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2018 Joint Winner 1 – At the heart: A prayer pilgrimage… with a difference

2018 Joint Winner 1 – At the heart: A prayer pilgrimage… with a difference
June 30, 2018 Judith Simms

The theme for the 2018 Competition was At the heart…, and two entries were deemed equally worthy of first prize.

At the heart:
A prayer pilgrimage… with a difference.

Bowing my head over the needles and yarn,
I offered a prayer for the one who would receive it –
my first prayer shawl.
Slowly and carefully
I began the casting on, 1,2,3,4,
the needles dipping rhythmically,
in, out, in, out until, 62, 63, 64, 65!
A quick check –  yes, 65.

So began the task that I had set myself.
It was to be a journey not measured in miles,
but in inches.
Nevertheless, I was embarking upon a true pilgrimage.
There would be pauses on the way and breaks for refreshment.
I had no idea how long it would take, as,
some days there would be great progress
whilst others there would be virtually none.
However, I did know that, at the heart, and
woven into every stitch,
would be prayer.

Now and again I stopped and held the work
and prayed.
I asked that the one who would hold it,
cuddle it, wear it, even cling to it,
might experience a special peace and calm,
and know that, at the heart,
was not only a labour of love,
but a desire that they would feel
enfolded in the love of God

Growth was slow.
64 inches a long way off.
When would I ever finish it.
Needle- in-yarn-round-and-off

Each time I took it up
more prayer was added.
As it grew I often paused
and silently blessed it.

The soothing actions kept me going.
I felt steeped in prayer and
experienced a wonderful peace.
I had a deep sense of God’s presence
as I continued building up the fabric.

Needle-in-yarn-round-and-off became my silent mantra.
Hundreds of times over and over, rhythmically repetitive,
until the day came when the rhythm changed.
Needle-in-yarn-round-and-off-and-off-and off!
65 times!

As I held it up I felt like rejoicing, and I did.
I prayed with it held close to my cheek.
I let it run through my hands
as I prayed,

Bless the one who will receive it, Lord.
Envelop them with peace and tranquillity.
May they know that this
humble gift is prayerfully offered,
and that,
at the heart…
is love.


© Margaret Doughty, 2018


Download this winning entry as a pdf here
Copyright remains with the writers in each case.