S. – Scripture
Keep reading and asking God to reveal Himself to you. It may come in various ways. Write down verses and messages that you feel God is prompting you to, even if you don’t understand why right now. God will often give me a message through His Word, then a couple days later I’ll turn the car on and there will be a sermon or song about it, and my devotional will have a similar message, or something else wonderfully “coincidental.” Sometimes He affirms His message through a conversation or even a poster. You may find yourself saying, “Okay, okay, God, I got it!”
O. – Observation
What do you notice in the passage you read? Who is speaking? What is the context? Who is the audience? This often brings out details we would normally miss by just reading.
A. – Application
Get personal. How does this relate to me or my circumstances? How is God speaking to me through this passage? As you begin to put the puzzle pieces together and gain understanding, write down what you feel God is telling you or what He wants you to do.
P. – Prayer
Thank God for giving you these Words and speaking to you. Ask Him for wisdom to help you understand and strength and courage to help you apply these truths. I often pray it out loud after I finish writing it down.
Here is an example of how I’ve used the S.O.A.P. Method:
S – Scripture
“In the temple courts He found men selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and money changers seated at their tables. So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle. He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those selling doves He said, “Get these out of her! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a marketplace!” John 2:14-16
O – Observation
– Where? The temple courts
– What was it like? Probably smelly and loud; maybe flies and poop from all the animals. People yelling, animal noises
– Who? Jesus
– What did He do? He took time to make a whip; drove animals out; poured out the money. He messed with their income and goods; wasn’t afraid to make them upset
A – Application
Is God’s house what it should be? What needs to be changed? Are there things more desired than Him: coffee time, fellowship, etc.?
– Jesus took time to make a whip before driving them out. We think of Him almost “losing His cool,” but He took time to make a plan.
P. – Prayer
Thank you for showing me that you didn’t just react to the upsetting circumstances and start yelling. You took the time to make an effective plan by taking cords to make a whip. How often don’t I just react, whether it be to the way people treat others or even to my children when they aren’t behaving well. How ridiculous I must look when I “lose my cool.” I’m sorry. Forgive me for the times I have not represented you well and reacted badly. Help me to be more like you, Lord. Help me to make a plan that’s effective instead of just reacting emotionally. In Your Name, Amen.
So many times He shows me truths like this. Sometimes right away and sometimes it takes awhile to fit the puzzle pieces together. Just keep showing up – He’s waiting for you!
-Melissa @ An-Abundant-Life