Prayer Shawls

For centuries, people have enjoyed the warmth and comfort of being wrapped in a soft, cozy shawl.

Prayer shawls offer that benefit and more. The makers of these special, hand-knit shawls pray before the shawl is made, pray while working on the shawl, and pray after it is finished. When completed, the shawl is given to someone experiencing a particularly difficult time and in need of prayer. Shawls may go to someone suffering from a serious illness or to one who has perhaps experienced a grievous loss. Prayers that accompany the shawls ask God to help renew the body as well as the spirit. They ask him to restore the recipient to hope, strength, and healing. Periodically, the shawls are blessed during a weekend church service.

The Mother Teresa Circle has been instrumental in bringing this new, caring ministry to St. Patrick’s church. However, it is open to anyone in the parish who would like to participate. If you would like more information, please call the parish office to be connected with someone in this ministry. Additional information is also available on the internet at

To request a prayer shawl for someone in need, please contact the parish office at 763.753.2011 or email us at

The basic pattern

Requires 3 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun (or any good, soft brand) yarn.

On size 11 or 13 needles, cast on 57 stitches (or any number of stitches divisible by 3 to give the desired width). K3, P3 * continue this across the row. K3, P3 for each row. Note: You will start and end each row with K3, producing a seed stitch. Before you begin to use the third skein, cut your fringe pieces. Knit until all of the yarn is used, casting off at the end. Attach your fringe pieces. Fringe it any way you want— one fringe in each stitch, in every third stitch, or not at all.

About the Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun is often recommended for this project and is readily available in a wide variety of colors at local craft stores for about $4-5 per skein. It is a bulky weight acrylic yarn that is soft, warm, and machine washable.  One shawl requires 3 (three) 6 oz./185 yard skeins of the same dye lot. Of course, any good, soft, washable yarn in a similar weight can be substituted. Other types and weights of yarns (ex: worsted weight) can be used as well, but may require adjustments in yardage, needle size, and stitches used to produce the size shawl desired.

About the Needles: Knitting with size 11 needles on bulky yarn produces a firmer knit, while knitting with the size 13 needles makes a shawl with a softer drape. Use either straight or circular needles, depending on your preference.

About the Pattern: Did you know that the number three appears in Scripture over 500 times? The pattern very easily becomes a rhythm as you knit. Consider the significance of the number three: Father/ Son/Holy Spirit; past/present/future; birth/life/death; mind/body/spirit; faith/hope/charity; earth/sea/sky… The list goes on. A more experienced knitter can add her own embellishments, cables and other patterns.

Prayer to begin a shawl

Bless me, Lord.  As I knit/crochet this prayer shawl, may you guide my hands

to weave in warmth; may you guide my heart to weave in love; may you guide my mind to weave in comfort; may you guide my spirit to weave in hope.

For in you we place all our faith.

Prayer for a completed shawl

Bless this prayer shawl, O Lord.

May the person who receives it find comfort, strength, and peace

as he/she is wrapped in this mantle of prayer.

May this person always feel the support of family and friends

and find renewed hope in the assurance

of your comforting presence.

How you can help

  • Pray for the knitters/crocheters
  • Pray for the shawl recipients
  • Knit or crochet a prayer shawl
  • Donate yarn or money for materials (please leave in a envelope marked “prayer shawl donation” for monetary donations or in a bag marked “prayer shawls” at our Information Desk)

Prayer shawl stories

I have cancer and received a wonderful prayer shawl from one of my friends. I can’t tell you how much peace and comfort it gives me. The first few nights I used it, I cried. To think someone I had never met worked so hard making the shawl for me – and all the prayers – was overwhelming… What a wonderful way to reach out to others. You can’t imagine how powerful the shawls are until you have been sick and received one. God bless you.

Colleen C., St Paul, MN

Last week I presented our group’s twenty-fifth shawl. The recipient, an artist facing back surgery, cried and said no one ever makes beautiful things for her because they are afraid they won’t be good enough. She found my humble shawl beautiful and hung on for dear life. These shawls are a blessing in a world so in need of love and healing.

Marge L., Howard Lake, MN

My sister in Austin, TX sent a shawl made in Florida to our dying cousin in Jackson, WY. After Melanie died, I brought the shawl to my friend Janice, whose husband of 40 years was dying of cancer. She put it on his pillow the morning he died. It is bringing her great comfort now in her own grieving process. She wears it as she says her prayers and in the evenings, which are especially difficult. She plans on giving it to someone else when she doesn’t need it any longer.

Diane P., Grand Lake, CO

Grains of hope

When trouble strikes, O God, we are restored by small signs of hope found in ordinary places: friends, random kindness, shared pain and support.

Help us collect them like mustard seeds that can grow into a spreading harvest of well-being.

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on eagle’s wings.  They will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31 NIV