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How to get SOAP-y with us

By Art Barrett

We encourage SOAP a lot at New Life. It’s not about hygiene — although we support that too. In this case SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer, and it’s a devotional time. But even more so, it is a way of developing a routine of hearing God’s voice and living into His invitation and challenge.

The aim is to daily spend time with God, even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes. When we have more time, great, hang out more. But most people need a doable practice that still allows them to get with God and get off to their morning commute too!

How does it work? It’s quite simple. When you sit for your daily visit with God, read the Bible as you normally would with one simple difference. Instead of treating it as a reading assignment, treat it as a visit with God. It’s not a task to do; it’s a relationship you’re building and maintaining.

What’s God saying?

What that means is it’s not something to accomplish and check off your list. The priority is to watch for God touching your heart, whispering in your ear regarding what you’re reading. When God gets your attention, pay attention; listen up! So, if the reading assigned for the day is Genesis 28:16 to 29:12, the win is not reading every one of the assigned verses. The win is stopping to pay attention to God! What if something pricks your interest in the very first half of the first verse? If you want to come back later and read the remaining 26 verses, great! But pay attention to where God is getting your attention right now and lean in!

So when God gets your attention STOP. Don’t worry that you don’t know whether it’s a big point or a little point.
Just stop and write down the verse, or phrase that caught your attention. (Many of us don’t want to commit and write it down yet because we are not sure it is important enough yet. Don’t worry about that! Go ahead and write it down. This way you leave room for God to speak to you and be the arbiter of what is important.)

Why write it down? Because writing it down slows you down. We call it abiding. God will begin to speak to you as you slow down. Listen as you write it out in log book or whatever you use. But don’t cut and paste; write or type it out.

Here’s how it looks

This is the “S” in SOAP, scripture.
S= Genesis 28:16 Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Next is the “O.” Observation. What caught your attention? What did you notice?
This might be just a sentence, and that’s OK. You are not doing a teaching, you are responding to where God has gotten your attention. Here is something helpful. Enter into dialogue; address God.

So my “O” might look like this;
O= Father I believe You want me to see that just like with Jacob you are wherever I am! I sense You are saying to
me, “Wake up and realize I am here with you even in the place you least expect Me to be.” That means You are
here right now as well as where I am going today.

Now comes the application – where I take a measurable action that empowers me to live into God’s best for my life. Application is the expression of the faith I will act upon based on what God has said in the written word and the word He is writing on my heart. Here is a helpful practice, write in the first person not. God is with you. Talk to God, NOT about God. He is talking to YOU, not them or the others.

Mine looks like this:
A= Father, as I go to work, some days it feels like it is empty of Your influence, but today I am going to remember Jacob’s words, “the Lord is in this place.” Today at least three times I will repeat those words to myself. And after I say them, I am going to look for where You are revealing Your presence.

Then comes “P.” P is for prayer. Personally, I have been in prayer the whole time I have been doing the S, O, and A. Prayer is dialogue with God, as well; I listen as well as talk. So “P” becomes a concrete invitation for God to remind and enable me to do in faith what I have heard God challenge me to do.

My prayer:
P= Father, thank You for getting my attention here today! I really needed to hear You and be reminded You
are with me, even at my work place. Show Yourself to me as I look for where You are at work today. Remind me to practice saying, “You are in this place.” Amen

As a result of SOAP-ing I heard His voice as a sure word from Genesis and a fresh word in my heart.

Comment(1)

  1. Stonewall Towery says

    Blessings,

    I recently visited your church for Sunday service and was blessed by the message. My name is Stonewall and I am a retired prison chaplain. I live in Clayton and I get up every morning and do a power walk on the Clayton trails. It is during that time that i have my morning devotional and prayer to God. I walk 4 1/2 miles and it can be a very gruweling walking as I go up some very steep hills. I suffered a stroke in 2003 and was told I would never walk again. But God is a healer that works miracles and I am a walking one. With each step that I take I say thank you Jesus. I get a little cadence going and by the time I have finished my walk I have said thank you Jesus a few thousand times. So my S would be 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I also have several prayer stops where I rest a bit have water and pray. I am also a singer so quite often I sing praise songs to God. My O would be the beauty of Clayton and how it makes me feel so close to God to be out there in it. “Father God, I am thankful for this place you have set me in where I am no longer in the kind of danger I grew up in in South Central Los Angeles. The beauty that surrounds me is a daily reminder that you have blessed me beyond measure. You have taken me through a war, drug addiction and so many other things that I gained the victory over through you. I am thankful every day that I can walk and be a daily wittness of your faithfulness to those who accept you as their living savior. My “A” would be as follows Father God, as I walk each day I seek your guidance and wisdom in all aspects of my life. With each hill that I climb successfully I will give thanks and remind myself that just as you have blesseed me to reach the top of the hill so, will you bless me to reach the top of so many hills that I have to climb in my personal life. When it gets too heavy I will remember that you have given me the strength to climb any hill I set my sight upon. And my “P” would be Father, thank you for showing me that there is still a lot of beauty in this world. Despite the ugliness of prejudice, racism and hatred that I have faced throughout my life, you continue to show me that there is beauty here and that there are people who have that beauty inside of them. The beauty that represents your love and lifelong friendship. Please remind me, when I see Tiki Torch bearers speaking hateful words, that you are a God of compassion and love. Not hatred and conflict. It breaks my heart to see what is happening in our country. It breaks my heart to see that evil is speaking louder than good these day. So I worship you daily and seek the camaraderie of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray that no matter what, your will be done in all of our lives.

    Thank you for this exercise. It was a great way to remind myself of why I do the things I do daily. I hope I did it correctly. I will visit your church again soon. Respect & Admiration, Stonewall Towery

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