Message from the Elders – April 1, 2020

Dear Church family,
The eldership wants to take this opportunity to relay some information and let you know that you’re all in our prayers and we are looking forward to the day when we can meet again as a congregation!
Thankfully we still haven’t heard of anyone in our congregation that has contracted the virus and we’re optimistic that the steps we are taking as a church have been helpful and will ultimately allow us to meet again as a congregation sooner. With that said we’ve decided that the building will remain closed until at least the end of April. We’re continuing to monitor the situation and if that plan changes we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
We are pleased to hear that the Church is continuing to meet as individual families every first day of the week to pray, sing songs of praise to the Lord, partake of the Lord’s Supper, study God’s word and joyfully give of our means as faithful members of the Lord’s body always have. It’s encouraging to hear of the joyful worship being offered to the Lord from our church family! We’re also pleased to tell you that Matt will be bringing us another lesson at 10:00 am this Sunday morning and again at 5:00 pm Wednesday evening. These lessons will be delivered via our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/c/woodstockchurchofchrist – stream sermons).
Even though we are not able to assemble to worship, we continue to have ongoing expenses to satisfy. So please remember to mail your offerings to the church building. The building address is Woodstock Church of Christ, 219 Rope Mill Rd., Woodstock, GA 30188. The eldership is reviewing several online offering options for the congregation to use in the future but would like to remind you that if you have online bill pay you can use that tool to make your weekly offering as well.

We’re blessed as a congregation to have such a capable preacher. As I’m sure you recall from the lesson last Sunday, Matt encouraged us to incorporate bible study and meditation into our daily prayer lives. In an effort to help the congregation implement those suggestions we’ve included a “prayer template” with this letter. We hope this template serves as a useful tool to improve your daily prayer life and helps you to recognize the protective loving hand of our Lord as He works in your life.

In Christian Love,
The Eldership

Note: This “prayer template” is meant to help the congregation incorporate bible study and meditation into their own prayer life. Text highlighted in blue are reminders to personalize this template to suit your spiritual and personal life. It’s written more from the point of view of the head of a household praying for his family but it can be easily modified for everyone. It’s a good idea to record this prayer in a word document so it’s easy to customize daily as your prayer needs change.
PRAYER TEMPLATE
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Protect Our Joy
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my family. You are the giver of all good and perfect blessings, and I’m amazed how You show Your love through them. Please help me to appreciate that amazing gift (James 1:17). Please don’t let my behavior and flaws reflect poorly on your perfect love for my family. Please don’t let me ever miss an opportunity to show them grace, love, mercy, and kindness.
• [Jas 1:17 KJV] 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
o Please don’t let me miss out on the joy of those blessings Lord.
Each day, circumstances, frustrations, anxiety, sickness, panic, and worry can take the joy from me and my family. Please keep us from letting these challenges (or our own sin) turn our focus from You, the author of our faith. Give us the joy that Jesus had as He accomplished Your will on earth. Please give us the spiritual wisdom to think of each struggle as a reason to find hope in You, and each sinful misstep a reason to appreciate your mercy and a motivation to do better. (Hebrews 12:2–3; >James 1:2–3).
 [Talk to the Lord about the situations and weaknesses in your life that are a threat to your Joy and ask the lord to help you with dealing with them.]
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• [Mat 5:39 KJV] 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
• [Mat 6:25-27 KJV] 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Lord please help me to see your protective and providing hand in my life, please protect my soul, faith, and joy.
Please bless me and my family spiritually and give us the spiritual growth that will allow us to be the Christians that you want us to be.
Please remind me and the rest of my family to consider you first, in all of our plans.
• [Heb 12:2-3 KJV] 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
• [Jas 1:2-3 KJV] 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
 [Tell the Lord about your plans and think about the effect those plans may have on your walk with the Lord.]
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Please help us endure any temptations that are set before us. Please help me and the rest of my family look to Jesus as our example.
When we are tired, hurt, or weak and about to give into a temptation, Lord, renew our strength. Surround us with friends who love You and will bear our burdens. And help us to be good friends too. Give us reason to feel refreshed by their encouragement (Isaiah 40:31; Galatians 6:2; Philemon 1:7).
Lord please give me the wisdom and ability to help my friends when they are hurting.
 [Thank the Lord for your brothers and sisters in Christ, be specific.]
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• [Isa 40:31 KJV] 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.
• [Gal 6:2 KJV] 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
• [Phm 1:7 KJV] 7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
I pray that we all know and internalize the fact that the joy of the Lord is the source of our strength and happiness. Protect us from growing tired of doing what You’ve called us to do each day (Nehemiah 8:10; Galatians 6:9), and not doing the things that You’ve told us not to do.
Lord please help us focus on the “Joy that comes from the Lord” fill our hearts with the joy and peace that comes from You Lord – not the fear that comes from the anxiety and problems of this world.
• [Neh 8:10 KJV] 10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for [this] day [is] holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
• [Gal 6:9 KJV] 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Work
Lord please bless me with a good Christian reputation at work. Help me to show your love, mercy, and righteousness in the way I take care of my business and interact with my coworkers. Lord help me to be friendly to my coworkers and let them see your love and mercy in my interactions with them, not my own weakness. Please create in me a new heart with no shade of sinfulness.
Please keep me in a place at work where I can provide for my family – but not be distracted from You, neglect my family, or get too wrapped up in temporary things.
 [Talk to the Lord about your work.]
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Give Us a Growing Need for You
Father, You supply all our needs according to Your riches in Christ. I’m amazed that you care about us enough to meet our daily concerns and to notice every detail of our lives. Even the hairs of our heads are numbered because You take care of Your children (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 7:11, 10:30).
• [Phl 4:19 KJV] 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
• [Mat 7:11 KJV] 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
• [Mat 10:30 KJV] 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
My families help comes from You Lord! If they depend on me, I know I’ll disappoint them. But You never fail, and You make my family like a garden that always has enough water. You’re always faithful, always enough. Help us to know that You are all we need in life. (Psalm 121:2; Lamentations 3:22; Isaiah 58:11; >John 14:8–9).
• [Psa 121:2 KJV] 2 My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
• [Lam 3:21 KJV] 21 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
• [Isa 58:11 KJV] 11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
• [Jhn 14:8-9 KJV] 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?
When we are tempted to look for comfort and hope in anything else, I pray that we will instead realize how the power of Your Holy Spirit allows us to overflow with hope and peace. Nothing on this earth compares to the greatness of knowing You! (Romans 15:13; Philippians 3:8).
• [Rom 15:13 KJV] 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
• [Phl 3:8 KJV] 8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Lord – I pray that I will someday be able to say that I count all things that I have given up for You as dung.
Spreading of the Gospel
Lord please give me the wisdom to know how to best serve You and Your Church. Please let me serve the congregation the way you want me to and never lead anyone away from You Lord.
Please give me wisdom in every aspect of my life, especially in spiritual matters.
Please help me to see things as they are and recognize how my communications will and do effect people. Please don’t let me hurt anyone that I’m trying to help, because of my ignorance about their situation or mental / emotional disposition.

