I started making prayer quilts after we visited our good friends, Bob and Sandy Anderson, in Hutchinson. She was battling cancer, had lost her hair and was sitting on the couch covered by a gorgeous prayer quilt. After I exclaimed how beautiful it was, she said, “This was given to me by women from another faith—I don’t know why our church doesn’t do this!”
A light clicked on in my head and I thought, Why not me? I went home and surveyed my vast collection of fabrics and said, “So this is why you gave me this stash, Lord!”
As word spread, donations of more fabric and thread began coming in and the project mushroomed into a beautiful ministry with many people joining me. Some are from our church, some from others.
There are now approximately 20 volunteers on the Prayer Quilt team, not to be named lest I forget someone. One is as important as another in the assembly process and offering up prayers for whom these quilts are made. God knows them all, but many we do not. By word of mouth we’ve been given names, addresses and the illness or accidents of these ailing ones. It’s like having antennas out for the Lord’s work. We say, “We are about our Father’s business.”
Many prayer warriors lift the suffering ones up in prayer—some as they tie the quilts and others as they write notes of hope and reassurance that God loves them and that we care. After the quilts are sent the recipient’s names are added to our “blanket prayers.”
To date we have made and delivered over 1,000 Prayer Quilts, using eight yards of fabric for each one. This equals 8,000 yards or a little over 1.5 miles. Each quilt is 5’ x 6’ and is big enough to wrap around the person, who is usually sick and cold. Many say they are warmed, as they feel wrapped in prayers.
The thank-you notes that come in the mail every week immensely bless us. One person wrote, “I don’t even go to church and all these people I don’t even know are praying for me…amazing!”
I have four donated sewing machines plus four of my own. The cost of servicing these machines is also donated. And without the Dorcas Society and monetary donations that pay for the batting and postage we couldn’t continue this ministry.
Two of us pin about seven quilts per week and four of us usually cut, sew, and assemble nearly 40 hours a week each on the quilt tops. Others dedicate time as they are able.
My husband, Max, has been “grandfathered in” and is indispensable! He delivers and picks up quilts from the prayer warriors, boxes them up and mails them. He also cooks, washes dishes and cuts strips, which gives me more time to sew.
At this point my fabric stash is full, but in the future I will welcome more. We store the batting in our second bathroom shower area (with curtains pulled, of course), and our holding area is our spare bedroom/computer/sewing room, leaving limited space at our house. A heated, lighted building close by would be handy, but we make this work.
This article was originally printed in the September 2014 issue of OUTLOOK. It was written by Rita Tasche, member of the Brainerd Church. Photos courtesy Minnesota Conference.
Editor’s Note (Sept. 25, 2014): John Kriegelstein, education director for the Mid-America Union, recently battled two forms of bone cancer. He is currently in remission and doing well. He is pictured here with the beautiful prayer quilt he just received. Thank you Tasches and team!