|Image Borrowed from http://www.theoaksonline.org|
When it comes to things like being a better dad, a better spouse, eating a healthier diet, being more fit...who doesn't want these things? Who goes around saying, I want to be big fat slob, an unloving dad or spouse?
So whenever we hear people encouraging and inspiring us to be these things without also showing us how we might become these things, it only leads to greater levels of frustration and guilt.
For many of us in the church, we know that we ought to pray and read the Bible on a daily basis. Often, those who are starting out on the faith journey start out with great expectations of how awesome their prayer times and Bible reading times with God are going to be.
But without some help in knowing how we are to read the Bible and make sense of what's there, this endeavor only leads to frustration. And eventually, because we know we ought to be reading and praying, but find it so dull and irrelevant, we start feeling guilty.
And every time we show up to church we are reminded over and over again of what a terrible Christian we are because we don't even read the Bible and pray everyday.
Inspiration without Organization leads to Frustration.
I have four children so one of the things we say a lot is "Have you washed your hands?" And since the youngest one is a boy, we now say, "Have you washed your hands with soap?"
To help with structuring your Bible reading and prayer time, ask yourself, "Have you read your Bible with SOAP?"
Start with one of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and make it your goal to read one chapter a day.
Here's a little acronym I learned from Pastor Wayne Cordiero that helps with Bible reading and prayer...SOAP.
- S - Scripture. As you read the chapter, look for a verse, a word, or phrase that jumps out at you. Write it down in your journal.
- O - Observation. Reflect and write about why that particular verse, word, or phrase is meaningful to you. You might ask questions such as, "What is God trying to teach me or show me in this passage?"
- A - Application. God never reveals a truth to us to make us smarter sinners. Every truth that God reveals to us is for the purposes of changing us to be more like him. In this section, reflect and journal what God is asking you to do in light of what God has revealed about who he is and who you are.
- P - Prayer. Close your time with God by telling him how much you love him and the truths you will apply in your life today.
I have used the SOAP acronym to help me focus my time with God.
I pray that it will help you as well.