3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa 40:3-5 ESV)
Step One – Read the passage slowly, attentively. Allow yourself to be taken in by the words – pay attention to any word or phrase that strikes you in the passage.
Step Two – Read it again. Meditate and reflect on the passage. What is it in your life that needs to hear that word or phrase? Sit in silence for a time, attending to the thoughts, images and impressions that begin to come to you. Turn that into prayer.
Step Three – What is God saying to you? What do you begin to feel called to?
Step Four – How does God want you to live this passage out? What are you resolved to do?
Since this is the first passage for lectio divina I’ll share how this went for me. The words that stood out for me in my first reading were prepare and make straight. This was pretty straightforward, so I spent some time thinking about what this meant. I went to the passages in the New Testament where this passage is quoted (Mat. 3:3; Mar. 1:2-3; Luk. 3:4). All three passages speak of this prophetic word from Isaiah. I came back to the passage and read it again, slowly. And the phrase that stood out for me then was “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”. This led me to a deeper reading and contemplation of the passage. And as I answered the last two questions, I sensed God’s presence and heard his call to respond. Practice may help this exercise flow more naturally. Remember, we are guided by truth here, and our interpretation of a particular passage will not be contradicted by other Scriptures.