Covered By Prayer – Literally
By: Major Frank Duracher
For nearly 10 years, prayer warriors and skilled crafters of the Houston Northwest Corps in Texas have been employing a ministry begun by another denomination, with the motto: “It’s not about the quilt; it’s all about the prayers.”
“Prayers & Squares” was started in 1992 at the Hope United Methodist Church in San Diego, CA. In the 30 years since its inception, chapters have emerged all around the world. An impressive number of quilters at the Houston Northwest Corps excitedly took up the ministry there about a decade ago. The purpose of Prayers & Squares is to promote prayer and provide comfort through the construction and distribution of handmade quilts.
The comforters are literally that: tangible gifts to people in need of prayer, combining intercession to God with the loving presentation of a hand-tied quilt.
“Each finished quilt goes to that person as a silent testimony to our belief in the power of prayer,” explains Patricia Swift, who unofficially co-leads the group along with Mary Carpenter. “These quilts truly can be called ‘comforters!’”
“This ministry has made a lasting impact on the lives of their recipients and their loved ones,” adds Captain Nick Hutchinson, corps officer.
The way the ministry works is simple, yet profound. Prayer requests are submitted, then a quilt is prepared with dozens of loose stings left across the stitching. One at a time, each quilt is placed on display in the corps foyer until it is deemed completed. On Sundays, the corps family has the opportunity to learn about these prayer requests and then come and add a knot to the quilt. “As each knot is tied, a prayer is offered for the person in need—someone who has asked us to pray for them,” Patricia explains. The result is a beautiful quilt with many tiny knots, each symbolizing a prayer said for the recipient.
Scores of quilts have been given out as a source of hope for many going through cancer treatments, grieving the loss of a loved one, or those facing difficult circumstances.
“I have seen firsthand [the impact] these quilts have when my best friend of 40 years received a prayer quilt during a difficult hospital stay prior to his passing,” Captain Hutchinson says. “Even after he was Promoted to Glory, the quilt became a source of hope and comfort to his mother.”
The group hosted a crafting weekend in June 2023 with about 50 women from the corps and community in attendance. Many learned about Prayers & Squares for the first time and several asked to receive sewing lessons so that they could also take part in this ministry.