Trinity’s Prayer Quilt Ministry: How a prayer quilt affects the heart

By the Rev. Clyde Scott

BLYTHEWOOD—Two years ago, Janet Clark came to me and discussed the possibility of establishing a quilt ministry at Trinity United Methodist Church. She explained how it would work and the method she would use to provide a quilt for whomever I designate.

Here’s what she told me: “Prayer is a powerful tool that God has provided for us. But can you touch a prayer? Can you pull it close and feel its warmth and comfort? You can answer these questions with a definite ‘yes’ if it is part of a prayer quilt.”

The prayer quilt is a way to combine the gift of a quilt with the gift of prayer for someone in need. The purpose of the prayer quilt ministry is not to make and distribute quilts, but to promote prayer and offer comfort to someone going through the grieving process, an illness, a catastrophic loss or a personal crisis.

The quilt is simply the prayer carrier. This is not just a gift of a quilt—it is a gift of love and prayer. It is a statement of faith in God and in His power to comfort, strengthen and heal, a special gift to let someone know they are in our prayers and loved very much by their church family.

During the quilt-making process, friends reminisce or share stories of this person, talk about their good deeds, take photos of the quilting progress and on occasion will create a little memory book to go along with their quilt, which shows the people involved in making the quilt and the different stages as the quilt begins to take shape.

So far, the Trinity UMC Quilt Ministry Team has made and presented nine quilts and are working on five others.

Making and presenting prayer quilts is a perfect and unique way to live out of calling as United Methodists to serve God with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness.

A quilter’s story

Today seemed like just another ordinary day. I’m at a meeting at church, but there are more folks here than usually attend.

Yes, things are getting back to normal or near normal after the heartache of the last couple of months. It’s hard to experience physical, emotional, spiritual or some other life crisis and continue on attempting to get back to a normal life.

Why, there’s the pastor—he’s not normally at this meeting, and he is with one of my friends from church. It’s nice to see them here.

The meeting is called to order and we begin. The pastor speaks—and then calls ME up to the front. Oh, my gosh! What have I done?

And here comes my friend holding a large blanket or something. I suspiciously eye the surprise—and little by little, the mystery and the gift start literally to unfold. It’s something made of fabric, a blanket, or maybe a quilt.

The pastor and my friend hold up the cloth fabric and tears start to come to my eyes as I look at the quilt. Little did I know that a few months ago, when I suffered a great loss, my pastor had asked the church’s quilt ministry make me a quilt. The pastor is speaking now about my grief, but I’m not listening. I’m too engrossed with the quilt.

As I look at this beautiful piece of needlework, I see my life’s reflection all over this masterpiece. The border is my favorite color, some of the quilt squares display my favorite flowers, and others show my three favorite sayings. Oh, my, gosh, those are portraits of my favorite pets—Lily, my kitty cat and Butch, my much-loved dog! As my tear-filled eyes scan the quilt, I recognize my favorite Bible verse.

“Oh, dear Lord,” I sob. “This is just too beautiful. I am so overwhelmed!”

The pastor and my friend place the quilt over my shoulders, and I can sense the warmth and love it is providing. I have heard others who received a quilt attempt to describe their emotions, but now I sensed it firsthand.

Scott is senior pastor of Trinity UMC, Blythewood.

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