The start of the year is a great time to remind ourselves of the priority that God needs to be if we are to live successfully and serve Him well. Here’s some thoughts on how to establish prayer as a priority in 2013.
Firstly, most people find it useful to use a deliberate approach. The S.O.A.P. method makes good use of the Bible which God gives as the primary means by which He still speaks to us today. To ‘wash’ ourselves with the cleansing power of God’s Word, we need to use a little soap, anyway, right?! (See the tab ‘Hearing God Daily’, though, for a more thorough process).
Why not try journalling simple entries in an exercise book, using this acronym?
S = Scripture. Use a structured program or work through a Bible book and read at least a chapter a day. But then write out one whole verse that God impresses upon you and is speaking to you through.
O = Observation. What do you notice about the verse in its context?
A = Application. How does the verse leap across the time gap of history and find relevance to you in your own life today?
P = Prayer. What is your simple commitment or response to God based upon what you have extracted from this verse?
Journalling your insights with a sentence or two for each aspect of S.O.A.P. gives a record of how God has spoken through His Word for later reference. It’s useful to check up on yourself after a week or two so that you can see whether you have acted on what God has been saying. It is also useful to be able to record answers to prayer. Remember that the prayer response to the verse in question is just a starter to more prayer that can follow – by then you’ll be in the groove! If your S.O.A.P. devotion takes twenty minutes, why not try adding an extra ten minutes of prayer? Then allow the amount of time spent praying to grow progressively.
A framework often helps with prayer – it breaks the process down and guides us. For example, Jesus showed His disciples the Lord’s Prayer. It roughly focuses people on the following areas: relationship with God, worship, serving God, personal needs, forgiveness and protection. We all need to pray along these lines regularly. Check it out in Matthew 6.
Can you build a new habit or improve an old one? God can still speak to us today through the Bible that He has given to inspire us with, but we have to choose to be listening to what He wants to say.
Prioritise room for the voice of God. Otherwise, there’s always plenty of other voices speaking to us in this world that will readily deafen us to what God wants to say!