Salvation
Please forgive us all of our sins. Please restore those of my family and friends who have fallen away. Please strengthen all of our faith. Please don’t let our struggles in life harm our faith or the faith of others. Please use our struggles and all adversity that we face to strengthen our faith.
 [Pray for those in your family and circle of friends that have strayed from the Lord.]
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Please allow all of my family and friends to be converted to Christ.
Please bless the church at Woodstock and the rest of the world.
Please help me to share the gospel with someone this week and let them receive the message, know the way, and become one of Your children. Help me know when & how to speak up and when and how to be quiet.
 [Talk to the Lord about those you’ve shared the gospel with lately. Pray that that seed will “take root’.]

Marriage
Lord thank you for my marriage.
 [Pray about your marriage, be specific.]
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Please bless those of my family who are not married yet – I pray that they only marry faithful Christians that will lead them closer to you and aid in their service to You.
Please let me enjoy the wife of my youth and never stray from her in any way. Help me to always see the sweet young lady that I married when I look at her, and treat her the way I’d want someone to treat one of my daughters or my mother.

Keep us safe
Lord thank you for protecting our joy, giving us a growing need for you, and for forgiving our sins. Please continue to take care of us all – physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I love you Lord – Thank you for taking special care of me and my family. I know you know better than I do when it comes to blessing your Children so as always I ask these things only if they are according to your will.

Country
Lord, please bless America. Please be with the leaders of our Country and help us as citizen’s vote in a way that is pleasing to You! Please protect us from our enemies foreign and domestic.
Thank you for allowing us to live in a Country where we have the freedom to worship You without government interference.
Please be with the American Soldier’s throughout the world and bring them home safely.
Please bless America’s economy.
Special Prayer Request
 [Pray for individuals, situations, and every aspect of your life.
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Prayer record: (Each time you pray note the date below. Pay attention to how many of your prayers have been answered.)
2020_01_01; 2020_02_06; 2020_01_02; 2020_01_07; 2020_01_09; 2020_01_11; 2020_01_17; 2020_01_19;; 2020_01_20; 2020_01_21; 2020_01_22; 2020_01_23; 2020_01_24; 2020_01_27; 2020_01-30; 2020_02_02;; 2020_02_03; 2020_02_05; 2020_02_09; 2020_02_19; 2020_02_20; 2020_02_22; 2020_02_23; 2020_02_25; 2020_02_27; 2020_02_28; 2020_02_29; 2020_03_01; 2020_03_02; 2020_03_03; 2020_03_06; 2020_03_09; 2020_03_10; 2020_03_12; 2020_03_13; 2020_03_14; 2020_03_15; 2020_03_16

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