Front Porch Stories: The Prayer Shawl


By Kathy Bohannon, Front Porch Stories

My sister made something for me that I cherish. It’s called a prayer shawl.

According to yarn manufacturer Lion Brand, a prayer shawl is “… a wearable hug crafted with love and intent from maker to recipient. Whether it be personal words, verse, song, prayer, mantra, or something else, it is these thoughts imbued in the shawl with each stitch that make them what they are.”

My prayer shawl is more than just a bit of warmth from the chilly air; it is a comfort. Sister Carol knit it just for me, and from the time she gave it to me just a few years before she passed in 2017, I have used it nearly every day.

Since I am now retired, I indulge in a daily nap in my recliner. My naps can be a bit complicated, as I have a few “needs.” On the needs-to-nap list are a small pillow for a “huggie,”a blanket or lap quilt, a crafting video to watch till I fall asleep, headphones so the video doesn’t keep Ninja Man from napping, and though the small “huggie” pillow would suffice, the prayer shawl.

The shawl my sister made is in dark, fall colors, very soft and must have been made from her finest yarn. It is like a cloud beneath my head and becomes my nap pillow as well as a cover for my eyes. I use one end to keep the sunlight out as I snuggle in for what is usually a 30-minute snooze. I keep it by my recliner and just knowing it’s there is like a hug from my big sis.

Carol was twelve years old when I was born and being the oldest of four, she was more often than not called into the service of child care. Some of my earliest memories are of her helping mom with me. But before I get all sentimental, I also remember her teaching me to make mud pies and then putting me in the yard to eat them. When she started dating, she was burdened with hauling five-year-old me to various places like the fair and the drive-in movies. At the fair she was often able to pay extra for the ride operators to keep me on the ride until she returned. This often resulted in an unpleasant event which warranted a change of my clothing, a situation never thought of in advance, resulting in an even more unpleasant ride home with all of the car windows open.

Carol married and moved out long before I did; she was a confidant and mentor of all things I might encounter as a grownup. Even though I am still somewhat traumatized when I see the fair come to town, I know Carol loved me as if I were her own.

I remember after my first child was born, feeling like everything was perfect as soon as she arrived. Though mom and my husband were there, seeing her walk through that hospital room door just completed the experience.

It is this prayer shawl she created for me that reminds me of her every time I pull it from beside my recliner and snuggle up with it.

Yarn manufacturers may define it as a shawl that has been created with “words, verse, song, prayer or mantra”, but I know for a fact mine was created with prayer. Prayer from one sister for another. It will always be one of the more precious comforts in my life.


Kathy Bohannon is a Christian humorist and inspirational speaker. She can be reached at [email protected].

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