Prayer Shawl Ministry

“You created every part of me, knitting me in my Mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”  – Psalm 139:13-14

What is a “Prayer Shawl”?

Prayer shawls, sometimes called comfort shawls, peace shawls, or mantles, are intended to be a reminder of God’s ever present love. The shawls, lap blankets and squares we create are symbolic of the inclusive and unconditional love of God. They are reminders to those who use them that God is always present to comfort us and is surrounding us with love to give us peace and healing.  Thus, they are a symbolic “Hug from God” providing recipients with hope, comfort and a reminder of God’s presence.

In this ministry, shawls, lap blankets and squares are knitted or crocheted by individuals in prayer, as prayer, for prayer.  The creation of each of these items is thus a spiritual practice which embodies our thoughts and prayers for the receiver and his/her needs. The maker of each item always begins his/her work with prayer for the recipient, who often is unknown to us at the time. Prayer is continued throughout the creation of the item as the maker spends approximately 20 hours knitting or crocheting and praying over the creation until they are ready to be passed on hand-to-hand and heart-to-heart as a labor of love wrapped in prayer.

When are they used?

Prayer shawls, lap blankets and prayer squares are a gift for every time and every occasion—joyful or sorrowful, for every circumstance of life—chosen or un-chosen, when you are weeping or when you are celebrating. The physical properties of these items as sources of warmth and comfort are physical reminders that God is with us in our joys and in our sorrows and is surrounding us with love and warmth.

Do you know someone who needs a “hug from God”?

Perhaps you know of a friend or family member undergoing a physical or emotional challenge, someone who has experienced a personal loss or someone who needs a tangible reminder that there are people who care, and that God continuously wraps each and every one of us in His endless love.  Maybe you know someone who is celebrating a happy occasion filled with hope, such as a marriage ceremony, or the birth or baptism of a baby and one of these items will serve as a reminder to them that God is with them in their joys as well as in their sorrows.

If you know of someone who can use a prayer shawl, lap blanket or prayer square, please complete the form on this page and someone from the Prayer Shawl Ministry will contact you.

Want to Be a Part of this Ministry?

This ministry exists thanks to individuals who use their own yarn, supplies and time to hand knit or crochet prayer shawls, lap blankets and prayer squares. The ministry is open to anyone who has the skills to knit or crochet or who would like to learn how to knit or crochet. Whether you knit or crochet quickly or slowly, like to knit or crochet at home on your own or in a small group setting with others, you are invited to help in this ministry of sharing “hugs from God”.

Since beginning of this ministry at Philadelphia UMC several years ago, we have seen time and time again that, like all acts of generosity, the giver as well as the receiver of the gift find their lives enriched. In fact, research at the Harvard Medical School Mind/Body Institute has found that when an individual is knitting or crocheting, her/his heart rate can drop 11 beats a minute and her/his blood pressure drops as well. Thus, this ancient art benefits ones emotional and physical health by reducing stress, whether the stress of trying to manage difficulties like chronic illness or the stress that comes from leading very hectic lifestyles.

For more information, to volunteer or to request a prayer shawl, lap blanket or prayer square, fill out the form on this page and someone from the Prayer Shawl Ministry Team will contact you.