The Daily Prayer
TUESDAY, February 18, 2020
Hagar the Egyptian
When Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was unable to have a child, she gave him her Egyptian slave, Hagar, as a wife. Sarah was following ancient surrogate customs, which allowed a wife to give her maid to her husband and then claim the child as her own. But after Hagar conceived a son by Abraham, Sarah turned bitter and resentful and began to treat her harshly. Hagar’s response was to run away into the wilderness, but an angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar and urged her to return and submit to her mistress. The Lord directed Hagar to call the child Ishmael (meaning “God hears”) and, as with Abraham, promised her descendants so numerous they could not be counted. Hagar called God El-roi—“the God who sees”—and was struck with awe that she had seen him.
A reading from the book of Genesis: “Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is this matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’”
Thank you, Lord, that you never abandon us to our hopelessness. There is always room at your table for those who feel forgotten, or who have been cast out. Train us in such hospitality. Amen.