Dear Praying Friend

This is the text of a prayer letter that went out to about a hundred people on Tuesday September 5, 2006.

Joel Gillespie here. Yes, this letter goes out to many praying friends, here and yon, regarding Covenant Fellowship and us Gillespies. It is, mostly, a prayer update, and a hello. I hope you’ll read it. I give myself thirty minutes to type, that’s all. 

I want to ask you to pray for me, and for our church. No, nothing terrible is happening. I just haven’t gotten out a prayer report in a long time and I feel a need to. As a church we are in a basically good period, but we have had many changes. We are in what one might call our second generation session, and we as a session are just getting our legs. We also have a new Operations Team that is working really well. I am actually really earnest and pleased about entering into what I consider as phase two of our corporate life together.  

But I also have a great sense of need or God’s guiding hand, and thus of asking for prayer of my brothers and sisters. We have a pretty good year financially, and some new people have come. But some people have or are moving away from
Greensboro, and a couple of folks have left for different kinds of churches. I sense a need for reinforcements. I fear weariness. I ask you to pray that God would, in His mercy, bring to us several new families in the months ahead that could join with us and stand shoulder to shoulder as we minister the gospel in this city, and beyond.. We only want those who would be blessed by being with us, and who would bless us by being with us, and only God knows that. So ask Him, would you? 

This coming Sunday I am starting a new sermon series on the book of Hebrews. I’ve been wanting to do Hebrews for a long time, and now seems to be the right time. Pray that I would have the wisdom to know best to exposit and to apply it. It is a powerful and difficult book. I deeply desire that God would speak to us through it. I know that I need wisdom beyond what I have. 

We are in the midst of putting together small groups for this coming year. Pray that God would enable that to fall together in the next couple of weeks. It’s actually a pretty hard process, and again, I just sense great need for His work. 

We have been richly blessed with a variety of musical talent as we continue to grow in our blended worship approach. One of our key musicians is moving away to another city. We pray for God’s provision of reinforcement in that area as well.  

This week I opened up a second blog. I hope, starting tomorrow the 6th, to put in about an hour a day writing. I have two blogs, one that will deal with more local issues and concerns and which is perhaps more personal (, and another which will be more focused in terms of explicit Christian ministry and material ( I hope that I will be able to develop each in a way that brings glory to God and offers Christian presence both locally and beyond. I’ve more or less given up on my old MSN Spaces blog site, as Microsoft can’t seem to decide what it wants to do. 

God seems to have opened a door for me in the community to write. There are few other pastors blogging that I know of, and few people defending the historic orthodox Christian faith up here, or at least in a kind and good humored manner. It just seems a calling that God has placed in my lap. I don’t always fulfill it perfectly, but I want to try. I don’t feel free to abandon it. Pray that I would be a good and faithful servant. 

I also by the way have a MySpace site. I would love to turn that into an avenue for reaching young people, but I don’t have a clue how. If anybody has any suggestions… 

I want to be faithful each day reading and praying through the Word using the St. James Daily Devotional Guide. I need that very much. It’s so easy to be distracted by all the “noise” of life, even pastoral life. 

Everybody – my doctor, Susan my wife, my kids, my friends – all tell me I really really really need to start getting more exercise. Pray that I could figure how to work that into my life each day. I don’t have the money (or the time really) to “join a club.” And that’s not my bailiwick anyway. So it will need to be the old fashioned way. And, well, you know, there is always something else that needs doing… 

Migraines have been a growing problem over the last five years, as has sleep, and I’d love to see those two problems diminish. Your prayers would be welcome. 

Last week my dear Aunt Carolyn passed away. My daughter Laurel and I got to visit her this summer, for which I am thankful. I ask for prayers for her family. You can see a picture of Carolyn here.  

Yes, it’s true, we have three kids this year in college – Shannon as a fifth year senior at state, Heather as a Junior at UNC Chapel Hill, and Laurel as a Freshman at Chapel Hill. Yes, It’s hard for a SC boy like me – all this Tar Heel Blue and Wolf Pack Red around…but anyway, your prayers for each of them would be greatly appreciated. I can pass along contact info if you want it. 

Susan works hard everyday home schooling Madeline, overseeing the household, and doing a whole lot of driving about. Prayers for continued safety, growing friendships, and adjustment as our daughters head off to college and beyond would be appreciated.  

And prayers for Anna, our 11th grader at Northwest would also be valued greatly as she runs hard each day in Cross Country, grows as a young Christian, and generally grows up herself. It won’t be long before she’s heading off somewhere! 

If you want to see pictures of the family, church, and some nice zinnias, go to my Flickr site, here.  

So would you pray for Covenant Fellowship, and pray for the Gillespies, and pray for me. I would be deeply grateful if you would.  

I have this sense, maybe it’s partly my personality, maybe it’s something God has put upon my heart, that there is something right out there, something “next,” good and exciting for us at Covenant Fellowship, yet right now it’s just beyond our range of hearing. I can’t plan for it. I just don’t want to miss it. 

So pray that God would enable all of us, simply, to just faithfully be the church, day to day, week to week, open to the Spirit, faithful to the Word, in communion with the risen Christ, deeply grounded in the Father’s love. Pray that he who started this work here in and through us will bring it to completeness and fruition and the wholeness of His purpose in Christ. 

So, that’s us. Write back. I’d love to hear from you. 

In Christ, 



One Response to Dear Praying Friend

  1. Keep standing up for truth in this world of endless pursuits. Keep writing for the glory of God!

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