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.homemade message board and cover it with slips of written prayers, blessings and photographs of the loved ones for whom you’ve been praying.
PRAYER BOARD: Design a
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.”