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Mission Devotional - September 7, 2016

Opening Prayer: O Lord, may your hand be upon us, and with us, this day. In every way possible. Amen.

Scripture: Luke 1:57-66

Journal: Where or how have you experienced the hand of the Lord lately? Where or how do you desire to experience it?

Reflection: "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him. What a sweet image. God's hand was with, or upon, this little child, John. There are some things you just can't describe any other way. It was a qualitative thing. Something about him made people realize that God was up to something, that God was present in some special way. I wonder what it was.

I don't know about you, but I long for that very same awareness. I long to sense and to see God's hand upon and within my life, as well as the lives of those around me. And not only do I long to see God's hand, but I need to see God's hand. It is this awareness of God within and among us that gives life and joy to my soul. For God's hand does so many things. It is his caring hand that touches me when I am lonely or in need. It is his comforting hand that heals my wounds and soothes my pain. It is his protecting hand that shields me from my enemies, both within and without. It is his nurturing hand that gives my heart and my soul all that I need to grow and mature. It is his loving hand that runs his fingers through my hair as he reminds me of who I am to him. It is his guiding hand that directs my steps and keeps me from getting lost along the way. It is his reassuring hand that calms my fears and overcomes my anxieties. The list goes on and on.

One thing is for sure, God's hand gives us visible evidence that we are not alone. He is always with us. O Lord, place your hand upon us this day, whatever that may mean. You know our hearts like no other and you know exactly what we need. We are not alone. Thanks be to God!

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Bruce and Laura Harris have been running SEND International's camp and conference ministry in the mountains of western Tokyo for many years. Pray today with Bruce and Laura for SEND International Japan as plans proceed toward new church plants in the least-reached areas of Tokyo and its surrounding communities. The Harrises are returning to church planting and ask that you pray for this transition and for their replacements in leading the camps. Pray also today that the seeds of the gospel planted in this summer's campers will be spread by the children into their families and among their friends.

Philadelphians Prison Ministry has been ministering in Tennessee prisons for 27+ years. Its purpose is to change the thinking of a prisoner through the power and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is done through strong Bible teaching with praise and worship services, weekly in-prison group meetings, the HELP program, and a transitional housing program, the HELP House, in Knoxville. Christian ministry counseling is given to inmates' loved ones, the "silent victims" of crime. Pray today for the volunteers and the inmates that are being reached by this ministry.

Closing Prayer: O Lord, place your hand upon us this day, whatever that may mean. You know our hearts like no other and you know exactly what we need. We are not alone. Hallelujah!