TUMC Prayer Shawl Ministry
History of Prayer Shawls
Prayer Shawls are mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. Originally, Prayer Shawls were commissioned by God and only worn by men after marriage or at age 13 after their Bar Mitzvah. In Numbers 15:38-40 God told the Israelites to make for themselves a garment with fringes on the borders called a tallit (ta-leet). It was a rectangular piece of cloth that looked like a blanket. The blue stripes and fringes and knots on the border of the tallit are significant as they represent the 613 commandments or laws the Israelites were to follow. It was also a representation of the Tabernacle in the wilderness as 3 million people could not fit in that space, it was symbolic of God’s residence. So the men wrapped their tallit around the head and shoulders as a personal secret place or Tabernacle to pray. Jesus says in Matthew 6:6 “when you pray enter your closet (personal secret place), and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father which is in secret, and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”
Jesus wore a Prayer Shawl continually. Mark 5:25-30 tells of the woman who was ailing for 12 years touched the edge of His garment or shawl tassel and was healed. He wore His Prayer Shawl in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was even part of His Resurrection, John 20:6-7 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen., it was gently folded in the corner of His tomb and the way it folded was testimony of Jesus’ Resurrection. The last appearance of the Prayer Shawl in the New Testament comes in Revelation. Revelation 7:9, “after this I beheld and lo a great multitude, which no man could number of all nations, and kindred’s, and people and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palms in their
hands”. Revelation 19:12 “He had a name written that no man knew on His Vesture and on His thigh a name written King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” Jesus is the fulfillment and promise of the New Testament that when we wrap ourselves in Him we are protected and have entered into His rest.
In 1998 the original Prayer Shawl Ministry was started by Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo as an outgrowth of the Women’s Leadership institute at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut. Their website is www.shawlministry.com. Since then it has a ripple effect with Churches worldwide developing their own Prayer Shawl Ministries; thousands of Prayers Shawls have been made and received.
What does a Prayer Shawl Ministry mean to us?
It’s all about intention. We need a servant’s heart. When a Prayer Shawl is started, it is the intention of the crafter to infuse healing, love, comfort, and protection in each stitch by praying for the recipient. There is a reward for those who walk in love, humility and unity toward each other. They are the ones who inherit His blessings. That being said, compassion and the love of knitting, crocheting or sewing are combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice that reaches out to those in need. The blessing is transferred from person to person, giver and recipient “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17…both maker and recipient feeling the unconditional embrace and love from God. “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds.” Jeremiah 30:17
Knitting/crocheting can be a meditative practice, it is rhythmic and repetitive. It must be sincere, stemming from our hearts, from love and compassion. “Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”- (Romans 12:9-13) this scripture is our TUMC Prayer Shawl Mission Statement.
With doing anything creative the right brain is engaged by anything physically repetitive, intellectually undemanding, and visually stimulating; it can be comforting and relaxing…a way to disengage from worry and troubles so that the crafter becomes “mindful” while still having a certain amount of concentration on the pattern, stitches, surroundings. In this state of contemplation, peace and mindfulness we are open to the Holy Spirit.
How can you get involved?
Share your time and talents! This ministry is open to anyone, women, men, youth, children, who are interested in making Prayer Shawls, lap blankets or any other comfy item for our Church members who are experiencing difficulty and are in need of healing. Your gifts and talents can be sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting or donating yarn, however you would like to serve. “Each one should use whatever gift he has to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”. 1 Peter 4:10.
We meet in the chapel at the church. Check the church calendar for dates and times. Attendance to the meetings isn’t mandatory to be a part of this important ministry, but “where 2 or more are gathered” makes it more fun! Meeting times will be in the Link, web-mail and the Refrigerator Door in the bulletin. “…serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
You can contact me, any of the current members, the Church Office, and Pastor Matt about joining this Ministry or requesting a shawl for someone you think would benefit from one.
Blessings to you!