I use the acronym SOAP when I do my quiet time. It’s better to have a record of what you have read and what you have learned. It also reminds you of the revelation you received from scripture. I got this idea from pastor and author Wayne Cordeiro, in his book The Divine Mentor. So far, it’s the most effective of all the quiet time methods I have used in the past. Here are some excerpts from the book on using SOAP — Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.
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-Ask the Lord to bring home to your heart one text in particular. One Thing!
-One verse or thought that stops you in your tracks or seems to shine out of the page. “This is for you.”
-A promise or an instruction that will get you back on track.
-Why one? Because at the end of the year, you will remember none of them.
But if you focus on just one a day, by the time December 31 rolls around, you’ll have more than 360 gems packed away in your heart. And that’s priceless.
“You will begin making permanent decisions based on eternal wisdom, not on temporary setbacks.”
-The question is never does God speak? But rather am I listening?
-To best hear what God has to say to you, you must still your heart.
-Think to whom it was addressed and why it was written
-Take several minutes to meditate on it.
-Love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul, Mind. That means He doesn’t want you to disengage your brain as you listen for his voice.
-It can be a paragraph or a few sentences.
-How will you be different today as a result of what you’ve just read?
-How does this verse or thought apply to me?
-Application is a crucial part of this process, for without it, all you’re doing is amassing facts, trivia, and bits of knowledge.
-It is what seals God’s words to our hearts.
-The difference between hearing his will and doing his will.
-Set the title at the top after praying. You have captured a gem in the making.
-The best time for your devotions is when you’re at your best!
-Create some fertile soil.
-Don’t journal on the 90% you don’t understand, journal on the 10% you do.
My personal sample of SOAP:
Title: Be Strong for Others.
Scripture: Romans 15:1-2 (ESV)
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
Observation: Strength is for others. If you’re a person who is strong in his/her character, deed, or intellect, you should act intentionally to help other people especially those who are in need. Don’t assume that they can be like you. This motivates us to be humble in the Lord yet strong for others.I said strong “for” others, not stronger than others. We tend to forget that people are different. Building your neighbor up is a way of life.
Application: Build others up, don’t tear them down!
Prayer: Lord God, I pray that I can have your heart for people. May the fruit of the spirit be in me as I live for others to glorify you.