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"Christ Be All around Me" was co-written with Jack and Leeland Mooring and is an emotional description of our calling as Christians: "Above and below me, before and behind me, in every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me." I'm drawn to the song's sincerity, gorgeous musical bed and the profound songwriting. The song also appears on Christ Be All Around Me by Leeland, the Canyon Worship EP and Michael W. Smith's album Sovereign. I had the chance to speak in-person with David and Leslie before their concert in Pennsylvania about "Christ Be All Around Me."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

Leslie: It was our first time writing with Jack and Leeland. They are such good guys, and they love the church. Anytime we get together with other writers, we spend a lot of time getting to know each other. We talked a lot about the Church, and Leeland shared this chorus with us that he had for "Christ be all around me." He was sitting in McCreary's in Franklin, Tennessee, and the prayer of Saint Patrick is written all around the top of the walls of the restaurant: "Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."

Leeland thought that would make an awesome song. So he wrote "Above and below me, before and behind me, in every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me." He started singing it, and we started going nuts.

David: Leslie said "we have a couple of ideas." Leeland said he had some other ideas for songs, and we said "nope, let's work on that one."

Leslie: Before he even finished singing, I had pulled up the prayer on my computer and already had ideas for verses for the song. It came pretty easily. Everything in the song is adapted from that prayer. I think it was written in about an hour. There are a few of those times we finish a song and we say "let's sing through it." Then we sang through it again, and we were inspired by Jack and Leeland. They are worshippers. It was a really cool experience for us.

David: We were in tears by the end. The prayer is so rich, and the words came so easily.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Psalm 121:7-8 (NKJV): The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, and even forevermore.

Ephesians 6:14-20 (NKJV): Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

What is the takeaway message?

David: We did a writing session with Michael W. Smith, and we showed him this song. We told him that this was a song we wrote with his son-in-law Jack Mooring. We played it for him and he kind of liked it, and then we moved on.

We ended up doing a live recording with Leeland at Michael's barn, and he watched us singing the song. I watched Michael's DVD about the album and he talked about this. He looked over at Eddie DeGarmo and said "that's a really good song," and Eddie said "you should do that song too." Michael ended up also recording the song. For us, it was kind of crazy to see that Michael W. Smith recorded a song that we were part of writing.

Leslie: It was powerful, and then to watch his live recording with Leeland. Stu G said that when he sings this song live, people immediately start singing along like they've known it. That's how we felt when the song was birthed. For some songs, the birthing process is really hard and strenuous and difficult, and you love it all the more because of the pain it took in finishing it. There are other songs where you feel like you can't take any credit because the Lord has given it to you. We feel like with this song, the Lord said "here's a song for the Church. Be good stewards."

Lyrics:
As I rise, strength of God
Go before, lift me up
As I wake, eyes of God
Look upon, be my sight

As I wait, heart of God
Satisfy and sustain
As I hear, voice of God
Lead me on, be my guide
Be my guide

Above and below me
Before and behind me
In every eye that sees me
Christ be all around me

As I go, Hand of God
My defense, by my side
And as I rest, breath of God
Fall upon, bring me peace
Bring me peace

Above and below me
Before and behind me
In every eye that sees me
Christ be all around me

Oh oh, oh oh
Christ be all around me
Oh oh, oh oh
Christ be all around me

Your life, Your death
Your blood was shed
For every moment
Every moment

Above and below me
Before and behind me
In every eye that sees me
Christ be all around me

Oh oh, oh oh
Christ be all around me
Oh oh, oh oh
Christ be all around me

I love the pacing of this song, as like the prayer of Saint Patrick, the contemplative words lead to the beautiful expression of faith of Christ being all around us. The bridge "Your life, Your death, Your blood was shed, for every moment, every moment" is the part of the song that I personally find myself excitedly and humbly singing at the top of my lungs as a vertical expression of faith to my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

This song is a great example of Church unity. It was written based on a prayer that any follower of Jesus can read and say yes and amen to every word. It was a collaboration of worship leaders each breathing their breath into what God was telling them from this prayer, and in turn sharing these profound and true words with each of us to share with others. Like David's prayers and songs captured in the Psalms, when you allow those words to sink in they change how you think. When I hear the first note of this song, I stick with it every time and wait in hopeful anticipation to belt out that bridge to the Lord.

We sing this song at my church, and it in an incredible blessing to see and hear my young daughters sing these words to Jesus. This song includes Truth from God's Word that I want to have in my family's minds, hearts and souls, to know that no matter what we are going through or facing in our lives, we can always know that "above and below me, before and behind me, in every eye that sees me, Christ be all around me." The song also embodies the concept found in Saint Francis of Assisi's quote "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." Amen to that!

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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