Spiritual Practice

Stitch by Stitch

Lindsay Gray

I have never been very good at carving out time for prayer in my daily life. I used to envision prayer as time set aside for God, time to sit quietly when my thoughts were not wrapped up in the busyness of my daily life, time when I could be quiet and articulate, and patient as I spoke and listened for God’s voice. But when I tried to do pray this way, my thoughts always raced to the next tasks on my to-do list. When I prayed, I hurried, rushing to move on to my next responsibilities.

In a conversation with a friend, I mentioned my frustration with my lack of a prayer life. He reminded me that while we often imagine prayer as a time of stillness or quiet, prayer does not need to be motionless or silent—and it shouldn’t be stressful! Instead of setting aside time as prayer time, my friend suggested I make one of my daily tasks an act of prayer. He suggested I might pray while I washed the dishes, folded laundry, or drove to work. I liked the idea of prayer being woven into the fabric of my life.

After that conversation, I began to pray while knitting. The first project of my “prayer-knitting” was a blanket for a close friend’s new baby. With each new row, I lifted up in prayer my friend, her health, the health of the child, our friendship, God’s amazing creation, my worries, thoughts, and thanksgivings.  Stitch by stitch I prayed. I did not rush. Though my hands were busy, my mind slowed down, taking the time to pray and to listen for God.

Praying while knitting has taught me that prayer is a practice, not a skill that we are expected to demonstrate flawlessly each time we try. As I knit, I drop stitches or forget to pray; I have to unravel mistakes and begin again. But with each new project and each new row I get to practice, and God patiently waits and listens. Stitch by stitch I am learning to pray.

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