Prayer Shawls Bring Comfort to Cancer Fight

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Prayer goes into every shawl knitted by members of Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Mich.

“We pray for the person for whom we are knitting, not knowing who it is,” said Pam Van Koevering, who began the ministry three years ago.

The prayer shawls go to a Grand Rapids, Mich., agency that ministers to women with cancer—to ward off the chill that can accompany chemotherapy.

“[The shawls] are visible proof that someone cares for them and is praying for them,” Van Koevering said.

“If someone who is not a Christian is getting it, I pray that person would see the love of Jesus through this,” said Ruth Pohler. “If someone is terminal, it could be the last gift they get.”

Pohler’s daughter, 11-year-old Katie, is working on her third shawl. She hopes this one will comfort a young person, since she knows of an elementary school student with cancer.  

Van Koevering said that prayer shawls date back to the Old Testament. About 45 volunteers at Immanuel have completed more than 300 of the soft, warm shawls.

You can read more about the modern prayer shawl movement at

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