A prayer for the twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

God.

Why is the story of injustice toward Hagar in the Bible?
That makes it biblical, at least for some people.
That gives an excuse.

Sarah despised Hagar and made her life miserable in every possible way.
Sarah wanted Abraham to banish Hagar and Ishmael.
And, God, you told Abraham to do it.

You also said that you would take care of them.
But still, you gave him permission to send them to the wilderness,
for Abraham to condone Sarah’s hatred.

It’s a really bad story for father’s day, God.

Except.

You said you would care for Hagar and Ishmael and you did. Before he was born, after they were sent away. You kept your promise to keep him safe. You said, in essence, “Release him to me.” And, I suppose, he was safer away from Sarah.

God, trusting you is hard.
When we are poor and needy, when the people we love are poor and needy, trusting you is hard.

We want to fix things.
We want to change things.
We want to solve our problems.
We want to blame Hagar when we caused the problem ourselves.

We don’t know what to do.
So we acknowledge that we are poor and needy.
We acknowledge that you are God.

We surrender our efforts to fix things ourselves.
We ask you to help us be less biblical like Abraham and Sarah
and more biblical like Hagar.

Who heard what you said
and saw what you showed
and did what you said.

And help us care about the Hagars we know,
the victims of our disobedience.

Through Christ our Lord,

Amen.

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Reflecting on Psalm 86, Genesis 21, and Romans 6.

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Today, my book of a collection of 52 of these prayers is officially published. “God. We Need You.” A Year of Prayer in a Hospital Chapel is available in paperback and Kindle ebook. I’ll say more about it this week, but I wanted to let you know.

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