This post is all about the power of the prayer shawl
When most people think of prayer, they likely think of sitting in a quiet spot and talking to God. While this is certainly a valid form of prayer, there are other ways to connect with our Lord. One such way is through the use of a Christian prayer shawl. Christian prayer shawls can provide various benefits to those who use them in their prayer life.
To better understand prayer shawls, I will dive deep into the tallit, the power behind it, and its symbolism. I believe this is key to understanding how to use a modern-day New Covenant Messianic Tallit (Christian prayer shawl). I will also briefly touch on non-tallit-related prayer shawls that are knitted. So, in short, this post is comprehensive (but interesting)!
This post is a result of a ton of research for myself; therefore, I’m sharing this with you. Feel free to check out the table of contents. However, to fully benefit from the post, you can read the entire post systematically to understand its true fullness.
Ready? Let’s go!
What is a Tallit?
The tallit is a religious garment worn by Jewish men. It has been around for centuries and holds a lot of significance to the Jewish people. The tallit is a rectangular garment worn over the shoulders and covers the upper body.
The word “tallit” is a Hebrew which means “to cover.” Some people also say that it translates to “little tent,” but John Francis, author of “Talitha Kumi,” states that it’s incorrect. It actually means “to cover.”
It is possible that people refer to it as a “little tent” because once it’s worn over the head, it forms a tent, almost like a mini tabernacle, a tent of meeting!
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.Psalm 61:4
When is the tallit worn?
The tallit is worn during prayer and other religious ceremonies. I will link this post by Chabad.org titled, “When is a tallit worn” that goes in-depth on this topic. The detail was quite a lot for me to digest, and I didn’t want to leave anything out.
What the tallit was made from
Let’s quickly summarize two things:
Traditionally, the tallit was made of wool per Deuteronomy 22:11 “You shall not wear a garment of mixed linen and wool.”
There is also a blue thread known as tekhelet, on the tzitzit (the tassles of the tallit). Historically, the blue dye used on the thread was obtained from a type of snail found in the Mediterranean sea. In Numbers 15:38 God spoke to Moses: “Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them that from now on they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments and to mark each corner tassel with a blue thread…”
Parts of the Tallit
Here are a few things you should know.
The Atarah (crown) is the uppermost part of the tallit and is usually made of a different material than the rest.
The tallit should have four corners. Each corner has a tassel (known as the “tzitzit”). The tzitzit are not just decorative – they serve a very important purpose. The word “tzitzit” comes from the root word “zaz,” which means “to bind” or “to alight.” In other words, they serve as a reminder for the Israelites to keep God’s commandments and to “bind” themselves to Him.
The tassels represent the 613 commandments of the Torah.
Again, the most important part of the tallit is the tzitzits, as they make the tallit a holy garment.
Can women wear the tallit?
Men traditionally wear the tallit, but women can also wear the tallit.
However, let’s look at a quote from the Chabad:
Both women and men are Biblically forbidden to wear clothing normally associated with the other gender. For example, men may not wear skirts. Since a tallit is traditionally a male garment, for a woman to wear one would constitute a violation of this statute.Chabad.org
The article goes on to say that Rabbi Moses Feinstein suggested that women wear a more feminine tallit.
I have personally heard of and seen women purchase more feminine colored tallit.
Bible stories about the power of the prayer shawl
Let’s review four key bible stories!
1. David cuts the corner of Saul’s Robe
(Reference 1 Samuel 24:4)
Here, we see an account of how David had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe while he was sleeping. Upon realizing what he had done, David immediately repented and explained to Saul that he would never have harmed him intentionally because Saul was the Lord’s anointed.
This story is significant for a few reasons.
- Firstly, it shows us David’s character; even though he had the opportunity to kill Saul while he was asleep and unarmed, David chose not to because he knew it would be wrong.
- Secondly, this story highlights the importance of the tzitzit – or the fringe on the corners of a prayer shawl – which is a reminder for the Israelites to follow God’s commandments.
- Finally, this story foreshadows David becoming the next king of Israel after Saul (this is because Saul’s authority or “tzitzit” was cut off).
2. Elijah’s prayer shawl
It is believed that the mantle – or outer garment – that Elijah wore when he was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind was actually a prayer shawl.
Let’s review a sermon I found via Sermon Central:
Elisha had asked for a double-portion of Elijah’s spiritual power and Elijah had given him his prayer shawl. He was reminding his student just where his spiritual power came from – from the God whose name is found written in its tassels.Pastor Amy Bickel via Sermon Central
There is a lot of revelation and mystery here, but I would say that the story highlights the importance and symbolism of the prayer shawl in general.
3. Woman with an issue of blood
(Reference: Luke 8:43-48)
Here we see an account of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, touching the hem of Jesus’ garment (tzitzit). Upon doing so, she was immediately healed.
This story is significant for a few reasons.
- Firstly, it shows us the power that was imparted through the tallit. The bible says that the woman was healed as soon as she touched the hem of his garment. This shows us that the tallit was a representation of Jesus’ authority and power.
- Secondly, it highlights the importance of the tzitzit – or the fringe on the corners of a prayer shawl.
- Thirdly, this story also shows us how Jesus fulfilled the law. Under Jewish law, a woman who had an issue of blood was considered unclean. This means that she wasn’t not allowed to touch anything or anyone considered clean. However, Jesus was not only willing to be touched by this woman, but he also healed her. This shows us that Jesus is above the law.
- Finally, this story reminds us that we should never give up hope, no matter how dire our circumstances may seem.
