As I get older and grow more mature in my walk with Christ, I appreciate and realize more and more the importance of daily prayer and reading my Bible. I wish I would have had this appreciation when I was younger. While I had a relationship with the Lord I never really developed it and searched for who God really is. Today my relationship with Him is the best it has ever been and is getting better day by day. I’m eager to share with you how to deepen your walk with Christ using the SOAK method.
I look at my relationship with Christ in two stages. The first stage was when I was younger and my growth was facilitated by going to church, church camps, etc. While I was happy to be involved with these things they weren’t completely voluntary. In other words I wasn’t an independent person and didn’t attend on my own accord. I was either going to church with my family or attending camps to be with friends. Don’t mistake that for me not wanting to go or not being saved. I did love the Lord and enjoyed learning about Him, it just wasn’t 100% by choice. The second stage helps the first stage sense. The second stage/way I look at my relationship is as an individual who completely, voluntarily chooses Christ. Like I attempted to explain, the first stage I had guidance and influence from friends and family. After I moved out for college and became on my own is when MY relationship with Him truly became personal and my own. It certainly didn’t happen immediately. I endured some of the darkest times I’ve had to face in the period between stage one and stage two, and because of those times I am now experiencing some of the most peaceful and fulfilling times.
During my transition from stage one to stage two I spent some time out of church and away from God. I thankfully realized after some time that how I was living was wrong, and I was in desperate need of some closeness with my Savior and nurturing from His word. A friend had recommended the devotional “Jesus Calling.” I tried the free version of the app for a while and once the trial was up I immediately bought the full version. Let’s be honest, where I am now has been a many-year-work-in-progress. I took baby steps, and still do. I started to read that devotional just a couple times a week for about a year. Then I decided to read it just on week days (don’t ask me my “logic” behind all this, it seems silly looking back). After nearly a year of “week days only” I decided to read it every day prior to getting out of bed. Meanwhile my life started to improve. My prayer life began to grow, the promises God put in His word would come to mind over negativity, and peace surrounded me (as long as I kept my eyes on Him). I read this same devotional every day for two years, for a total of nearly 4 years if you count my illogical reasoning above. I tell you what, even though I had read the same words the year before they were still ever so relevant in whatever I was facing that day. He certainly knows how to speak to you, am I right?!
At the beginning of this year I felt my spiritual walk was needing something more. While I still love reading “Jesus Calling” my thirst was not getting completely quenched. A childhood friend of mine had been sharing some books and study tools she had been using a lot on Facebook. She had shared a Bible study technique and it appealed SO much to me. I immediately checked out the website and began my version of their program that day. The website is womenlivingwell.org and this link will take you to their SOAK method. These women include color coded highlighting chart/how-to which I don’t currently use, but I can see myself incorporating that into my study in the future-agin, baby steps.
These are the SOAK steps from the website:
S – The S stands for Scripture – Read the chapter for the day. Then choose 1-2 verses and write them out word for word. (There is no right or wrong choice – just let the Holy Spirit guide you.)
O – The O stands for Observation – Look at the verse or verses you wrote out. Write 1 or 2 observations. What stands out to you? What do you learn about the character of God from these verses? Is there a promise, command or teaching?
A – The A stands for Application – Personalize the verses. What is God saying to you? How can you apply them to your life? Are there any changes you need to make or an action to take?
K – The K stands for Kneeling in Prayer – Pause, kneel and pray. Confess any sin God has revealed to you today. Praise God for His word. Pray the passage over your own life or someone you love. Ask God to help you live out your applications.
I personally started in Exodus and read one chapter a day until I finish the book. I am not reading the books in any particular order. I usually feel led to another book once I finish. I have recently started reading/adding a Psalm after my initial reading. I apply the SOAK method to my reading of the day, and then record just a verse from the Psalm I read.
I am so grateful my friend shared this method. It has been the perfect next step for my relationship with Christ. I hope it will also help some of you grow in your walk too. I should also mention that daily reading is not enough. It is so important for you to get involved in a church and to be around people who will fill your cup. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful church and a great pastor to fill me weekly and reinforce what I read through the week. I encourage you to find your place of worship if you don’t have one yet. ❤