Prayer shapes – squares
My sister ran with these after I shared the idea of prayer shawls. Before I could blink she had designed patterns for prayer squares and inspired the church knitting group into the production of 150 for their stall at their midlands town carnival!
These were offered free with an explanatory flyer. They proved popular. Some also took up the invitation for personal prayer in the prayer tent.
Since then a basket of prayer squares has been kept at church, free to all, and they are now integral to the pastoral ministry.
- One prayer square travelled to the USA and was used to pray over a frail neonate. The follow up photo on discharge showed the same prayer square in the crib!
- Another turned up in South Africa to accompany Jane’s friend, Anne, into hospital for surgery. Once home, Anne shared the idea with church members who then started making them to put into their prayer boxes.
- A ten year old girl took a square to place under her pillow at night because ‘I’m often scared and it will remind me that God is close.’
Our ‘take’ was different – mostly because the main outlets were not in a conventional church but a house of prayer, retreat centre and hospice chapel. We put them in self sealing transparent pockets with Bible verses or prayers. The creative possibilities are endless. We have made hundreds – each one different.
Most popular at the hospice were those with well known verses like the 23rd Psalm or the Lord’s prayer. The Celtic circling prayer was also a favourite:
An example of a prayer shape
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters,
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
The hospice chaplain found a dying woman who said she had been unwanted at birth and never baptised or valued by anyone. She was fascinated by the knitted circle with these words:
‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.’ Psalm 139:13-14:
A service was devised around a ‘naming’ ceremony for her using the prayer circle as a symbol. It was attended by staff, relatives, friends and found to be intensely moving. Through it, the patient found the joy and peace of God’s acceptance.