For a long time I have been keeping a prayer journal and it has been very helpful to me. I don’t write a lot in it. I just enter prayer requests that people ask me to pray for. Once in a while I would write a prayer down or a scripture that came to mind while praying, may be just for myself or to share with someone I have been praying for. It has also been amazing seeing how the Lord has answered prayer in my life.
About a year ago I came across SOAP Journaling in a blog on the net, and thought I might pick that up sometime. In 2010 I have been using Eugene Peterson’s excellent devotional Solo, which is based on the classical method of lectio divina: reading, thinking, praying, and living Scripture. I love doing it every day and it has been very challenging. I would recommend it to everyone. One thing I wish I had done last year was to write notes each day, sometimes I would highlight a passage that stood out, but I never really kept much notes.
So this year I have decided to give SOAP Journaling a go. Journaling is an brilliant way to both record, process and reflect what God has spoken to you.
S = SCRIPTURE: What?
Select the passage of Scripture for today’s reading. Ask God to speak to you through His Word. Then take time reading to hear from God. When you are done, look for the verse(s) that spoke to you that day, and copy into your journal.
O = OBSERVATION: So What?
What is the meaning of what you’ve just read? What is the author intending to communicate to his readers? Paraphrase and write the meaning in your own words in your journal.
A = APPLICATION: Now What?
Personalize what you have read by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write down how you would obey this Scripture in your life today. Include a statement that starts “I will…”
P = PRAYER
This can be as simple as asking God to help you obey this Scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.
And that’s it.