It’s an odd question to ask, but do you use soap? I’m not referring to Dove, Ivory or Lever 2000, but rather to a method for personal devotions outlined in The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro. Referred to as S.O.A.P., this journalling concept consists of Scripture, observation, application and prayer.
Cordeiro suggests that practising daily devotions will re-pattern the way we think and transform our minds so that we respond to life’s challenges in a Christlike manner. And by making use of a journal, we can record and process what God speaks to us.
I’ve been following this S.O.A.P. method for a few months. The only requirements are a Bible, a Bible reading plan (you can use the ones provided in The Divine Mentor or access a one-year Bible in hard copy or online), paper, pen and about 30 minutes.
Here is how it works:
Each day you begin by reading selected Scripture passages. Before you begin reading, ask God to use his holy Word to speak into your life a message for that day. You then begin reading to see what God has in store for you. I have been amazed at how faithful God has been in showing me a thought for the day.
The question is never “Does God speak?” but rather “Am I listening?” As the Holy Spirit highlights a verse, carefully consider what it is saying. Stop and think about what’s happening, who’s affected, what’s taking place, the setting and the situation. Take time to let the message that God has given you sink into your heart, and then put those thoughts down on paper.
After you have carefully considered and observed what the text says, write down how you plan to put into practice the lesson that God has revealed to you. How does this verse apply to you at this particular time in your life?
You then finish off your devotional time by writing down a prayer and asking God to help you apply what you’ve just learned. Never forget to tell him how thankful you are for all of the blessings in your life.
As you follow these steps each day, ensure that you keep track of what the Spirit reveals to you in your journal. This will help you review how God has been speaking to you. For those of you who prepare devotions or sermons, you will have an excellent resource of Scripture that has personally impacted you.
If your personal devotions are feeling stale, I encourage you to try this S.O.A.P method and discover what God has to say to you today.
An Excerpt From Ashley’s Personal Journal
“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house” (Haggai 1:9).
The people didn’t think that it was time to build the house of the Lord, but they went on and built their own houses. They continued to take care of their own needs by planting crops, eating and drinking plenty, keeping warm and making wages. They were putting their own needs and desires above God, and their crops and every other aspect of their lives were failing and falling short of what they hoped for.
I cannot expect everything in my life to be the best that it can when I am putting my own desires and wishes above God. My own house should not come before the Lord’s house. My desire should be that the Lord’s house be built and functioning well, before I turn my attention to building and taking care of my own house. I will feel satisfied and content when I put God’s work above my own.
Lord, help me be a worker who works hard to build your house with a strong foundation and encourages others to pick up a hammer and help. Amen.
Captain Ashley Bungay and her husband, Sheldon, are the corps officers of The New-Wes-Valley Corps in the Newfoundland and Labrador West Division. They were commissioned as Heralds of the Good News in 2007 and have a daughter, Alexis, who was born in November 2008. In her spare time Ashley likes to relax in front of the TV, scrapbook pictures of her family and take long walks. She is passionate about youth and young women’s ministry, and her favourite Scripture passage is Jeremiah 17:7-8.