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Dashing Devotional~ How ‘SOAP’ Journaling Has Changed My Life!

January 19th, 2012 - Dashing Devotionals

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About a year ago I started journaling while reading my bible. I would simply write down whatever came to mind, or whatever I felt God was showing me and/or teaching that day. It didn’t take long before I was able to see a consistent pattern developing in what God was speaking to me, and it was only through journaling that I was able to capture the beautiful portrait that God was creating in my heart.

The only problem that I found with my journaling was that there was no structure to it. When it comes to spending time with God is perfectly alright in many ways. However, I’m certainly a person that craves organization, and the one thing that I found was that it was very hard for me to find ‘certain’ journal entries when I went back to look for them.

If you’ve been following my Daily Dish posts, you know that I recently started going to a new church that just launched called, New Generations! It’s been amazing so far, and I am really growing in so many areas! One of which is in the area of performing for God. I have really struggled with this in my past, instead of just accepting His unconditional love and grace for me.

That being said, one of the best sermons that I’ve heard so far was my pastor’s teaching on self-feeding. He talked about a specific way of journaling called SOAP. He explained that this type of journaling has radically transformed the way he views spending time with God, and that it made him very excited to see what God was going to show him every day.  After seeing some of the benefits journaling has had in my own life, I was instantly intrigued!

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So, here’s how the SOAP method of journaling works…

After spending time in the Word I pray that God would lead me to a specific verse or portion of scripture. For me, that alone has been pretty amazing, because I’ve been finding that scriptures that I would have normally passed by seem to jump off the page at me! This is the scripture (or portion of scriptures) that I write down for the “S” in my journal.

The “O” is my observation of that verse, or how the Lord is bringing light to that verse for me.

Next, I spend a few minutes meditating on that scripture, and trust that the Holy Spirit is going to show me specifically how that scripture is applicable to my life, which is the “A” in my journal entry.

Last but not least is the “P” which stands for prayer. I take a moment and write out a prayer as it relates to what God has shown me that day.

Here’s a quick example of how a SOAP journal entry might look (Note: This is not an actual journal entry of mine):

S (Scripture): “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” ~Philippians 4:13

O (Observation): There is nothing that I can’t do with Christ living in me, because He gives me strength for anything that comes my way.

A (Application): Yesterday I was really doubting being able to accomplish the huge project I was working on, but I need to remember that the Word of God does not lie, and it says that I can do ALL things through Christ, and that means ALL things, even my project!

P (Prayer): “Lord please forgive me for relying on my own strength when trying to accomplish things. Ultimately I know that when I depend on myself I will be let down, and short circuit your strength and power working in me. Help me to remember this verse when I’m tempted to doubt my abilities, and help me to rely upon your strength. Help me to remember that you promised that I can do anything with your help! In Jesus Name, Amen.”

My walk with God has been impacted in so many ways since I started this type of journaling a few months ago.

Instead of having a thousand thoughts running through my mind after I spend time in the Word, I now find myself more focused, meditating on a specific Word for that day. It’s almost like I have a specific portion of scripture to chew, digest, and sustain me for the day….I guess that’s why it’s referred to as our daily bread!

It’s also improved my relationship with God because I am able to make clear connections to what He is speaking to me. I do this by titling each journal entry with a few key words that explain what He led me to that day. This allows me to easily back track to a particular scripture, and how it applies to me.

That way, when I find myself needing to be reminded of a specific promise, teaching, or word that He has shown me, I am able to flip right to it! This is also great when I’m trying to minister to other people, because I am able to look up a certain promises as they relate!

On that note, I want to add that there are many ways to go about journaling, and spending time in the Word of God, so I am not saying this is the only way to spend time meditating on the Word, or that it is necessarily what’s right for you. The Word of God is alive, powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword (Heb. 4:12). It will change your life no matter how you go about studying it! However, this is one way of really focusing on God’s promises, that has been powerful for me personally, so I thought I’d share it with all of you!!!

To read more on the ‘SOAP’ method of journaling, and to read other awesome devotionals written by my pastor, click here: NewGenerationsChurch.com/devotionals.

Also, if you currently journal while spending time with God, or you decide to try out the SOAP method, I’d love to hear about it!

