During the season of Lent, I read a blog post about a mom’s idea to create prayer flags with her family. I was instantly enthralled with the concept–the practice of “active” prayer (praying while I sewed); the opportunity to create something with my children; the craft of producing a little piece of handmade art to grace our home.
I also embraced the idea that our own bunting of prayer flags would bless those who entered our house–that visitors would see our little banners proclaiming “Mercy” and “Peace” and be reminded of God’s good gifts.
Yet another reason I loved this project is that it required mostly materials I already had at home: fabric scraps, buttons, notions, etc. I had to purchase only a few items–a small embroidery hoop, some jute twine (onto which I sewed the prayer flags to make a bunting), embroidery floss, and some thread. I selected a spool called Miracle Blue; the name just spoke to me.
I relished the chance to use up (for a special reason) bits of lace and ribbon I’d saved in a craft bag for years. These prayer flags allowed me to give a purpose to those little pieces I’d been hanging onto.
After I made one set for our own home, and hung it right inside our front door, I created one with my boys–they did most of the work, with my offering advice–for my newborn niece. Then I sewed another set for my best friend’s birthday.
These prayer flag buntings remind me so much of the nature of prayer. Like these banners, prayer sometimes consists of scraps of words and thoughts and concerns, pieced together with crooked stitches. Prayer sometimes is made up of odds and ends, bits and pieces of our hurts, our worries, our deepest longings.
Sometimes as I lie down to sleep at night, or plunge my hands into hot water to wash dishes in the afternoon, I think of friends and want to pray for them. If I don’t know what to pray, I think of the words on our prayer flags. And I pray those words–for God’s grace to be underscored in her life; for His joy to fill her heart; for His truth to bind her heart to His.
These prayer flags, with their mismatched buttons and scrounged-from-the-junk-drawer doo dads, also illustrate the nature of God’s work in the lives of His children: He takes the scraps of our lives, seemingly useless on their own, and designs something lovely out of them.
And His banner over us is love.