In most instances, when an athlete reaches the number 500 it’s a cause for celebration. If a business is fortunate to prosper enough, it could find itself on a list of 500 thus creating fortunes.It’s no different in the eyes of a group of women quilters known as Prayers and Squares. The group, numbering between 25 and 30, recently reached their goal of 500 quilts completed. Their treasure, however, comes not in the form of cash but in a “connection” that is made with each recipient.“The concept of Prayers and Squares is to make a quilt but instead of quilting it, a heavy thread is used to take stitches through the quilt layers and the ends are left free to tie a square knot,” quilter Rhonda Deaver said. “After each knot is tied by a member of our congregation and silently praying the individual's specific prayer request, the quilt is then given to the individual in need of prayer.”She said prayers are offered by the quilter as the quilt is being prepared, prayers are said by members of the congregation when tying a knot, and prayers are offered when presenting the completed quilt to the individual receiving the prayer quilt.The Prayers and Squares group have three commandments they follow:• It's not about the quilt, it's about the prayers.• We never accept monetary gifts for a quilt. Prayer and love cannot be bought.• Surprises are not appropriate. Each recipient must be asked before a quilt can be given to them.“When we look back at the first quilt - it was real important to us because it was for John Allen and he was such a wonderful guy,” Deaver added. “It’s been really neat to look back and see the people that we have given quilts to. It’s important to let people know they are being prayed for.”Carolyn Glenn and Sharon Young began the ministry seven year ago in an attempt to start an outreach ministry at North Side. “The ministry started to snowball,” Glenn said. “The dedication of these quilting ladies is what makes the ministry so great. I just wish we had the time and space to give testimonies of recipients of these 500-plus quilts.”She said the responses is what get the group excited about making that "next quilt."“For the past two years, we have extended our ministry to hand quilting lap quilts for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to give to children who have been removed from their home for one reason or another,” Glenn added. “The love of piecing and quilting has become a passion for many of us. We are quilting for the Lord.”Pastor Van Houser said North Side is a very special congregation of people who desire to make a difference in the lives of others and their community. “The Prayers and Squares Ministry is a beautiful example of the compassion and concern for others that permeates this fellowship,” Houser said. “ I only wish that others could observe the labor of love that goes into the making of each unique prayer quilt. It is just as beautiful to watch as members stop to tie a knot and pray for each person and their need.”He said prayer is the most underrated power we possess in this world. “It is not just love that is shared, it is the request made to God in faith for healing, comfort, guidance and peace that makes a difference,” he said. “We have seen many blessed by these prayers. I’m very proud of the faithfulness of these ladies to meet the growing requests for these precious quilts.”Request forms for “Prayer Quilts” can be found in the church office, the foyer and other locations throughout the church. An individual who is in need of prayer, can get a request form, complete it and return it to the church office. The group tries to get a quilt tied within a couple of weeks after receiving the request form.• Prayers and Squares is a unique ministry of North Side Baptist Church. It’s an interfaith outreach ministry that began in California in 1992 that found its way to North Side where they began a chapter in 2007. Individuals who need prayer do not have to be a member of North Side Baptist Church. They have mailed prayer quilts all over the United States as well as some foreign countries.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102 Twitter: @Lancewinter