St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Prayer shawls are knit or crocheted, blessed, and given to those going through a difficult time.

The group will meet once or twice a year on a Sunday after church to knit or crochet.  Otherwise, people work on the shawls at home and bring to church to be blessed when they are completed.  

Staff Liaison:   Darla Stiles 243-7691 darlastiles@stjohnsdsm.org;  Beth Ann Edwards bethann@stjohnsdsm.org 


What is “Prayer Shawl Ministry”?

Simply put, a Prayer Shawl is a soft, warm shawl, knitted or crocheted, which is given to persons who are ill, have suffered a loss, or are in the midst of a crisis.

The Shawl is taken to the person with a note similar to this:

“This Prayer Shawl was made especially for you with love and prayer.  It is a gift from your friends at St. John’s Lutheran Church.  It is our prayer that you receive comfort and solace as you wear it and that it will encircle you in God’s love and peace, now and always.”

Are all the shawls the same?

There is no right or wrong way to create these gifts of love.  They do not have to look alike nor be the same color.  The patterns are simple and each shawl is one of a kind.

Shawls may be made with one of two thoughts in mind:

  • As a gift for someone in need in the future.
  • As a special shawl for a particular person you know who needs this blessing for their life.

There are two ways of making prayer shawls:

  • Attending a prayer shawl meeting, praying together, & sharing stories as you work
  • Working at home exclusively if it is hard to attend meetings

Once finished, the shawls may be brought to the church office.  If it was knit/crocheted exclusively at home, we will bring it to a prayer shawl meeting to be blessed and recorded in our scrapbook.  The shawl will be given to someone for whom it will become a meaningful blessing of love.  A prayer card will be attached to the shawl.

Knitted Prayer Shawls

  • Use size 13 needle (11 and 15 also work.)
  • Begin by casting on 57 stitches.(or 63 for wider shawl.)  Pattern:  Knit 3, Purl 3, to the end of the row.
  • Turn and repeat the pattern.  Each row will begin with “Knit 3.”
  • *Before you begin your 3rd skein, set aside the yarn you will need for making the fringe for both ends of the shawl.  Then, knit until you finish the yarn.  Attach fringe.
  • *The fringe is made by cutting about 108 lengths of yarn about 16 inches long.  Hold 2 together and fold in half.  This creates 4 ends.  Pull through & knot.

Crocheted Prayer Shawls

  • You will need about 3 1/2 skeins unless you adjust the width & size of hook. Use an M crochet hook.
  • For fringe, cut at least 108 pieces of yarn, 8 inches long, before beginning to crochet.
  • Chain 54 stitches or desired width of shawl.
  • Chain 1, turn, single crochet in each of the stiches to end.  Chain 3 and turn.  Double crochet in top of each single crochet.  Repeat this row 2 more times.  Chain 1 and do 1 row of single crochet to end.  Chain 3 and turn.  Do 3 rows of double crochet.  Repeat pattern to end (1 row single, 3 rows double).  Crochet until the piece measures from wrist to wrist or about 57—58” long.  End with 1 row of single.  Finish with fringe.  Attach fringe to shawl.  (See knitted directions for this.)

 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America