How to Provide Comfort to a Loved One by Crocheting a Prayer Shawl
(Bonus – Mother’s Day Gift Idea, Story Lockets – a steal!!)
Creating a prayer shawl is a warm gesture of compassion and comfort for anyone that needs healing or even just reassuring a hug. When bad things happen to someone we know, we sympathize with their pain and discomfort and can offer solace through our creativity. Prayer shawls are a great project for not only helping to heal the recipient, but a great catalyst for healing ourselves.
You can call it whatever you want: Prayer Shawl, Comfort Shawl, Friendship Shawl, Peace Shawl, etc. The point is to offer blessings and/or healing to someone going through a rough time. In addition, Prayer shawls are not only for a tragedy, but also wonderful gifts for celebrations like pregnancies and weddings.
Reasons for a Prayer Shawl
- Person undergoing a medical procedure
- For a loss or times of stress
- During bereavement
- Marriages or birth of a baby
- During an illness and recovery
- Holiday Gift
- Or just because
With every stitch, you can pray for (or send intention to) a loved one or someone else in distress. It is an opportunity to inspire, embrace, and celebrate, as well as to send strength, hope, and encouragement to anyone who needs it.
Many people think that Prayer Shawls are an indication of a specific religious tradition. That could not be further from the truth. Prayer Shawls are a comforting project whether you consider yourself spiritual or not. Below you will find information about the process of creating a prayer shawl even when you don’t pray.
Receiving a Prayer Shawl
A Prayer Shawl is a wonderful keepsake that offers comfort and warmth that can be handed down through generations or across to friends, offering recipients a reminder that there is someone who cares for them. The shawls are like a warm hug helping recipients to deal with difficult times; an illness, disaster, or grieving the loss of a loved one. The person can physically feel the hope, warmth, love and care that went into each and every stitch.
Making a Prayer Shawl
The process of making a Prayer Shawl has as many benefits as receiving one. Your own troubles melt away as you concentrate on intentionally sending good thoughts and blessings to the person who will receive your gift. It relieves our sense of helplessness when there is nothing else we can do to ease their pain. It connects you to another person spiritually, opening up your heart and bringing prayer or meditation into your life. It offers an excuse to pursuing creative projects and offers companionship by joining a crafting prayer/meditation group. Finally it can help you heal old wounds by offering comfort to those who are dealing with issues you went through.
If You Do Pray
This is a personal process and these are suggestions only. You could start with a prayer and a blessing as you begin your project. Your blessings, kind words, and intentions are continued throughout the project. You can finish with a final blessing before it is sent on it’s way.
Touching someone elses heart is so comforting to me. I made an extra large shawl for a friend of mine who’s baby was born with heart issues. She was so thankful and even cried when I gave it to her. To this day, she occasionally will send me a text of a heart when she and little Kasidy are wrapped up together in their shawl.
Practices for People who don’t Pray
There are no official practices to crafting a Prayer Shawl. This is a personal endeavor and whatever you are comfortable doing during the project is up to you. You can simply think good thoughts about the recipient, or you can intentionally send strength and healing. You can repeat a phrase, such as, “I wish you good health,” or focus on love and compassion as you make your stitches. You could choose a quiet space with dim lighting, burn a candle or incense, or whatever else you choose for meditative crafting.
You don’t even have to make a shawl! Chemo caps, baby blankets, lapghans, scarves, and many other items are wonderful for prayer crafting. See the Free Crochet Pattern Index for other choices in meditative crochet.
I have gotten some books over the past years with prayer shawl patterns in them that I really enjoyed making. I will add links at the bottom of this post with my recommendations for books you can pick up that have wonderful patterns and some also have touching stories. Another amazing book is Crochet Saved My Life: The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet by author Kathryn Vercillo. Kathryn is an expert on using crafting to heal.
You can visit the Free Crochet Shawl and Wrap Patterns for some FREE shawl patterns. I recommend using a cuddly, warm and cozy yarn like Bernat Caron Simply Soft Light Yarnor Lion Brand Homespun Yarn. They are both available at Michaels and there are even a 40% off coupon this week!
If you don’t personally know anyone who you could make a prayer shawl for, then visit my Crochet (or Knit) for Charity Page for places that would love to receive your donation. Alternatively, you could contact a local hospital, hospice, or church to see if you can join a charity gifting group or if they take donations. If you cannot find anything locally, then think about a cause that you care about (Cancer, Organ Transplantation, Premature Babies) and contact that group to ask where they accept donations.
How has it helped you to make or receive a knit or crochet prayer shawl? Which prayers, affirmations or thoughts do you use when crafting for others? Share in the comments below!
Karla’s Recommended Books for crocheting Prayer Shawls
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