The danger in this was that preparation for lessons and sermons focused on others and kept the application of God’s word outside of myself. Personal devotion is the time for God to speak to me about me. I needed that to change. Devotion time became consistent in my life in 2013.
In the last few weeks I’ve had several inquiries about how to develop this time. Some have asked how I engage in my personal devotional time. Allow me to outline my personal devotional process. I pray it helps you in your own pursuit of inspiration from scripture.
Maybe God is instructing or encouraging you. He could be revealing a new promise or even correcting you in a particular area of your life.
I became consistent in devotion time in October 2013 after meeting Pastor Wayne Cordeiro. He is the senior pastor of New Hope in Oahu, Hawaii. He introduced me to the S.O.A.P method of doing devotions. He wrote about the reason behind this method in his book The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior.
The simple and effective method works like this…
- Choose a passage of scripture to read. I read the twelve month chronological bible reading plan on YouVersion. Choose what works for you. Taking the “guess work” out of the moment by choosing a structured plan has helped me. As you read notice what idea springs to your mind. God will often speak to you through thoughts that align with His Word.
- Write down your thoughts on the reading in the following pattern. I use the notes function on the YouVersion app. Others enjoy writing their thoughts on paper. It doesn’t matter how you journal your thoughts. It does matter that you are consistent.
- Many wonder, “How do I know what to write?” Use the S.O.A.P method by following this outline.
S stands for Scripture: Look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.
O stands for Observation: What caught your attention in this scripture? Was it a word or phrase? It could be an idea. In this step write down what you observe in the scripture.
A stands for Application: Personalize what you have read. Ask the Holy Spirit, “What are You saying to me through this scripture? Why did you bring it to my attention?” Ask yourself, “How does this scripture apply to my life right now?” Maybe God is instructing or encouraging you. He could be revealing a new promise or even correcting you in a particular area of your life. Whatever it may be, write down how you can apply this scripture to your life today.
P stands for Prayer: This is where you ask God to help you apply what He has revealed to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.
I enjoyed the following devotional in March of 2016. It illustrates what I’ve outlined above.
Luke 1:3 (NLT) “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus,”
Luke carefully investigated everything he had heard. He did not accept everything just because he heard. Before he accepted it as truth he had to do the investigation himself.
In my life I cannot afford to accept things just because I’ve heard them. I must be willing to put in the time, energy, and effort to find out if the things that I’ve heard are actually true. If they are true I must accept them. If they are not true I must refuse them. Truth is not determined by whether I like what I’ve heard or not, but whether or not it is reality.
God, help me take the time needed to do proper investigation of truth. Help me not to become impatient or refuse to recognize truth simply because I may not like where it leads.
Pastor Wayne wrote the book The Divine Mentor to inspire all to engage in daily devotions. This method has made me successful in developing a daily devotional time with God and I’m better for it. This is a book everyone needs to read. You can buy The Divine Mentor here.