I learned a lesson about miracles and prayer blankets recently. I never heard of a prayer blanket before. Although there are also prayer shawls knitted or crocheted with the same purpose.
My neighbor, Ms. S, makes prayer blankets from two pieces of material a yard long and a yard wide. She uses permanent press material (cotton polyester) and chooses material with a symbol(s) of one of the person’s interests or hobbies to make them more personal and close to the person’s heart. For me the material bore the images of playful cats since she knew I love my cat. Of course the recipient can ask for some representation of any interest they like specifically or leave the decision to her.
She usually sews a pocket on the blanket for any small thing the person might want to keep close, such as: prayer cards, tissues, a memento from their past or religious symbols. The other side of the blanket is a second piece of similar material in the color the person likes if there is a preference.
Next a prayer is offered over the blanket to the Divine Physician (God) for healing or strength or whatever is needed by the recipient. Then it is blessed by a priest or minister. A list is placed in their church for people to sign up to pray every day for the person in need..
My neighbor also makes them for people who are in dangerous situations (one was for a soldier in Afghanistan); another was facing surgery, or another poor health, or in any anxiety causing environment. Ms. S told me of people healing when they weren’t expected to. She told of a soldier in his tent with others were unharmed when a huge blast of some kind hit beside his tent. Sometimes people ask for her to make them a prayer blanket; sometimes she feels led to make them. My neighbor made the prayer blanket below for me when my back was at its worst several years ago.
I put my prayer blanket to my back many times each day: when I sat and watched TV; when I slept; and when I rested on the bed. I did feel a warmth from it at first when I was really excited and believing something would happen quickly. But alas, there was no instant (or close to it) cure! So I put it aside and thought of it as a gift of love from a very sweet lady. Sometimes I just used it to remind myself that I was loved.
Each time we met in the hall I began to notice that she asked me how I was doing. At first I gave her vague answers like “Feeling pretty good today,” or “A little achy but not too bad.” because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings that the blanket had not helped very much, if at all.
To explain what I was feeling: at first it was painful to move my back or turn or walk fast. Positioning my body on the bed, or turning on one side caused gasps of pain. I walked with a walker around my home to take some of the weight off of my vertebrae. I couldn’t even pick up my grandsons when they came to see me. I lacked energy because of the pain and the pain medicine.
I actually wondered if the rest of my life was going to be like this. There would be no more trips to see my family in South Carolina; no more trips over 20 minutes away! Going to events would be pretty much impossible with the walking to be done, unless I could rent a scooter.
I couldn’t clean my own home due to the pain or lack of energy. I couldn’t sit in my recliner for more than 20-30 minutes before the pain mounted to the point I had to lie down. At times I also had pain down my left leg from the sciatica of a pinched nerve from the thinned discs between my lower vertebrae. If I turned around too fast, I learned pain would follow. Can you tell I was pretty miserable?
Then over several months I did my exercises and lost weight, my back truly became stable at a much improved level. I realized that my neighbor’s prayers may not have instantly healed my back. But the prayers and the time of a year may have had an effect on me that enabled me me to lose 20 pounds; to do my exercises faithfully; and to be more careful with my back because of degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and several old bulging discs in my lower back.
After all the times I tried to lose weight over the years, the most I’ve lost was 10 pounds since my mid twenties. Then I gained them right back in a few months, causing great discouragement and thoughts of “Why bother!”
Many months after the blanket of prayer was given to me I saw Ms. S in the hall and we began to talk. I was thanking her for my prayer blanket again. Then she told me something I had forgotten. A year later from giving me the blanket, she told me she still prayed for me and my back every day. I felt so loved, it was a wonderful feeling.
She truly loves me with the love of God. The blanket was not just a one time gift, it was attached to prayers and genuine love, the purest kind of love: God’s love. The prayers were not just when she thought of me, but every day!
My back continues to improve. I now have lost a total of 30 pounds! I can walk around my condo with no walker. I can turn over in bed with out pain. I can sit for an hour or more and on hard surfaces. My life is pretty much normal again. Whether these improvements were from the blanket, the prayers, time, losing thirty pounds or what, I believe miracles happened!!
I also use the prayer blanket as a conveyance or symbol to remind me of God’s love for me and His nearness. I felt that love even more strongly because of this sweet gentle lady, whom I have only known a few years.