A Safe Place to Hide

November 30, 2009 | 30 comments

She’s hunched over, embraced by prayer, and she knows she’s covered.

There’s nothing magical about her prayer shawl. She knows she could talk to God without one — and she does. But like her mother, she finds comfort in the shadow of these wings.

So we both lay stitched-love over our shoulders. And these souls run for cover as we begin.

“God is a safe place to hide …”
— Psalm 46:1 (The Message)

PHOTO: Two prayer shawls — mother’s and daughter’s on the prayer chair.

***

These prayer shawls were a gift from a friend, Michelle. She crocheted mine in purple — my favorite color — two years ago.


Hour upon hour, row upon row, she stitched and prayed, stitched and prayed. For my marriage. My children. My parents. This farm. My friendships. Our church. These walls. My health. My spiritual growth.

These gifts from the hand, they are priceless.

She knew what it meant to me. Saw it in the tears that flowed when I first held that silky bundle in my hands. O, this God who blesses me with a friend who would spend hour upon hour in prayer for me …. It humbled me. Still does.

This friend brought over a gift bag the other day, but we had already tucked the birthday girl in bed.

“That’s OK; she can open it in the morning,” Michelle said.

And then we heard the footsteps on the stairs. “Mommy,” said Lydia, voice quivering. “I can’t get to sleep.”

She’s been having trouble falling asleep lately. She can’t quite put her wee worries to rest when her head hits the pillow. So around the corner she came, red-eyed and restless and worried that she’d be up all night, and wouldn’t get any rest, and how would she stay awake during school the next day?

And then she saw the gift bag and the mama-friend holding it — and nighttime fears eased away.

“Happy birthday, Lydia,” Michelle said, and the 8-year-old tugged at gift-tissue to find a Love Bundle inside: a rainbow-colored prayer shawl.

Lydia opened the card and read it aloud:

“Lydia — A few years ago I made your mommy a prayer shawl because she is such a good ‘prayer sister’ of mine. This year, for your birthday, I decided to make you your very own prayer shawl because you are such an awesome ‘prayer kid.'”

You have put prayer requests in my prayer bowl at my house — you have said bedtime prayers with me and prayed at my kitchen table. I love your prayers, so I decided you needed a prayer shawl to go with them.

I prayed a special prayer with each row I crocheted for you … I asked God to protect you as you grow. To be with you in school each day. To watch over your dad, mom and Anna. …

Lydia continued reading, stopped short by the next words on the card: “To help you sleep on those nights when you can’t get to sleep.”

(And this mama cried fresh tears. How could she have known?)

She prayed that God would give Lydia the desire to know Jesus more and more. Stitch.
She prayed for spiritual teachers to be put in Lydia’s path.
Stitch.
She prayed for Lydia to have good friends and special times with grandparents.
Stitch. Stitch.

Michelle finished her note with these words:
“Your shawl is the colors of a rainbow. A rainbow is one of God’s visible signs and promises He sends us to show us He will protect us forever.”

And for this mama
and this wee prayer warrior at her side
these shawls are visible signs of
God at work
in the hands of a friend.
We find comfort here, embraced by prayer.

***

This Christmas, might we consider ways to give gifts made with hands and hearts? Could we make gifts with prayer woven in?

PRAYER SHAWL: Consider making a prayer shawl for a friend, even a child. Instructions are here, at ShawlMinistry.com

.

PRAYER BLANKET: Perhaps you’re like me, who has never knitted or crocheted. Consider making a a no-sew, tie-blanket from fleece. Pray blessings over the recipient as you tie each knot. No needles required — only a heart of prayer! Click here for some instructions or Google “No Sew Fleece Blanket.” Follow the instructions … then just add prayer!

PRAYER JOURNAL: The same woman who crocheted my prayer shawl gave me my very first prayer journal. She wrote a blessing on the opening pages. Consider doing the same for a friend or sister to aid her in her prayer journey.

PRAYER BOWL: Write blessings, prayers and verses on colored bits of paper. Place them in a bowl or Mason jar wrapped with ribbon. The person who receives the gift can take out one a day, with a daily reminder that someone cared enough to pray. And when the bowl is empty, she can fill it again with her own prayer requests and praises.
PRAYER BOARD: Design a homemade message board and cover it with slips of written prayers, blessings and photographs of the loved ones for whom you’ve been praying.

***

For more ideas on how to make this Christmas more meaningful, consider visiting A Christmas Change, an online project aimed at “spending less and giving more to those in need.”

by | November 30, 2009 | 30 comments

30 Comments

  1. Glynn

    Beautiful post. God uses our children to teach us.

    Reply
  2. A Simple Country Girl

    His timing is awe-inspiring.

    It was as if I could touch your heart as I read this post today. Thank you for blessing me.

    Reply
  3. ~*Michelle*~

    *sniffling*

    This was absolutely beautiful…..your little girl reminds me of my Nevaeh.

    "Could we make gifts with prayer woven in?"

    This made my heart skip a beat. We took the "homemade" route last year…my best friend, the one who brought me to Christ, and I spent an evening with our children (we have almost a dozen between us!) and made handmade soap. It was such a blessing to spend time with each other, we prayed, we laughed, even cried together that night….precious gifts that only can come from Above. She recently told me that she would teach me how to crochet….which is one of the reasons for my tears reading this….as you have brought it all full circle for me with the idea of a prayer shawl. I cannot wait to call her later and share with her…..this is the perfect gift that I can make for my daughter.

    You are a blessing to me, Jennifer.

