Knitting a Prayer Shawl
written by Valerie Bollinger
postscipt written by Susan Quinnell, Pastor of Congregational Care
Last March (2020) when Covid-19 started infiltrating our world and we began to isolate ourselves, I decided it might be a good time to start knitting a prayer shawl. I didn’t have a specific person in mind as I started knitting. The finished shawl would go to our care pastor at church, to give to someone as needed.
I used yarn a friend had given to me. The yarn created a unique pattern. It made for an interesting prayer shawl that I hope will lift someone’s spirits.
As it turned out, knitting ended up not being something I was inclined to work on a lot during the pandemic. But, after almost a year, I finished the prayer shawl.
Years ago, I knit several prayer shawls…some for specific people, others for the pastor to give out. At that time, when there were several people knitting prayer shawls, a man from our congregation joined in knitting shawls. He happened to be my son’s mentor through a church program, and he gave a prayer shawl he had knitted to my son. It was a special blessing. I also received a prayer shawl when my mother died.
I don’t remember anyone showing me how to knit. I think I learned from a magazine article, when I was a teenager. I believe the magazine was titled Seventeen but I can’t find the magazine’s name (or date) anywhere on the article to confirm this. I still have this article in my knitting bag and sometimes refer to its simplistic instructions for knitting.
The brochure that used to be handed out with a prayer shawl (and maybe still is) begins; “A prayer shawl is intended to be a reminder of God’s ever-present love which is as near to you as your own body is to your sprit. It is a fit for every time and every occasion – joyful or sorrowful, for every season and circumstance of life – chose or unchosen, when you are weeping or when you are celebrating”…
It includes this scripture and a special prayer:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139
I hope the finished prayer shawl will be a blessing to someone who needs some encouragement these days.
The prayer shawl is a reminder of God’s love knit into our being of body, soul, heart and mind. The prayer shawl embraces the recipient in warmth and comfort. The prayer shawl provides remembrance, security and care to encourage and sustain the recipients in good times and in difficult ones. The attributes of the prayer shawls are prayerfully knit with love and care by Emmaus volunteer knitters. It is our prayer that the recipients will feel wrapped in God’s love and the care of the Emmaus community gracing the recipient with peace and hope for the present and future days.
If knitting or crocheting is a gift of yours, we would love for you to consider sharing your talents with others by knitting prayer shawls.
If you would like to learn more about knitting prayer shawls or the Prayer Shawl Ministry, please contact me, Susan Quinnell at [email protected]
I would love to hear from you!