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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The bows of mighty warriors are shattered, but those who were stumbling now dress themselves in power! Those who were filled full now sell themselves for bread, but the ones who were starving are now fat from food! The woman who was barren has birthed seven children, but the mother with many sons has lost them all! The Lord! He brings death, gives life, takes down to the grave, and raises up! The Lord! He makes poor, gives wealth, brings low, but also lifts up high! God raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy from the garbage pile. God sits them with officials, gives them the seat of honor! The pillars of the earth belong to the Lord; he set the world on top of them! God guards the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked die in darkness because no one succeeds by strength alone.

1 Samuel 2:4-9

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This continuation of Hannah’s prayer praises God for taking care of the faithful. And, as usual, God has a habit of turning things upside down. Here formerly-powerful warriors lose their weapons, and people who used to be hungry or struggling for other resources are lifted up to places of honor. When it comes to wealth, Hannah’s prayer teaches us that hope and faith are the treasures, not the status symbols that society tells us we need to be successful.

Even if God doesn’t answer every prayer in the way we expect, we are promised nourishment for our hungry hearts and rest for our weary spirits. Even in our imperfections, having faith in God means we will never be alone. And that indeed is worthy of praise.

Allison Wehrung

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God of new life, you promise to care for those who have faith in you. May your love fuel that faith today and always. 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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