Have you or anyone you know ever been ill, had surgery, experienced a life crisis or grief? If you have, you realize how difficult life can be in such a situation. You don’t know what to do or exactly what you want or need to make you feel better. When a prayer shawl is wrapped around you, it comforts you, calms you, and helps you feel closer to God.
The Prayer Shawl Ministry began at Jerusalem Western Salisbury Church in 2005. It has blossomed and grown over the years; and as of July 2015, we have given 433 shawls and shawl blankets (for babies or children) to people in our congregation or to their friends and relatives.
The shawl is knitted in a pattern of “knit three stitches, purl three stitches,” representing the number three which is so often present in the Bible. Some are crocheted with a similar pattern. As these shawls are knitted, prayers are said. When the shawl is given, it is accompanied with a letter to the recipient explaining the pattern; and an angel is attached to remind the person that someone is always watching over them. In addition a “Prayer of Blessing” is included, as well as other prayers which may be appropriate for the person’s needs.
In one instance a family lost their son unexpectedly. When prayer shawls were delivered to the parents, the boy’s young sister was so fascinated with her mother’s shawl, wrapping it around her, that we delivered one just for her the next day.
One gentleman who had received a prayer shawl when he was quite ill in the hospital later gave his shawl to someone whom he felt was more in need of it than he. When we learned of this, another prayer shawl was given to him.
Besides illness, grief or personal crises, prayer shawls and baby/children blankets can also be given for the birth of a baby, to a friend who is moving away, or for any other reason.
To learn more about the Prayer Shawl Ministry and how it began, or for instructions and prayers to use, read “Knitting into the Ministry” by Susan S. Jorgensen and Susan S. Izard.