Wrapped up with Prayer
WRAPPED UP WITH PRAYER
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.16 Confess your trespasses[e] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
I have been knitting and crocheting prayer shawls for several years. I started when our church started a Prayer Shawl Ministry. There is nothing really complicated in making shawls many are without intricate patterns and made using basic knit and purl stitches. It was the concept of the ministry that intrigued me. It is a gift of comfort, peace, understanding and healing. It is also a gift of praise, encouragement and thanksgiving. Something created by hand and mind. As the yarn passes through your hands on and off needles by creating loops that pass over each other locking each into the next, a shawl is created. There is no part of that shawl that remains untouched both physically and spiritually. It is something that becomes very personal for knitter and recipient, a locking together.
To join the ministry, no prior skills were required. The ministry would instruct and teach the basics and, what better way to learn but in an atmosphere of peaceful prayer. I must admit I may be somewhat experienced in needlework I however, did need guidance with prayer. My incentive to join included becoming comfortable in prayer (silent & aloud) and not just to pray from rote recitation and at the same time to provide someone with a tangible reminder of God’s strength & blessings. So the learning began.
What I learned:
No shawls are perfect. No one's life is perfect. We all have made mistakes. We all have faced tragedies and obstacles. And, so it is with making these shawls, we were taught to leave the mistakes as a reminder that all is not always perfect but we can move beyond our mistakes and find comfort from the love given by others and God. This was a very hard concept for me, as I was bothered about not correcting the flaws in the shawl. I also, was anxious about forgiving myself for my failings. When I gave my first shawl and explained that it was not without errors, I was surprised how touched my friend was by not giving her a perfect shawl. She confided in me some of the imperfections she had and was facing in her life, but she could see the beauty that was there throughout the whole of her life symbolized in that shawl. A very touching moment for the both of us.
It has allowed me to see myself more clearly by praying for others. I felt the worth of spreading love, strength, courage, and comfort that is woven into the physical fabric of a mantle and the emotional benefits of praying. It was a reminder that I was not alone when I needed strength and courage. It allowed me to share in the joy, blessings and happiness of others when I created a shawl symbolic of praise given to God for others’ blessings and joys. At the same time, I revisited some of the blessings and joys I had experienced in my life.
We are knitted together when we pray.
The therapy of knitting/crocheting and prayer has become so intertwined no matter what I make (even in my sewing) I found myself soulfully reflecting on the recipient not just getting it done. What peace!
This opportunity also taught me to use prayer in all I do. A prayer to begin and end the day is not all there is. The day is full of needs and celebrations.
I have made many shawls for congregation members and for friends or family members of our congregation. I was the recipient of a prayer shawl when I faced surgery for cancer. My husband also received a prayer shawl as his health began to decline. He would ask to be wrapped in it daily. It gave him consolation, comfort and warmth. Both of these shawls were made for precise reasons and specific to us, making them very special. I know that each stitch was created with thoughtfulness and support. There is nothing more rewarding and uplifting than to feel all that wrapped around you.
Lord, I thank You for prayer, and Your Son who taught us to pray, teaching us we can come to You and call You Father. Amen