by Linda Veath
I found a large yellow envelope stuffed into my mailbox and, although the return address was for a city in Arizona where a good friend lived, it wasn’t my friend’s name on the label. With some trepidation, I opened the package and saw a navy blue shawl — a prayer shawl, as I would soon find out.
A card attached to the shawl told of its story. It had been made for me by the Prayer Shawl Ministry at Desert Foothills Lutheran Church in Arizona. My eyes filled with tears as I read how the ministry had been praying for me as mine and the other shawls were created. They had asked the Lord to give me the blessings of courage, strength, hope, guidance, acceptance, and love. They had asked the Lord for the warmth of this shawl to give me comfort.
And that it has.
When my friend Tami found out that I was facing heart surgery, she had requested that I be placed on the church’s prayer list. Now, when I wrap the shawl around me, I can physically feel those prayers. I can almost hear the members of the church surrounding me and whispering encouragement into my ear, giving me the strength to go on. I can also feel the presence of God, lifting me up and bringing healing to my body.
I am so blessed and surprised and thankful. But there’s more ……..
Fifteen years ago, my mother was struggling because of challenges she was facing. My father’s sister lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and her church (also Lutheran) had a prayer shawl ministry. You guessed it. Mom was a recipient of a prayer shawl at that time. I remember how much it meant to her. Just as mine means so much to me now.
Both shawls accomplished what their prayer groups had set out to do. Both provided the warmth of Christ’s love so we could feel His presence, even at difficult times in our lives.
I’m looking forward to a cup of hot tea, a comfortable rocking chair, and a prayer shawl wrapped around my shoulders. Not only did the shawl bring comfort to me, it became a reminder of my praying for others that God’s love might touch them in whatever circumstance they are facing.