Friday, July 26, 2013

The Comfort of a Prayer Shawl

"A prayer shawl is God's residence...It is more than just a covering, it is representative of who God is and how much He loves us."- Pastor John Hagee

Before 2013, I had never heard of a prayer shawl or a prayer shawl ministry.  A retired pastor and his wife recently moved to our church and began to share the beauty of such a ministry.  The pastor taught the Biblical truths behind the shawls worn by the Jews and by Jesus since He was a Jew.  His wife taught the practical aspects of how to make a knitted shawl.

In the shawl ministries of today, the items are knitted or crocheted by prayer warriors. They pray for this particular shawl as they begin to work and continue to pray as the stitches are woven together.  The finished shawl is prayed over, then given to someone who has a special need...a medical crisis, a bereavement, a new birth...the possibilities are endless. 

I do not knit.  I have no desire to knit.  But my lifelong friend does and I'm happy to supply her the yarn as long as she does the work.  Little did I know that I would receive one of the first shawls she made.  At that point, we had no idea I was facing a medical crisis.  My shawl is a lovely off-white open weave knit.  I can put it over my head or I can wrap up in it.  Sometimes it simply lays by my side while I sleep. 

Shortly after I received my first prayer shawl, another arrived in the mail.  This one came from another lifelong friend who now lives in Alabama.  Her church has a very active shawl ministry and this girl knits with a passion.  When she heard of my need, she quickly completed a shawl for me.  This one is a dark mixture of soft threads with fuzzies on the end of it.  Because it's darker and less likely to show stains or dirt, this is the one that has gone to the hospital with me.  One or the other of my shawls is in my bed every night.  Often I wrap it across my middle or curl up with it in my arms.  Such a simple thing, but such a great comfort.

My shawls mean so much to me because both were made for me by friends I've known since infancy.  We were classmates together all through school as part of the Vero Beach High School Class of 1962.  And here we are...still doing life as the friends we've always been and serving the God we've loved all our lives.  The cords of friendship and love are woven into those shawls as well as prayers for my healing.

The group of ladies in the picture below could be my church group.  That's exactly the way we spread our shawls on the table and pray over them before they're presented.  They are a symbol of Christ's love for us shown in His passion, death and resurrection.

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.Isaiah 53: 5