    Reply
  4. Andrea

    AMEN

    Reply
  5. Kelly Langner Sauer

    Jennifer… I don't know what to say, but I know I want to say something. Something about how open you are about God with your daughter. Something about the courage it takes to be so real, the courage required to talk about Him, to teach, to encourage prayer while there is still innocence. I want to say something about how you challenge me with your life to set caution and cynicism aside and try to trust God with what I tell my children of Him. I want to say something about how I wish I didn't hold back words and feelings that burn within, the alive words, the God words.

    I think He is still healing me, still renewing my soul to hear Truth and know Truth that is a Person, reminding me that the Word who was with God WAS God Himself. I think you have unwittingly become a part of His healing.

    Thank you for sharing Him in you – with your daughter, with others, with me.

    Reply
  6. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought

    Tangible gifts of love. I held a prayer shawl women from the church my parents attend made several days ago. They made it when he went in for experimental surgery for his cancer. Later in the week, my kids raced around with it bundled over their backs. God is so good. He is so good.
    ~ Wendy

    Reply
  7. Laura

    Jennifer,
    This one brought tears…I'm not sure why, just this simple passing on of a grace-filled tradition touches deep.

    May I also say a thank you for your latest comment over at my place. You have no idea what your words meant.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  8. elizabeth

    Wonderful…so great that you are raising little prayer warriors. Blessings to you.

    Reply
  9. Cindy Bultema

    Wow!! What a beautiful post. What an amazing gift. What an awesome friend!! Thank you for sharing…and blessing me today!! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Rose

    Awww, there should be a "tissue required" warning with this beautiful post. What a wonderful blessing to have a friend who knows and understands what you need. Of course God is good about sharing that info with our friends isn't HE!
    The shawls are lovely and I am sure you treasure them.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  11. Billy Coffey

    Beautifully done, Jennifer. I can think of no better present to keep warm, to keep safe, and to stay blessed.

    Reply
  12. Shirley

    Oh my! I've range from goosebumps to total fascination. I've heard of prayer shawls…in fact, I think there is such a ministry at our church, but I've never found much said about them until today. How awesome! How awesome!

    Reply
  13. mom2six

    Digging, looking, I know there are crochet needles here somewhere. What an awesome inspiration – a tangible way to show someone dear they have been thought of an prayed for. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  14. Doug Spurling

    Stitched and prayed…

    Woven with love. Beautiful. Powerful.

    Reading of a home where a child is happy receiving a prayer shawl brightens my day.

    Gives me hope.

    Like the stitching, I see hour upon hour, line upon line a life time of planting to harvest a Child with a heart after God.

    Many children I know wouldn't consider a prayer shawl a gift but a disappointment.

    I plan to change that. With prayer and example.

    Well done Jennifer, Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Jackie

    Absolutely precious!! I'm inspired….I'm encouraged…..Bless you!!

    Sweet Blessings!
    Jackie

    Reply
  16. Deidra

    This is a beautiful post about a wonderful God who chooses to weave Himself into the fibers of our lives through people "with skin on" who love us deeply and lift us in prayer. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Reply
  17. Beth E.

    What a precious, priceless gift from your friend! One I know you – and your daughter – will treasure forever.

    This post has blessed and inspired me today….thank you. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Triumphant Victorious Reminders Copyright © 2009

    That is so beautiful as I have tears streaming down my face. Our God is so awesome and O how He knew she needed great rest as He Comforted her with His Loving Embrace revealed in a prayer shawl! Thank you for sharing!!

    Reply
  19. Karen

    This was all so inspiring…your friend's love…your daughter's faith…your sweet sharing of these wonderful ideas…bless you!

    Reply
  20. elaine @ peace for the journey

    A beautiful gift of love and some great ideas for the season ahead. I'm needing to extend myself a bit this Christmas. I need some new ways to bring true love and thanks to those I love the most. You've helped me "think" along these lines.

    Blessings and peace to your daughter as she embarks on a new year of living for the King!

    ~elaine

    Reply
  21. Amber

    Beautiful!! I just love your posts. 😀

    Reply
  22. Lyla Lindquist

    I just finished reading Paul Miller's A Praying Life on the plane yesterday. But it occurs to me as I read your words that, perhaps, Lydia will never need to read a book about prayer.

    She has not, you know, learned this in a vacuum. Well done.

    Reply
  23. Carey

    I think that's the best gift I've ever heard of. From the Lord's heart, to a Mamma's heart, to a little girls heart.

    Reply
  24. Jennifer

    This one brought tears. My mom just crocheted herself one this past month, so the idea has been on my heart already. Your post just confirmed what I need to do. Time to break out the crochet hooks and look for some thread.

    Reply
  25. Graceful

    Prayer shawls are a new concept for me — thank you for introducing me to this beautiful way to love your neighbor! Perhaps I'll try my hand at the fleece version — tying knots would be the closest I'll ever come to actual sewing! Thanks, Jennifer — your stories are so beautiful!

    Reply
  26. optigrl987

    I bet Lydia sleeps soundly now, warmed by a prayer shawl made from an angel of God.

    Reply
  27. Charity Singleton

    This post was breathtaking. What a friend, what a Mama, what a child. And your ideas are precious. Just the impetus I needed for making Christmas gifts a little more this year. Blessings!

    Reply
  28. Christmas

    Thanks for writing this post. I'd love to find a way to work it into the ChristmasChange blog site. I may link up this Sunday during our recap and update.

    I'm glad you are encouraging others to rethink the season.

    Reply
  29. Missy

    What a wonderful post! I love how God uses others in just the right timing.

    Thank you for the great gift ideas.

    Reply
  30. Amber

    This is such a good idea. Seriously, thank you for sharing it with us.

    Love,
    Amber

    Reply

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