Week Two, Day Four

The Name
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 occurrence 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.

Key Scripture
She [Hagar] 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 [the"well of the Living One who sees me"]. (Genesis 16:13-14)

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 Thursday
PRAYING THE NAME

The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all humankind. From where he sits enthroned he watches all the inhabitants of the earth— he who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds.... Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. (Psalm 33:13-15, 18-19 NRSV)

Reflect On: Psalm 33:13-22

Praise God: Because he loves to help the poor and the oppressed.

Offer Thanks: For all the ways God has protected you.

Confess: Any self-centeredness and lack of concern for the needy of this world.

Ask God: To grieve your heart with the things that grieve his.

Srey Dara is the pseudonym of a young Cambodian woman who was married at the age of seventeen to a man who lured her into the sex trade by persuading her to move to a distant province and then abandoning her at a brothel. Resisting the pressure exerted by the brothel's owners, Srey cried out in anguish, "O real God, please help!" But threats of torture and beatings finally wore down her resistance.

"Days passed into weeks, then months. One year turned into three years, and I continued to live the nightmare," she confided to a reporter from Christianity Today. "I could not go out freely. I lived like a rat afraid to leave its hole. I could go out only at night and then only to work. I kept asking myself, ‘How can I get out of here? Will I live here forever?' There was no hope of escape and I was afraid of AIDS. Sometimes I thought about saving money to buy a gun to kill my husband, but I was only given enough money to buy my breakfast. 
 
"I asked, ‘Who is the real God? Please come and take me from this hell.' After I asked who the real God is, I had peace in my heart and hope to escape."

Finally, when she had become too sick to work, a monk paid the brothel owners 10,000 Thai baht (over $200 U.S. currency) to release her. Though Srey thanked the "real God" for saving her, she felt dirty and worthless, thinking she deserved to die. And when she searched for her older sister, who had warned her against moving so far from home in the first place, Srey learned that her sister had died. Stunned by the news, Srey wandered aimlessly until she collapsed under a tree. A Christian couple found her and put her in touch with a ministry to victims of the sex trade, where she learned, as she says, "to know the real God—Jesus." As she explains, her life has taken an entirely different turn: "I understand my life has value, and I can live or do anything like other people.... May God stop every darkness perpetrated on girls and women."

To Western ears, Srey's story may sound bizarre, her problems a world away. It sounded that way to me until I read a front-page story about a Chinese immigrant who was recently murdered in a city a few miles from my home. Police believe she was lured from China with the promise of a legitimate job and then forced into prostitution.3 It seems that sex trafficking is big business just about everywhere. With enough money to cater to every kind of appetite, the United States, along with Germany and Italy, has become a top destination for young women who have been enslaved by international sex traffickers. 

Today as you pray, cry out to the God from whose eyes nothing is hidden. Ask him to reveal himself as "the real God" to the millions of women and children around the world who are being victimized by the hidden slavery of sex trafficking.

For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com.