Have you discovered the joy and wonder of spending quiet time with Jesus? If you have a special way of meeting with and hearing from Him, please share in the comments below! One of my favorite ways to spend time with God is to use the S.O.A.P. method. I learned about it while reading Pastor Wayne Cordiero’s excellent book The Divine Mentor (book review here). It has enhanced my time with the Lord so much that I want to share it with you!
Why We Need It
I like to think about the part of the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus modeled asking the Father for our daily bread. Picture Jesus visiting with you each morning, serving bite-sized truths, to nourish you for the day. That’s what time with Him and His word does, it supplies our daily need.
In Matthew 6:9-13 (MEV), Jesus gives us a pattern for inviting the Father into our day…
‘Therefore pray in this manner: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’
In order to satisfy our daily need, we want to establish a practice of meeting with the Lord. So, pick a time and place, maybe a comfy chair or spot on the porch, somewhere free from distractions. Gather your supplies. You’ll definitely need a Bible (in a version that you can understand), a notebook & pen, and a daily reading plan or checklist. Here are some free printable plans by the Navigators or you may prefer a Bible Reading Checklist to track your progress. It’s also nice to have music for worship and extra paper for listing out to-do’s that come to mind. (Write them down so you can come back to them later.)
Be flexible. God is creative and can speak to us in many different ways. What’s most important is not how or where you meet with Him, but that you do! Have an open heart, listen for the Father and His Spirit, and you will hear Him!
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)
Come before the Lord with a surrendered heart and humble spirit. I ask Him to give me clean hands and a pure heart, so there’s no sin between us.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalm 24:4-5 (ESV)
In this Psalm, David teaches us to approach the Lord with thanks for the things He’s done for us. It changes my attitude and sets my mind on Him. Try speaking aloud to the Lord, so you hear your thanks too!
Go through his open gates with great thanksgiving; enter his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. Psalm 100:4 (TLB) See Psalm 118 too.
Although the Father waits for us to invite Him in, He longs to spend time with us. Anticipate Him meeting there with you, expect Him to come! Then take your requests to Him.
Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Revelation 3:20 (NLT)
Light Your Way
Next, we’ll open God’s Word, where we find hope, joy, unconditional love, correction, and all the wisdom we’ll need. It helps to use a daily Bible reading plan to stay focused and progressing. There are some days when you’ll feel the Holy Spirit leading you to read outside of the plan, and that is exactly what you should do. The more time we spend with Him, the better we recognize His voice. As you begin, invite Holy Spirit to speak to you through the Scriptures. I like to ask Him to help me hear what the Father wants to say to me, and as I read, I’m listening carefully for His nudges.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
As you read, listen for one or two verses within the day’s reading that stand out as speaking directly to you. Once you hear your word for the day, you may feel to stop reading in order to meditate on the message. Take freedom within the reading plan to stop and pick up the following day, even if you don’t complete the day’s reading. Once you’re finished, you’ll move to journaling.
Write it Down
Journaling during our interaction with the Lord allows us to record what we hear Him saying, as well as our own heart’s response. Writing the scripture helps to solidify the truth and gives the Holy Spirit time to speak. Don’t be in a hurry and listen carefully for His still, small voice. It will require you bringing faith to the experience. Go with it! You will find that you can hear the Lord speaking!
Try out the SOAP method for journaling and see how you like it. It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer.
Scripture – Begin by writing out the one or two verses that spoke to you the most.
Observation – Write information to explain the context, like the setting, who the author was, who he was speaking to, and/or his motivation.
Application – Focus on how the scripture applies directly to your life right now and write about it.
Prayer – Simply write out your prayer in response to the reading. I like to read it aloud to the Lord after I write it. It’s a simple, but beautiful process! Once you’re finished, you can get creative and give the entry a title if you’d like.
This act of seeking the Lord, searching His Word, and hearing from Him makes an impact on our mind, heart, and spirit. It is one of the most personal ways the Lord communicates with us, cuts away the old, and brings out the new!
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:2 (GNT)
Here’s one of my own entries as an example for you…
Scripture – Matthew 10:30-31 tpt “So don’t worry. For your Father cares deeply about even the smallest detail of your life.”
Observation – Jesus was speaking to his disciples, warning them to be on guard and expect persecution for following him. Just before this scripture, he told them not to fear man, but to only fear God – who can kill the soul. Then he explained that when a sparrow falls to the ground that the Father sees. He is concerned with even the smallest details of our lives.
Application – The Father has drawn me to Himself and called me. I have decided to follow Jesus, so I can expect trials. Within the trials, I am only to fear what God thinks of me, not man. In the trials Jesus tells me not to worry. The Father is working all things for my good. He loves me and I can trust Him.
Prayer – Abba Father, in Jesus name I pray. I am your daughter and you tell me not to worry. Teach me how to choose to trust instead. My children are yours first and you care for them as much as I do. Please strengthen them to be who you created them to be – a son and daughters after your heart. As they walk with you, help me to trust You without fear or worry. Thank you Father, I love you.
One of the greatest benefits of using this method is meditating on the scripture and the personal word the Lord has spoken to me for that day. It’s bite-sized, and comes to mind throughout the day, making an impact on my thoughts, behavior, and heart. I hope and believe that it will have a similar effect on your life. Let me know!