When someone is sick or dying, family and friends sometimes struggle with how to convert their love into something tangible. Prayer shawls have become one way that churches offer a palpable hug and prayer for people in crisis.
Knitters and crocheters offer the human touch of something hand-made, and as they knit, they pray for the shawl’s recipient. 
Independence Hill Baptist in Huntersville began its prayer shawl ministry in October 2012. In the past year, the 15 to 19 women who gather weekly, have made 288 shawls and blankets that have gone to Independence Hill congregants, Hospice House, Outpatient Infusion at Novant and HYAETS urban ministry.
A card that accompanies each shawl reads, in part:  “May you be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love.”
The Independence Hill knitters gather monthly with their pastor and prayer ministry team to pray over the new shawls. Periodically, the entire congregation prays over the shawls.
Other Lake Norman churches with similar prayer shawl ministries include Davidson United Methodist, Hopewell Presbyterian, Mt. Zion United Methodist, St. Alban’s Episcopal and St. Mark Catholic.
Laurie Knight, who heads the ministry at Mt. Zion, tells of a grieving woman who had suffered a second miscarriage and was waiting for the post-miscarriage procedure in a cold, antiseptic room.
A Mt. Zion minister showed up with a prayer shawl, which comforted her greatly. Two years later, the mother gave birth to healthy twins, and she received two baby blankets, crafted by the same knitter.