With Blessings, Love, and Prayers
“This kind can come out only through prayer” (Mark 9:29).
We had a Laity Sunday Service on October 18th, 2020. The United Methodist Women (UMW) of Central-Grantsburg had time to celebrate and recognize their ministry and service leadership. Terry Giles coordinated the service and preached at Atlas Park. The 2020 UMW president, LuAnne Martell, had time to celebrate and recognize the members’ ministry, and 2021 president Mary McNally proclaimed the 2021 theme of the UMW; “They will know us by our love.” I appreciate their ministry and leadership.
Meanwhile, Terry Giles and Mary McNally had time to introduce “Prayer Shawl Ministry,” and blessing of the shawls: “Prayer shawls are knitted or crocheted with blessings, with love, and with prayers. Prayer shawls are made to bring comfort, to let someone know they are loved, and to let some know they are not alone…” Their blessing and prayers led me to recall a lady who I met in a hospital when I served as a chaplain.
When I was on call, I got a phone call from a nurse requesting to me to see a patient. According to the nurse, the patient was depressed and rejected all treatments after a cervical cancer diagnosis. The nurse asked me if I was able to do anything for her. It reminded me of a father’s request in the gospel of Mark [Mark 9:14-29]. A father brought his son with a spirit to the disciples to heal him. However, the disciples failed to heal him. As soon as Jesus came to them, the father asked Jesus, “if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “if you are able!-All things can be done for the one who believes.”
I prayed about how I could help the patient before seeing her. Suddenly the prayer shawl came to my mind. I brought a prayer shawl to the patient. Her room was dark. She lay on her bed. I came into her room and sat on a chair near her bed. She was crying alone. I stayed with her in silence. After for a while, I said to her, “I do not know how painful this is for you, but I understand how hopeless you feel.” I shared my story with her about how I felt hopeless when I was in a hospital due to my broken spine. And how I noticed God was with me and how I overcame my circumstances at that time. And then, I told her, “do not think you are alone. God is with you, and someone prays for you all the time. I brought a prayer shawl. This prayer shawl was made with “blessings, love and prayers” in every crocheted lace. When you see this prayer shawl, please remember someone is praying for you.” The patient did not say anything. I prayed for her and left her room.
The other day, I visited the patient again. She asked me, “Are you, Jenny? Did you visit me last time? I wondered if an angel visited me or I had a dream. But I saw this prayer shawl, and I remembered your name, Jenny.” She seemed excited and talked to me without any pause. She looked different from when I first met her. She said that she was depressed and felt God abandoned her, but as soon as she saw the prayer shawl, she felt warm, and like someone was with her. She shared her story with me. She was a designer, but she stopped to draw and quit her job, wishing to die. I encouraged her that there are perhaps reasons God gave her gifts, and not to give up her dream and job. She received treatments well after that. When I revisited her, she had many quests in her room. And there were many portraits in her room like an art gallery. She started to draw again and drew the portraits of every person who she met in a hospital. She promised me that she would not give up treatment and asked me to pray, giving me the portrait she drew of me. Six months later, she brought me the good news that she is cancer free.
When we feel hopeless, it is time to pray. As long as we pray, we can have hope. The disciples failed to heal a boy with a spirit (Mark 9:14-29). They asked Jesus, “Why could we not cast it out?” Jesus said to them, “this kind can come out only through prayer.” A Prayer Shawl is embracing thousands of prayers because someone makes every row with prayers. May we bless all people who dedicate their time and talents for the Prayer Shawl ministry, and bless every receiver to have hope and get healing and comfort. Below is the Prayer by Terry Giles which she shared at the Laity Service on October 18th, 2020.
“Bless the hands that make these shawls:
As these shawls were made, your love and prayers were stitched into every row.
Prayer Shawls are made
To bring comfort
To let someone know, they are loved,
Once they [Prayer Shawls] are completed,
They give warmth and comfort to whoever receives them.
Prayer Shawls wrap you up
When you are cold,
When you are hurting,
When you just need a hug.
Blessings, Pastor Jenny Lee