| Frequently Asked Questions
Maybe you have a question or have encountered a situation and you would like an opinion. Or you have come across a stumbling block and need to know what other chapters have done. Sometimes, you just need help with a quilting question. Whatever your questions, this is the place for it. You may also answer posted questions by clicking on the same link. We hope that this page will be a way for chapters to share problems, solutions and information with one another. Email your question or comment about a question shown here
Questions are organized into the following topics:
BEGINNING A NEW CHAPTER
~Q~ We’ve just decided to start a Prayers and Squares Chapter. Where do we begin?
~A~ The decision to join Prayers and Squares is the beginning of a new and exciting journey, and letting the Lord lead your chapter will bring you surprises, challenges, blessings, and stories almost unimaginable. The resources available to you as a chapter are numerous. Chances are, there are other chapters close to you geographically, and those chapters can be a wonderful source of support, encouragement, and fellowship. As an important first step, you will want to speak with your pastoral team to ensure that this is a ministry they want to support. Let them know what Prayers & Squares is, how you see Prayers & Squares as a ministry in your community of faith, what it is that you want to do as a chapter, and of course be sure to outline the three rules that apply to all chapters (you cannot sell a prayer quilt; you must ask the recipient what they would like prayers for and if they will accept the prayer quilt; and the focus must be on prayer). It is important you stress this is not a quilting ministry – this ministry is about prayer, and about giving the recipients a tangible sign of God’s love. With your pastoral team in your corner, you are clearly on your way.
~Q~ Can a single chapter be comprised of more than one church or organization?
~A~ Definitely, as long as together you work out how the prayer quilts will be presented for tying, and as long as the focus is the prayers. We have chapters that are comprised of more than one congregation, and we have chapters that are non-church groups.
PRAYER QUILT REQUESTS
~Q~ How will we get that first request if no one knows about Prayers & Squares?
~A~ Once you’ve spoken with your pastoral team and your congregation, and have asked for and been given their support, we’re sure the requests will begin coming in, especially if those who would be potential requestors know who to contact to request a prayer quilt. With that said, at the point at which you are ready to start receiving requests, usually, there is at least one individual in your congregation that comes to mind who is experiencing difficulties and who might like to be “covered” with prayer. You might approach that individual, and ask them if they would like a prayer quilt. If the individual’s response is positive, you will have a wonderful way to introduce this ministry to your congregation by showing the prayer quilt to your congregation during worship, telling them about the recipient and what prayers the recipient is requesting, and finally inviting your congregation to tie a knot and say a prayer, during or after worship.
Other ways to get the word out to the congregation include, but certainly are not limited to, giving short briefings to some of the small groups in your church, writing an article in your church’s newspaper/newsletter, writing an article to be included as an insert in your worship bulletin, doing a presentation to your Sunday School. Remember, this is a ministry that everyone in your congregation can participate in.
~Q~ Can you give us some guidelines on how to handle prayer quilt requests so that we give the requests the quick and sensitive response they deserve?
~A~ It is important to set up guidelines for the processing of prayer quilt requests so that the members of your ministry, the pastoral team, the congregation, and potential requestors and recipients, all know what the steps are in requesting, tying and delivering the prayer quilts. Once these guidelines are in place, stick to them so everyone will become familiar with how the ministry works, how to request a prayer quilt, and what everyone can expect. We suggest that one person be responsible for all quilt requests. This could be a staff member or someone in the Prayuers & Squares chapter.
~Q~ How do we determine who gets a prayer quilt?
~A~ One thing to keep in mind first of all is that this is a caring ministry, not a celebratory one. Prayer quilts are not appropriate for birthdays, weddings, baptisms, or as any other type of “gift”, or as a surprise. The prayer quilt is appropriate for anyone who is experiencing physical, emotional, spiritual, or some other life crisis, and who feels they could benefit from being “covered in prayer”. It only gets sticky when people start to play the “who is worthy of a quilt” game. We do not believe that it is our place to make a judgment on whether or not a request for a prayer quilt is “deserving”.
~Q~ Who should be responsible for postage/mailing when the requested prayer quilt is going out of the city, out of the state, or out of the country?
