• “I’ve been battling breast cancer for almost 4 years now…”
• “Losing my husband of 52 years has been very difficult…”
• “I was at death’s doorstep after a recent heart attack…”
• “I had just given birth to my baby girl and was feeling scared…”

Each person struggled physically, emotionally and spiritually. Each one received a gift of a beautiful prayer shawl knitted and prayed over by members of our church. With each shawl came a note:

“Knitting yarn into shawls and weaving prayers into the shawl creates a vessel for God’s presence in people’s lives. The Prayer Shawl Ministry of Fredericksburg United Methodist Church has lovingly and prayerfully created this Prayer Shawl for you. Let it be a witness of God’s love in a very tangible, concrete form and a source of strength and comfort to you. Whenever you place it on your shoulders, we hope you will imagine yourself enfolded and surrounded by the love, prayers and compassion of all those who love you—even those you do not know. May God bless you this day and every day.”

• From the woman battling breast cancer: “God’s love is amazing through many prayers, acts of kindness, and your lovely shawl. I will cherish it forever and feel the warmth of God’s love.”
• From the person who lost her husband: “It’s a blessing to know that folks I don’t even know are praying and thinking of us.”
• From the one at death’s doorstep: “I could not sleep unless I was covered with my Prayer Shawl.”
• From the new mother: “My baby is now wrapped and bundled in love.”

“The Prayer Shawl Ministry has been in existence since 2004,” said, Nancy Swift, the leader. “In 12 years of ministry, we’ve had women and men who knit and crochet. Our experience ranges from novice to advanced. To date, we have given out more than 700 shawls plus more going with mission groups traveling to other countries.”

• “You will never know how much these shawls truly help. They give an ill person something tangible to hold on to with the thought that each and every stitch is blessed with prayer.”
• “We received a beautiful shawl to comfort my husband. We will be taking it with us to Johns-Hopkins to cover him while he is recovering from brain surgery.”
• “I use the shawl every day. It gives tremendous comfort as I mend from my surgery.”

Nancy added: “We meet monthly to work, to bond, to pray, and to offer our talents as comfort. Many of our members work from home. Occasionally yarn is donated by a grateful recipient, but mainly is purchased by those who do the knitting and crocheting. We consider the yarn and the approximately 40 hours of time it takes to make each shawl a gift of Christian love.”

• A young man was at death’s doorstep with most of his heart not functioning. He could not sleep unless he was covered with his Prayer Shawl.
• A homeless woman was given a newborn Prayer Shawl shortly after the birth of her child. She cried for at least 10 minutes over the words of the prayer card that accompanied the shawl.
• A family had an adult daughter in the hospital, not responding to treatment. The mother says their daughter wore it constantly and immediately started to improve.

“Our Prayer Shawls are always blessed and prayed over before given away in love to those who need comfort or need to be uplifted or to a newborn baby,” said Nancy Swift. “We believe that the Prayer Shawls wrap the recipient in love and prayers.”

• “The love and prayers that go into making the shawls is comforting at this difficult time in my life.”
• “When away from home and hospitalized, it is comforting to know people are praying for you.”
• “The joy and comfort this Prayer Shawl brings me. Wearing it is like getting a big hug.”

“In the beginning, Creator God, you formed my being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. To my flesh and blood you gave the breath of life. O Loving One, renew me this day in your love. Grant me life as a gift of your faithfulness; grant me light for my journey by granting me hope to sustain me. Let this shawl be a sign of your presence. Let it warm me when I am weary; let it surround me with ease of my suffering; let it encircle me with caring when I am in pain; let it bring peace when I am in turmoil. O Christ, who healed the broken in body and spirit, be with me and all who suffer today. Be with families and friends of those abiding with and comforting the sick, broken, and hurting people and places in our world. Amen.” (Prayer given with each Prayer Shawl)