4. Healing of Jairus daughter
(Reference: Mark 5:41)
There are additional scholars who have some deep revelation in regards to this subject, I hope to add it to this post once I confirm them.
For now, know that Jesus said, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).
By healing her, Jesus showed He was the ultimate authority and power.
What is a New Covenant Messianic Tallit?
A New Covenant Christian Prayer Shawl or New Covenant Messianic Tallit is a prayer shawl worn by charismatics, Messianic Jews, or Pentecostals. In short, people simply call it a tallit.
Christian prayer shawls are a way to help us focus on prayer. There is no religious requirement or legalism associated with them; they are merely tools to help us remember God’s presence and focus our attention on Him. When we serve, God looks at our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Therefore, we need to ensure we seek him in sincerity with all our hearts. (See Jeremiah 29:13)
Many people wear this prayer shawl for prayer, worship, fasting, and meditation.
5 benefits of Christian prayer shawls
If you are looking for ways to enhance your prayer life, consider using a Christian Prayer Shawl. These shawls can provide various benefits that can help you grow closer to God. Give it a try and see how it can help you in your own prayer life.
1. Help you focus on prayer
When you sit down to pray, wrapping yourself in a shawl can help you clear your mind and focus on your conversation with God. It can be easy to get distracted when praying, but the physical act of wrapping yourself in a shawl can help to minimize those distractions.
2. Serve as a reminder of God’s presence
It can be easy to forget that God is always with us in our busy lives. However, when you wrap yourself in a shawl during prayer, it can serve as a physical reminder of His presence. This can help you feel more connected to God during your prayer time.
3. Provide a sense of peace and calm
When you are feeling anxious or stressed, the physical act of wrapping yourself in a shawl can help to ease those feelings. Prayer can be a great way to work through tough emotions, and the peace that a Christian Prayer Shawl can provide can be an invaluable tool in those moments.
4. Physical representation of your prayers
When you wrap the shawl around you during prayer, you can visualize your prayers going up to God. This can be a powerful way to connect with God and ensure your prayers are heard.
5. A tool to share your faith with others
If you know someone who is struggling in their faith, giving them a Christian Prayer Shawl can be a great way to show your support. It can also be a powerful witnessing tool, as it can start a conversation about faith and prayer.
No matter the reason someone chooses to wear a New Covenant Christian Tallit Prayer Shawl, it is a personal decision. If you feel called to wear one, then do so. If you don’t feel called to wear one, then don’t. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to wear a tallit.
Ideas on how to pray with a prayer shawl (for Christians)
Now that you know a little bit more about the tallit, you may be wondering about etiquette.
From all my research, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t wear a tallit if you are not comfortable doing so. It is perfectly acceptable not to wear one, and no one will think any less of you.
- If you choose to wear a tallit, you can put it on before prayers.
- Please treat it with respect and honor, and don’t leave it lying on the floor.
- Finally, be respectful of other people’s space when wearing a tallit – don’t let the tzitzit hang down too low or swing around too much.
Following these simple guidelines, wearing a tallit can be a rewarding and meaningful experience.
Is it necessary to use a prayer shawl?
As Christians, we are no longer bound by the law. We are living under grace. This means that the rules and regulations that were given to Moses no longer apply to us. We don’t have to wear a tallit during prayer because Jesus fulfilled the law. He is our righteousness, and we are now living under His grace. “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God” (Romans 10:4 NLT)
However, many people find the practice spiritually uplifting and choose to wear one during prayer or other religious ceremonies. Others find that prayer shawls are truly a beautiful and meaningful way to connect with God. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use a prayer shawl is a personal one. What is important is to keep God at the center of your life.
Modern-day knitted prayer shawls (non-tallit related shawls)
These days, prayer shawls come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. And they’re not just for the sick. They can be for anyone who needs comfort and support, including those who knit and crochet them. In fact, the people who knit them usually pray over the prayer shawls and find significant meaning and purpose in knitting them.
Modern prayer shawls can be made of any type of yarn, from the finest wool to the coarsest acrylic, and they can be any size, from a small scarf to a large blanket. The only requirement is that they be made with love and prayer.
Prayer shawls can be used in many ways: as a lap blanket, wrapped around the shoulders, or even worn as a scarf. They can be used during prayer, meditation, or any time you need comfort.
Prayer shawls are not just for the religious among us. Anyone can benefit from the comfort and support of a prayer shawl. Whether you knit them or receive them, prayer shawls are a tangible way to experience the power of prayer.
Picking or knitting prayer shawls are a very personal and intimate experience. Often, people pick ones that reflect their personality or are based on colors that may be a blessing for someone who is going through a difficult time. The shawl ministry lists suggested colors for people to keep in mind if they would like to knit prayer shawls.
I’m currently on a mission to complete a lap blanket that I started to knit in my knitting club. I kind of just lost track of time. If you love to knit, pray for me 😂 and read my post titled, “I found God in the knitting club.”
And that’s it, folks, all about the power of the prayer shawl.
As I close, I want to highlight three points:
- First, we see that the tallit is a very important symbol of faith. It has been used by many people in the bible, including Elijah, David, and Jesus.
- Second, we see that the tallit has a lot of significance. It is not just a piece of cloth but a symbol of prayer and healing.
- Third, we see that the tallit can be applied in our lives in a number of ways. We can use it as a reminder to pray for others or as a physical representation of our faith. Whatever way we choose to apply it, the tallit is a powerful symbol that can help us grow in our faith.
Here is a YouTube video where I show you my prayer shawl!