There are as many ways to pray as there are people on this earth. Prayer is about being in relationship with God. What does that look like? The first step is to think about how we deepen our relationship we those we love? How do we nurture relationships?
- we spend time with those we love
- we listen to those we love
- we make sacrifices for those we love
- we express our deepest feelings to those we love
- we help those we love
- we draw strength from those we love
- we support those we love
- we work at knowing those we love and we allow ourselves to known
I’m sure there are many more ways we work at our relationships. Prayer is a vehicle for being in relationship with God. Prayer is spending intentional time being in relationship with God.
Have you ever sat and knit with a friend? Maybe you both sit in silence, maybe you are telling your friend something that is troubling you or maybe your friend is telling you their deepest desires for you.
There is no right way to pray or knit and pray. What is required is an open heart, a desire to grow in our relationship with God, time, two sticks and some yarn. When you think about knitting through Lent, what do you picture yourself doing? Will you say a specific prayer? Will you just listen? Do you have a list of people you want to pray for?
For me, I sit and knit. I know God is there. I try and keep my mind open and uncluttered with thoughts. If I remember something I need to do, I write it down and then let it go. I just knit. Sometimes I will say the Jesus Prayer “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me” over and over. I find it comforting. Sometimes I just knit. Typically nothing happens in that moment except the rest of my life changes when I am consistent with prayer. Things happen.
Let’s review! The Lenten Knit along is about spending time with God. The knitting part helps us track our prayer progress. You can knit anything you want with any yarn you want. The important thing is to commit to praying/knitting 6 out of 7 days a week during Lent.
Here is what I am doing and for those of you who want a pattern, you can follow along! I have picked a hand spun yarn that a friend gave me.
I did a swatch and determined that I want to use size 8 needles and 48 stitches. With this yarn, 48 stitches will make my Lenten project 12 inches wide. Each day, I plan to knit 4 rows which makes one inch a day. At the end of the 40 days, I will have a rectangle that is 40 inches long and 12 inches wide. I plan to join the two ends to make a long wrap around cowl.
You may decide to knit a pray shawl, or work on an afghan or anything you want! Just commit to a daily knitting goal. I’ll write more about the actual experience of knitting and praying next time. Just figure out what you want to commit to and share it with friends or on our Facebook page. The whole idea of this Knit Along is to develop a habit of prayer!
We will get together to share our projects and our experience at the Retreat!
Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 9:00 to noon at St. Mark’s and St, John’s, 1245 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14609.
When I was a child, I was encouraged to give something up for Lent. The default was chocolate but I remember one time giving up a television show – Walt Disney on Sunday nights. At the time, this seemed like a huge deal. I was miserable on Sunday nights listening to my family laughing in the living room, hearing spoons scraping the last bit of their chocolate sundaes out of their bowls and wishing I was there. I was unable to connect how this sacrifice had anything to do with Lent. No one ever explained Lent to me. I was just told I should give something up.
Now I understand that Lent is a time to listen, to be quiet, to find our own desert time and be open to how the Spirit might work in and through us.
As an adult, I usually try to take something on for Lent – like creating better habits, improving my prayer life, intentionally spending more time with God which is what Knitting through Lent will help us do. This incarnational project will also encourage creativity and our progress will become visible as we add inches day by day. Preparing is necessary to sustain our commitment. Do you have a prayer/knitting buddy? Do you have a time and place where you will conduct your knitting practice? Hopefully you have joined the Facebook page so you can share your progress with others on the journey.
How will you celebrate Mardi Gras?
I heard the Spirit recently when our church began to think and plan for our annual Mardi Gras pancake dinner. Instead of just planning a party for ourselves, we decided to take a page from The Volunteers of America in Upstate NY . They are having a Mardi Bra party. They are collecting bras for homeless women. New underwear is the least donated item to homeless shelters. No one wants to talk about the need for underwear. We donated underwear to victims of the Hurricane in Houston. Now we want to bring a little joy to Upstate NY. We have declared the next four Sundays as Undie Sundays. We are hoping to collect some new underwear (women’s or mens) to provide to the VOA of Upstate NY. If you want to join us, drop off or mail your donations to 1245 Culver Road, Rochester, NY.
Next week, I plan on throwing out some ideas about praying while knitting or crocheting. Five weeks until Ash Wednesday!
So, how is everyone doing preparing for our forty days of knitting or crocheting with God? I redid my gauge and realize I’m going to be using less stitches. I’m going for a 12 inch by 40 inch piece as I mentioned in the last post. I’m trying to have a multiple of 8 so I can do some cool stitches that I will share once we get going.
The finished garment is not the goal here. This spiritual exercise is more about consistently sitting down and being intentional about praying. Consistency is the name of the game and by knitting or crocheting we will have visual evidence of our progress.
Some things to consider as you prepare:
- Invite your friends so you can encourage one another
- What time of day will you sit down to pray (knit/crochet)? What might get in the way? Do you have a back up time?
- Where will you sit down to pray? How will you prevent interruptions?
- What will you do if you go several days without praying? How will you get back on track?
I’ll be posting once a week until Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14th) and then I will post every day!
Next week, I will have the retreat date so for all of you close to Rochester, NY you will have a place to come and share your experience! The retreat will be on a Saturday morning during Lent. Stay tuned!
Get ready! Starting Ash Wednesday (2/14/18), join me in a Spiritual Lenten Knit aAlong! There will be many ways to customize this experience and there will be two retreats (One in Rochester and one in either Geneva or Lyons) to share your work during Lent (more details on this later).
What you need to do now to be ready by Ash Wednesday (Feb. 14, 2018).
- Choose a yarn – any yarn will do! How about some yarn hanging out in your stash? Or go to Sew Green in Rochester and pick up some yarn.
- Choose the size needles that is recommended for your yarn.
- Cast on some stitches and check your gauge. You want to know two things: how many stitches per inch and how many rows per inch. To refresh your memory about how to measure gauge look here.
Our Lenten Knit Along project is a 40 inch cowl. Each day there will be a new post on this blog with a spiritual reflection and a stitch suggestion. The idea is to knit one inch a day for forty days. You can try the stitch suggestion or make up your own. We will be sharing our work and our experiences on the Knitting as a Spiritual Discipline Facebook page.
What I am doing:
I have chosen a hand spun yarn that has been in my stash for a long time. I am using size 8 needles and I plan on casting on 56 stitches (there are a lot of stitch patterns that use a multiple of 8 stitches). After doing my gauge, I know I will be knitting 4 rows a day (this equals one inch of length). This seems really doable. At the end, I plan on joining the two ends together for a wrap around cowl that will be 40 inches by 12 inches wide.`
There are 47 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. This means we get 7 days not to knit. I’ll be posting a spiritual reflection every day and a stitch pattern. Read the spiritual reflection, center yourself and then knit a few rows. Feel free to share your experiences as comments on the blog or on the Facebook page listed above.
START DATE: 2/14/18 Check the blog or the Facebook page! Get ready to deepen your relationship with God through Lent.