A beautiful reminder of God's presence and love...
Dear Friends at
The Blessing Center,
Prayer shawls travel the world
Elder Rick Ufford-Chase,
Moderator of the
Presbyterian Church (USA)
asked The Blessing Center to send “two or three shawls, (for) I would welcome
the opportunity to ‘seed’ them as I travel. For instance, I will be traveling to
Peru and Bolivia later this month, and I would love to take two with me to share
with partners in ministry there.”
“I spent my last morning at Crossroads Presbyterian Church, a growing, vibrant, exciting church just north of Milwaukee. As I rushed toward the car after the first service in order to make my flight, one of the women in the congregation stopped me to offer a prayer shawl. I didn't know anything about prayer shawls, but there is a movement of folks who pray for whoever will eventually receive the shawl they are making, and then who pray each stitch as something of a spiritual discipline as they work.
Mine was a large,
soft, bluish-green shawl, and it was given to me with prayers for my time as
moderator. As I flew to Baton Rouge, I...prayed and held the prayer shawl on my
lap, and it occurred to me that it was a wonderful sign of all of the prayer and
concern I have heard from Presbyterians as I've traveled…There was a card pinned
to the shawl with a short prayer of support for those who receive it, and I read
the prayer over and over as we flew. Here are the words to the prayer:
A Prayer Tent Story
We had spoken in class about the way a prayer shawl can be the sign and symbol of a holy space. One wraps up in a shawl or scarf and feels surrounded by the care of a loving God as one prays.
A moving insight came to a young father in that class. He told how his young son wanted to sit on his lap during their time of prayer. The father would gently put his arms around his son and then they would pray. Sometimes they would ward off the chill by doing this inside a blanket, draped around them like a tent.
Insight came as the father realized this: “I see now that in that moment I have become my son’s prayer shawl. I hover over him and around him just like a shawl would.
I am for him the form of the presence of his loving and caring God.”
May it warm those who are weary...
Randy, a member of First
Presbyterian Church in Middletown, was moved by the gift of a Prayer Shawl to
his mother when she was struggling with cancer. He shared the enclosure which
came with the the shawl:
Enfolded in God's love...
Rita shared, "My Dad really likes the prayer shawl we gave him for his (85th) birthday. I didn't know what he'd think, but he was using it all weekend, and I saw him reading the notes (that came with the shawl). As he's gotten older, his faith has become more important to him, and I think the thought of being enfolded in God's love is comforting for him."
A blessing during a difficult time...
A response from an older woman who received a Prayer Shawl as she moved to live near a daughter, leaving the community in which she'd spent most of her life:
"Words cannot express the pleasure I am feeling when I see and use the prayer shawl. It was such a blessing for me during this difficult time."
Prayer Shawls touch hearts with love...
Some who receive Prayer Shawls are homebound, for various reasons. One wrote, to the knitter of hers: “When we had our picture taken together last fall and I admired your handiwork, little did I ever dream I would be the recipient of one of them. You would have no way of knowing that we raised sheep and for many years before his death, my husband and I worked with the local and state extension Sheep & Wool Improvement Association…So a wool shawl is wonderful.”
She went on to report the remarks of another who was given a Prayer Shawl, “she …told me of the gift from you and how happy she was with it and how much she admired (the giver, who was also the knitter).”
And some who receive shawls do so for reasons of homelessness. Three women who were recent guests of Memorial Church, through the Interfaith Hospitality Program, each asked for and received a shawl amidst tears and hugs. The Shawls will go with them to their next guest residence and become a constant reminder that they are wrapped in the love of God and the prayers of others.
Prayer Shawls Bring
My mother was very pleased with her Prayer Shawl, which she says brings her comfort.
Here is another story concerning a member of the church I serve:
I gave another Prayer Shawl to this person, and they were pleased. But, what was interesting was that another lady in our church made another shawl and gave it to me at church to give to one who is in need of comfort. I have a person in mind and when possible we will call her down front, present it to her, and lay on hands of healing. Her husband has Alzheimer's and it has been hard on her. I cannot imagine having the person you love be dead, yet have their living body with you on a daily basis.