Symbolism, Color Meanings, and Prayers
Whether called Prayer shawls, Comfort shawls, Peace shawls, or Mantels, etc… these shawls, made with a compassionate heart and entwined with good will and grace, are powerful gifts to uplift and delight those whom they enfold and beautify. In my opinion, any shawl created while offering prayers and blessings to the receiver qualifies as a prayer shawl. However, if you look at the original prayer shawl instructions from the Prayer Shawl Ministry you will notice that the patterns are designed in multiples of three. This is not random. The Prayer Shawl Ministry and greatdreams.com give great explanations on the significance of three relating to many aspects. Generally, in Christianity, although not all denominations, the number three represents the Trinity–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–and signifies completeness, perfection, wholeness, or unity.
Considering the number three’s importance, in the original prayer shawl instructions,
(t)he 3-stitch seed pattern was selected as symbolic of planting peace, healing, love, comfort and hope into the shawls by the shawl maker for the receiver.
In addition to the symbolism of three, the creators of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, Vicky Galo & Janet Bristow, also designed a color chart listing colors and some of the attributes associated with them to assist the shawl maker in selecting a color for a particular person. For instance, if I was creating a shawl for a person who was ill, I might choose the color blue for healing and peace and/or combine it with aqua for courage and soothing. However, since the colors have multiple attributes and sometimes share the same attributes, almost any number of color combinations can be made. Additionally, colors can be selected based a particular disease or difficulty, such as pink for Breast Cancer. Colors picked in this way are “based on the most popular ribbons and bracelets sold to promote awareness for these causes.” ~Prayer Shawl Ministry
While making a comfort shawl, I believe that as long as your prayers confer blessings the receiver, the exact words and order of your prayer isn’t overly important, but, there are structured prayers you can recite. The Prayer Shawl Ministry provides a nice collection of prayers inspired by ministry groups and to which you can submit a prayer for consideration. However, I have found a couple of prayers that I use, which are not in this collection.
May this prayer shawl,
filled with angel song for you
Bring you the special gift of knowing,
without doubt or hesitation.
With the shawl around your shoulders
in the cradle of angel wings
You may ask the greatest questions
and seek the hardest answers.
In an instant the inner core of your being
will fill with the divine light
Shadows disappear, clutter dissolves
a clear path is revealed to your highest self.
You will choose the correct path
aligning your soul’s mission to divine will.
Oddly enough, I found this on a cooking website, along with some others, but the author was not cited and I could not find it anywhere else. If you happened to know the author, please provide it in the comment section as I would like to give proper credit to the author. Thanks.
A Prayer Shawl For You…
As you wrap yourself in the prayer shawl of comfort…
May the Father of Faithfulness and the Spirit of Compassion wrap in you His all-encompasing love this day.
May you find comfort in His arms
from all that appears too much to bear at this moment
from all that feels as if it might be the breaking point
from all that seems to threaten your peace of heart.
May this prayer shawl be
a shelter in times of overwhelming grief
a shade in times of sorrow too deep for words
a shield in times of unimaginable loss.
May you be comforted
by the presence of those who love and support you
by faith in the eternal Loving One
by the memories of what you hold most dear.
May you be strengthened
in your daily comings and goings
in your tentative new beginnings
in your unfolding new memories.
The blessings of our Loving Father be with you and all you love now and forevermore.
I sometimes utter these prayers exactly, sometimes I use them as a guideline, and sometimes I don’t use them at all. Most of the time I just speak with my heart and I know that God hears me, understands my intent, and binds the message I cannot convey in words into the threads of the fabric with which I am working. Regardless of the words spoken or left unspoken, prayer shawls, for me, have become a way of cultivating my own spiritual strength and hopefully extending that strength to those who receive my gift.
Here are some pictures of my first knitted prayer shawl.
Until next time… Happy Crafting!