God be the love to search and keep me
God be the prayer to move my voice
God be the strength to now uphold me
O Christ, surround me
O Christ, surround me

from “O Christ, Surround Me” by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan (2004)

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As she kept praying before the Lord, Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah was praying in her heart; her lips were moving, but her voice was silent, so Eli thought she was drunk.

“How long will you act like a drunk? Sober up!” Eli told her.

“No sir!” Hannah replied. “I’m just a very sad woman. I haven’t had any wine or beer but have been pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think your servant is some good-for-nothing woman. This whole time I’ve been praying out of my great worry and trouble!”

Eli responded, “Then go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you’ve asked from him.”

“Please think well of me, your servant,” Hannah said. Then the woman went on her way, ate some food, and wasn’t sad any longer.

1 Samuel 1:12-18

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Hannah had been going to the temple for years, praying and praying for a son. This time she was praying silently, but Eli made assumptions. Hannah stuck up for herself, and once she had explained herself to Eli, he blessed her. Even though Hannah was worried as she prayed, her persistence is a powerful picture of faithfulness.

Faith isn’t always rational. The world today can feel like a harsh place, and that makes it difficult to trust that hope and love will win in the end. Even when we do have hope and trust in God, we can be skeptical of people who pray differently than we do. Or we worry that someone will mistake our faith for naivety. We can learn from Hannah and Eli. When we work to better understand our neighbors, our own understanding of God might just deepen too.

Allison Wehrung

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God, give me the courage to leave room for growth in my faith in you. Help me embrace a kind curiosity in working toward more understanding communities. Amen.

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With a hopeful heart and Spirit-filled steps,

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Allison Wehrung

Rev. Allison Wehrung lives in Oxford, MS, where she’s the campus minister at UKirk Ole Miss. Her favorite things include local coffee shops, making art, and the messy work of being a human who follows Jesus. You can follow her visual wonderings at

I Come to the Garden Alone

Jim McConnell

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