Since I have put our study of Jonah on hold, I thought for today at least, that I would share with you my pattern, or system, or manner of my personal devotion. I do so for at least three (3) reasons:
- I believe a regular personal devotion or quiet times is a major means of growing and/or developing spiritually
- I am cognizant of the fact that many believers struggle with how to have a meaningful and beneficial devotion
- I, myself, function far better with a pattern or guide to follow
Let me say, this is only a way and not the only way, or the end of all ends for use in your personal quiet time of devotion. I share only in hopes that you might find it useful and beneficial to you.
My pattern for my quiet time consists of three (3) main areas:
I begin my time with prayer and worship of God. My worship in my devotion consists of four (4) parts:
- Praise - praise God for who He is. I take a single attribute each morning and praise God for that attribute
- Adoration - I tell God how much I love Him. He is my Father and I am His son.
- Thanksgiving - Thank Him for what He has done. Find at least one thing to thank God for specifically and specially each day.
- Hymn - I praise God by singing or reciting a hymn, Psalm, or spiritual song to God. Listen, He said make a joyful noise, not a symphonic noise!
From my Worship portion of my quiet time, I move to what I called the...
I use a method I came across sometime ago called the "SOAP" formula. First, choose a book of the bible, and begin reading, meditating, and praying through it. Read approximately one (1) to six (6) or seven (7) verses slowly, carefully, prayerfully, and earnestly. Do not try to read a chapter or too much - you won't be able to meditate on it. Your quiet time is not the time to do your annual bible reading plan. The SOAP method goes like this:
S - the scripture passage for the day
O- any and all observations that you derive from the passage
A- any and all applications that apply directly to you
P - pray through the passage & pray for compliance with the passage principle thought or key truth
Buy a good journal and record these truths, principles, observations, applications and prayer. Write it down!
After worship, and the word, it is now time for what I call the:
After I have read, prayed, and meditated on the passage I use the following five (5) questions to help me arrive at the specific application for my life.
- What is the key or principle thought of the passage?
- What is a short yet concise summary of the passage?
- What way does this passage apply directly to me?
- What do I need to change or do to comply with this passage?
- What is my specific plan to change or to comply?
I hope this pattern or guide is helpful to you. Please do not become a slave to it or to any plan. These things are always guides meant to assist not to imprison.
I hope you will utilize some or all parts of this plan for at least three (3) reasons:
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
- If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time
- I want you to grow in the grace & the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)