Praying the Names of God
by Ann Spangler
The following are excerpts from Ann Spangler’s Chapter on the Name of God: El Roi (EL raw-EE). The God Who Sees Me.
The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”
The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”
That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.
An Egyptian slave, Hagar encountered God in the desert and addressed him as El Roi “the God who sees me.” Notably, this is the only occurence of El Roi in the Bible.
Hagar’s God is the One who numbers the hairs on our heads and who knows our circumstances, past, present, and future. When you pray to El Roi, you are praying to the one who knows everything about you.
From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all humankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all,who considers everything they do.
Even the most watchful parent must sleep. But scripture makes it clear God never slumbers, never looks one way while we head off in another, never misses a millisecond of what is happening on earth.
El Roi, a God so watchful that He is said to note even when the smallest sparrow falls to the ground. This is the God who watches over you today, whether or not you recognize his presence. Aware that you may sometimes find yourself in desolate places, he is always near, helping you find a path through troubles, working out his plans for your future.
Artwork: one of my new favorite artists – Deborah DeWit Marchant