15 Comments

Jessica said:

Katie,

This is such an encouraging post! I seriously just finished time with the Lord and felt the need for more direct application for my journaling time.

I am going to try this tomorrow! Thanks!

January 19th, 2012 — 2:00pm  |  Reply

Life's a Bowl said:

Great idea!

January 19th, 2012 — 2:49pm  |  Reply

Brindi said:

I’m working on a SOAP post for my blog right now and I’m so happy to see someone else writing passionately on the subject!! My church has been SOAPing for years, and my pastor just recently did another sermon last Sunday on SOAPing, so I was encouraged to share it with my readers. I’m like you, Katie, I crave organization. I need it. I go crazy without. But the main reason I love SOAPing is because it helps me meditate on one verse at a time, to focus on what God is trying to say/teach me, to apply it to my day/week and to memorize the scripture. Thanks for sharing!
God Bless,
Brindi

January 20th, 2012 — 7:41am  |  Reply

Olviya Ivanov said:

I love this idea! I’m looking forward to trying it! Keep up the encouraging posts :)

January 20th, 2012 — 12:04pm  |  Reply

Kimberly said:

I love this! I have never heard of it before but I totally going to try this while the youth group studies through Hebrews! Thanks for sharing!

January 20th, 2012 — 5:01pm  |  Reply

Emily said:

This post was such a Godsend for me. Thank you so much for choosing to share your journaling method. I am so looking forward to starting this in the morning!

Thank you for being such an encouragement,

-Emily

January 21st, 2012 — 1:31pm  |  Reply

Madeline said:

This is great! My Bible professor last semester taught us a practice very similar to SOAP, called “Lectio Divina.” I think it originally started as a Catholic practice, but it’s great for all believers. It includes:
1) Reading/Listening: Read through a short passage of Scripture several times (slowly), listening for a word or phrase that speaks to you. What is the Spirit drawing your attention to?
2) Meditating: Make connections between it and your life. What is God saying to you be means of this word or phrase?
3)Praying: Take those thoughts and offer them back to God in prayer, giving thanks, asking for guidance or forgiveness.
4)Contemplating: Simply rest in God’s presence. Listen and remain open to God. Allow His Spirit to assist you in living out this truth.

I love these organized devotionals. They really help to dig deeper into the Word and reflect on your relationship with God.

January 22nd, 2012 — 10:18am  |  Reply

Katherine said:

Thanks for the great idea. Spending time in God’s word every day is so important, and yet His words often float away from our thoughts when we get busy. A great way to meditate.

January 28th, 2012 — 8:32am  |  Reply

Katie Farrell said:

so true katherine!

January 28th, 2012 — 9:36am  | 

Abby said:

Katie your website is so great! I started the journaling and it is incredible how I feel so much more at peace after pin-pointing how the bible translates into my own life in the largest and smallest of ways. I enjoy your whole site, thanks for the encouragement!

February 3rd, 2012 — 9:23am  |  Reply

Nicole Pressey-Elev8MyFaith said:

Thank you so much for this tip to journaling. Very timely! God bless.

March 5th, 2012 — 3:04pm  |  Reply

Sara McGee said:

I am using this (and getting inspiration from some of your recipes) on my blog. Thank you for sharing and unknowingly helping me grow closer to the Lord. I’d love it if you check out some of my devotions: http://saramcgee.wordpress.com/devotions/

you’re the best! God bless! -Sara

March 14th, 2012 — 8:38am  |  Reply

Jamie Wyatt said:

Thanks for sharing SOAP! What a concise, non-threatening, and simple plan for getting started with prayer journaling! I’m pinning it!

October 10th, 2012 — 11:40pm  |  Reply

Emily said:

Katie,
Do you just read verses at random? Your post stated after spending time in the Word you prayed for God to lead/direct you to an appropriate scripture. Do you follow some sort of reading plan? I want to start using the SOAP method, but I don’t know where to start.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

July 25th, 2013 — 1:32pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

Hey Emily! Great question! To be honest, I generally dont follow a plan…I just open the new or old testament, or a book of the bible and start reading! :)

July 25th, 2013 — 4:00pm  | 

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