Starting a Prayer Shawl Ministry

prayershawlMaking a prayer shawl isn’t just about crocheting or knitting, it is about praying as well. At many churches, this is a ministry. There are several websites that offer free patterns to produce these shawls. Here are some tips for starting a crochet prayer shawl ministry.

Many shawl ministries use Lion Homespun yarn; it produces a soft and luxurious shawl which anyone will love to be able to wrap up in. Depending on how tightly you crochet, a K-P crochet hook will work best.

Before you start, read the directions. You will begin with chain stitches, depending on the yarn, your hook and how tightly you chain, it can be anywhere from 50 to 60. Chain one and turn, single crochet in each of the chains. Chain three, turn and double crochet into each single crochet. Repeat double crochet twice then one row of single crochet. Repeat this until your shawl is about 55 inches long. Chain one, turn and do one row of single crochet and end.

At this point, you may decide to add a fringe. Use a rug hooking hook to do the fringe. Decide how long you want your fringe to be. Five inches is what this writer prefers. You will need to cut the yarn ten inches long. Take a piece of cardboard and cut it to a five-inch size. Wrap the yarn around it and then cut one side with scissors, you now have identical pieces. Take three pieces, grab them with the rug hook and push through the top of the single crochet. Use the hook to grab the loose end and pull it through the folded end of the fringe.

Lion Brand has several different patterns. What you will get from them are lots of choices at different skill levels. The downside is that you need to register if you want to get one of their patterns free. You also will not get any of the prayer aspects of the shawl which defeats the purpose. If you want to use one of their patterns you also need to go to the shawl ministry site so that you will understand the prayer aspects of shawl ministry.

There are many ways to produce these shawls and many different ways to use them. We have been giving them to the people who are actually sick. Our thinking is that since we are praying for them on our prayer line, we would give them the shawl. Some churches give the shawl to the family members of the terminally ill. They want to comfort them as they sit by the bedside of their loved ones. The ministry began in hospice units and comfort was the original purpose.

For Catholic prayer shawl ministries, praying the rosary while crocheting or knitting is a good option. It doesn’t matter which pattern you choose or which prayer, it is only important that you combine the two with love. This is one ministry that will never run out of people who need the comfort of a shawl.

As your ministry grows, you may receive requests for prayer shawls for sick children, women, and men. Be sure to keep that in mind when choosing colors.


Photo credit: Public domain

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