"Because a prayer quilt is a vessel of love and caring, it can be said to embody the universal philosophy that underpins all the world's great religious traditions: that God, called by many names, is about love. When we care for others, especially those we do not know, we are giving life to this immeasurable aspect of the divine. And when we make and give away a prayer quilt, we affirm that all human beings, no matter what name they call God, are united in their love for him and for each other." This eloquent assessment of the value of a prayer quilt ministry is by Kimberly Winston, the recipient of the 2005 American Academy of Religion award for Best in-Depth Reporting on Religion. There are more than 440 Prayers & Squares chapters across the United States, Canada, and overseas. Here is a step-by-step guide to these ministries built around prayer.
Most prayer quilts are made for people in crisis situations although they have also been given to babies before christenings and to young people before they are confirmed or graduated from school. Those who make the quilts feel the power of God move through them, and they in turn are gratified to see the salutary effects of these sacramental gifts upon their recipients. Winston believes that crafting brings people together and links them with those in the past who have shared the same experiences and passion. Quilters also talk about how making a prayer quilt with their hands connects them with God and the joys of creativity.
The author gives directions for making a quilt and starting a ministry with chapters on the three commandments that animate this service of others, putting the pieces together, and finishing the project. There is also material on God and prayer, quilting in a group, prayers to use, and a section of full-color photographs of quilts. The website for Prayers & Squares is www.prayersquilt.org.