This is one I’d never heard of before! A Prayer-Shawl Ministry. Oh, but how God uses our gifts. Never discount them. Just pray for His guidance and be prepared to do His Will … As Carol Ann Ernhardt shows us below …
I taught myself to knit when expecting my first-born. The sweater wound up having one sleeve longer than the other, and I didn't even know what a dropped stitch meant! Next I tackled crocheting. The baby afghan turned out a little lopsided but my baby didn’t care.
Over the years, the quality of my work improved and I spent countless hours making sweaters, afghans, and other creations for my family. After working a full-time day job, my evening relax-time revolved around knitting and crocheting.
Time moved on and arthritis invaded my fingers and knuckles. With a sorrowful heart, I gave up my passion for needlework.
Years later, after I retired from my full-time job, I was approached about making prayer shawls for our church ministry. Oh, how I wanted to say yes, but my fingers wouldn't allow me to crochet any longer … would they?
Lord, I prayed, are You calling me to serve in this manner? He answered with the scripture from Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
He had been preparing me over the years to bring comfort to others through crocheting prayer shawls, so I set about gathering the necessary tools. He had called me and I would obey, regardless of the pain.
Thus began my ministry of crocheting prayer shawls and chemo hats … pain-free! Our God is a faithful and loving God. When He calls us to serve, He also provides. He took away the pain.
I have discovered the gifts I create bring great blessings to me. My Bible Study Leader hugged me in church one Sunday and told me her daughter had received a prayer shawl I made. She took it to her chemo treatments and draped it over her head, since she had brain tumors. It brought her great comfort and peace. This brave woman is doing well and is now in remission.
Another friend at church was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had beaten breast cancer in years prior, but the return was devastating. On the day before she had her mastectomy, our prayer shawl group gathered around her as we placed a shawl around her shoulders and offered up prayers. Later, she lost her hair because of the chemo so I crocheted her a hat. She loved it so much, she asked for another. The greatest blessing of all is she is cancer-free again, through God's mercy and grace.
Now I receive requests from family and friends, near and far, for chemo hats and prayer shawls. While crocheting and praying, my relationship with God has become closer, and I'm doubly blessed.
A few weeks ago, I delivered a chemo hat and prayer shawl to a former co-worker who had been diagnosed with a tumor in her left lung. She was to begin chemo and radiation that Monday and was having her hair shaved. I wanted her to have these when she faced her first treatment. She loved the hat and immediately put it on.
After her second treatment, she called to tell me the prayer shawl was working. The technicians couldn’t believe how well she was doing, and she said she wrapped the shawl around her during her treatments and felt peace and calm. She has requested a second hat, since she wears the one I made every day because it stays on and feels comfortable.
At one time I felt my needlework days were over, but God healed my hands so that I might be a blessing to others. And our prayer shawl ministry at church has grown. We meet once a month, share a light lunch, prayer and conversation as we work for God's glory.
My reward awaits in heaven where I hope to one day hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Inspirational romance writer, Carol Ann Erhardt, touches the hearts and emotions of her readers. Fans categorize her books as emotional, suspenseful, and inspirational. She gives the glory to God. Carol Ann lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and three cats. She divides her time between volunteering at her church, being a caregiver to her hubby, caring for twelve feral cats, enjoying time with her eight children and their families, crocheting, and writing. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Learn more about Carol Ann by visiting her website at www.CarolAnnErhardt.com
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