray for the doctors and dentists who will be treating the people we love.

On Sundays the completed shawls and prayer pockets are blessed during the service before they are given away to wrap someone in our love and our prayers. The good part is that the recipient does not know exactly who knit their shawl, so they can assume that we all did.