~A~ Once the quilt is tied, the person who has requested the quilt, the “sponsor”, is typically responsible for delivering or mailing the quilt to the recipient. If the “sponsor” is unable to do so, you might want to address that situation in your guidelines.
~Q~ Are there any alternatives to giving a prayer quilt?
~A~ A prayer square is a small (8" to 16") one-block quilt. They can be quickly made and are helpful in situations where a prayer quilt is not appropriate or requested. The prayer square can be delivered with all, some, or none of the knots tied. Knots can be tied by staff members, family, and friends.
Some chapters keep a stack of untied prayer squares available where anyone can use them as needed in their work, in emergencies, or for hospital visits.
QUILTS AND PATTERNS
~Q~ Where are the best places to go to get the material and supplies necessary to make the quilts?
~A~ New chapters can get started by requesting donations of fabric (100% cotton), batting and quilting supplies from your congregation, from family, friends. You may consider asking for donations from local quilt or fabric shops.
~Q~ Where can we find patterns for prayer quilts?
~A~ You can access some patterns by clicking on to the All About Quilts page on the website. We suggest you keep the patterns for your prayer quilts as simple as possible, especially where the volume of requests is high. Remember, it is not about the quilt, it is all about the prayers they represent.
~Q~ Are prayer quilts made individually or as a group?
~A~ Most quilts, or at least the quilt tops, are made individually In some chapters, particularly those where storage space is limited, just the quilt tops are made in advance. When a prayer quilt is requested one of the tops is selected and the quilt finished.
One way to encourage participation is to have periodic sewing workshops. A new pattern could be taught, or small groups could work together to make one quilt. This is good opportunity to share, help each other with particular skills, discuss needs or concerns of the ministry and to fellowship together as a group.
~Q~ I love the idea of a cross on the back of the Prayer Quilts. But how is it done?
~A~ The pattern for making quilt backs with a cross sewn in is on the patterns page.
TYING YOUR PRAYER QUILTS
~Q~ What is the best way to present the quilts to the congregation for tying?
~A~ Do whatever works best for your congregation, while keeping the focus on prayer. Some ideas are:
In some smaller churches, the prayer quilts are hung over altar rails, with the recipients lifted in prayer during worship. The quilts are tied as they hang on the altar rail either during or after worship.
The “sponsor” who has requested the quilt may be asked to present the quilt to the congregation or to be present while the knots are being tied.
Display a photo of the recipient along with the quilt, and the specific prayer requests.
Quilts can be displayed during worship, and the congregation invited to tie a knot and say a prayer for the recipients following the service. Quilts can be laid on tables or hung vertically on a stand where the congregation can tie a knot and say a prayer as they leave.
~Q~ What can we do when requests outpace funds?
~A~ While some chapters are line items in their church’s budget, most rely on fundraising and donations. Here are some suggestions from our chapters, which are certainly dependent on policies and pastoral/staff support within your own churches.
- Personal donations from outside sources. (Remember that we don’t sell prayer quilts.)
- Craft Fairs – some churches participate in preschool and other types of craft fairs with a booth of quilted or fabric items for sale, made and donated by Prayers & Squares members.
- Alternative Christmas - Your church can list you as one of the recipients of money that people are willing to spend on “alternative” gifts for others. (A gift for someone who has everything?)
- Consider a pastoral discussion during worship about the wonders and costs of the ministry. This may become “Prayer Quilt Sunday” where all of the change in the offering plates goes to the ministry or a special collection specifically for the ministry. This works well when members of the congregation are invited to stand if they have requested a quilt, received a quilt, or are part of the ministry.
- Encouraging people outside of the ministry to become involved as “batting angels” or “fabric buyers” so that they can become a part of the ministry.
- Making your Prayer Quilt Ministry the “Mission” component in a Vacation Bible School program. Children are educated about the ministry, participate in the making of children’s quilts, and are asked to bring a dollar or two or a piece of 100% cotton as their contribution.
- Asking people who want to celebrate your birthday or special occasion to make a donation to the ministry instead of buying gifts.
~Q~ When will we be contacted about renewing our membership?
~A~ We do not have annual renewals. Once you have joined as an official chapter of Prayers & Squares, you will remain on our active membership list unless you tell us otherwise.