SOAP for the Soul

By Martin Rathjen, Minister of Faith Formation at Immanuel

I’ve recently started to use SOAP, and I love it!  I know what you’re thinking, “What was he using before?”

But seriously, SOAP is a handy tool that has helped shape my devotional time, giving me a framework for time with God most mornings, bringing growth in my faith and in my prayer life.

It has given me just enough structure to help me stay focused and grow in listening to God in the Scriptures, but it’s not too structured either – allowing the Holy Spirit to flow in and through my reading, thinking and praying.

The SOAP framework is memorable and simple; after a minute or two of sitting quietly before God, I apply SOAP.

S – Scripture
I select a book or portion of the Bible to read.  I’ve recently really enjoyed Philippians and Ephesians, and I think I’m headed for Galatians next!  Each time I read just a paragraph or two at a time, or I read until something catches my eye or I find something to chew on.

O – Observation
I jot down in a notebook, things I observe in the Bible passage, things that strike me as interesting, thought provoking, challenging or stimulating…writing down just as little, or as much, as comes to mind.

A – Application
Here’s where it gets personal.  I take some time to reflect on what I’m hearing, and I write those things down (I’ve never been much of a journaler before, but I find that writing things down helps me think through and process what I sense God is saying to me).

P – Prayer
I then take time to pray.  I bring to God my thoughts, feelings and reactions to what I’ve read, observed and applied.  I’m often prompted to pray for a variety of different people and different things…all arising out of my time with God.

Lately, I’ve been ending my SOAP time by sitting quietly and sensing how God is calling me to live, love and serve, and I’ve been challenged to take some specific action in response to God’s guiding and leading.  That’s the Holy Spirit at work!

I’ve found that using SOAP can be refreshing and renewing, maybe you will too!

Group SOAP – 10/10/10

God’s been bugging me to invite others to use SOAP.  Can you imagine three people connecting with each other using SOAP?  It could be as simple as 10/10/10. Ten minutes of reading and reflecting by ourselves, ten minutes of journaling our ‘SOAP’, and then ten minutes of sharing what we recorded. Of course, if what we’d written was too personal there’d be no compulsion to share.

I wish that SOAP was my invention, however, it’s not.  SOAP is free for you to use!  If you’d like to be connected for Group SOAP, please contact me: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

It’s time to lather up!

I’m new


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A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America