Biblical Prayer Meditation for Advent Week 2
Dec. 4, 2016
Isaiah 11:1-10 Common English Bible (CEB)
Use the meditation below to pray on the Isaiah 11 text this week or imagine your own way into the text.
God of Wisdom and Understanding, Open my heart to the words of Isaiah. Help me to recognize how the vision of the prophet can live in me.
1A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots.
Picture a tree stump, long cut down. It had been a mighty tree, but the trunk was felled and cut into pieces. But wait—the roots are not dead—see a slender shoot growing, tender and green. The tree lives!
2The LORD’s spirit will rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of planning and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD. 3He will delight in fearing the LORD. He won’t judge by appearances, nor decide by hearsay. 4He will judge the needy with righteousness, and decide with equity for those who suffer in the land. He will strike the violent with the rod of his mouth; by the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. 5Righteousness will be the belt around his hips, and faithfulness the belt around his waist.
Spend some time with these verses. In what situations in your life can you be the one bringing justice? Are there times when you judge by appearance or hearsay? Do you decide with equity those who suffer in the land? Picture the spirit of the Lord resting on your shoulders. Imagine placing the belt of righteousness and faithfulness on your waist. How will you live out God’s call for justice?
6The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion will feed together, and a little child will lead them. 7The cow and the bear will graze. Their young will lie down together, and a lion will eat straw like an ox. 8A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole; toddlers will reach right over the serpent’s den. 9They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the LORD, just as the water covers the sea.
Imagine this scene! You have climbed up the mountain of the Lord. As you ascend, the air softens, the light brightens. The angry caws of the crows at the base turn into the music of songbirds. You see a leopard and feel a pang of fear, but then you see it gently licking the head of a baby goat, not eating it, but caring for it. You see a small child, her hand confidently entwined in the mane of a lion. The child is unafraid. Another child plays with a serpent, who is docile as a lamb. You are filled with love and well-being. Hate and resentment flow from your body, down the mountain and away. You are at peace.
10On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious.
Return to the image of the green shoot. It has grown. It is now tall, broad, and leafy. It has become a new tree. God has restored it to life for the benefit of the nations. Imagine yourself experiencing full restoration in whatever places you are lacking. Empowered, imagine yourself going forth to serve in justice and in love.
God of greening and hope, help me to grow in your spirit as a shoot out of a dormant stump. Bring me to new life in mercy and justice. Lord, make me what you want me to be. Amen.