Intentional Time

image from expeditionportal.com

image from expeditionportal.com

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them.” – Luke 4:42

“Jesus had to get up very early just to get some time alone.  If Jesus needed solitude for prayer and refreshment, how much more is this true for us?  Don’t become so busy that life turns into a flurry of activity leaving no room for quiet fellowship alone with God.  No matter how much we have to do, we should always have time for prayer.” (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

God is so faithful to both meet us and equip us to make a way when we choose to be intentional about making time to be alone with Him.  For most of my life, I have been a sort of “fast food” consumer of my faith.  What I mean by that, is that though I came to know Him at an early age, and understood His truth, I merely offered up quick prayers as I thought about it, but wasn’t really intentional with my time unless I was in a class, traveling overseas with Youth With a Mission, or in a Bible study for that particular season.

Three years ago, maybe more, my church began a study process to help those of us who needed a structure to begin reading through and studying the Bible more consistently.  This particular plan takes us through the entire Bible in one year.  The process is fairly simple.  We read through the day’s assigned passages, listen to His leading, and then write out the specific passage of scripture that the Holy Spirit highlights in our heart for the day.  The following is more of an explanation if you are curious:

S (scripture) – Write out the verse, including the reference of chapter and verse where the passage is found.

O (observation) – Write out any observations I have about the verse.  What does it mean in my own words? What is the context?  Other observations? Etc.

A (application) – How does this passage apply to me in my life?

P (prayer) – Write out my prayerful response.

In order to complete this process daily, I discovered it was necessary to rise extra early.  Being a morning person naturally, the early end of the day made the most sense for me.  Though there are days when my 4am alarm feels a tad too early, I find that I am always encouraged, energized and equipped for my day, by being intentional in my time with our Maker.  He always meets me as I am intentional to set my eyes and heart on Him, and He is faithful to whisper the words that my heart needs to hear.  I never cease to be amazed at how what I hear from Him in the morning, prepares me for something specific that I encounter in my day.  It is remarkable how dramatic the change in our lives and hearts, when we purposefully choose Him first.  It is both exciting and baffling to see what He is doing in and through me, simply because I am will to be available.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to enter into relationship with You.  Thank You too, that He modeled for us, how to be intentional in our time with You.  Forgive us for being “fast food” followers, and help us to order our days so that You are a priority and not an afterthought.  May our words and our deeds and the meditations of our hearts be pure and pleasing to You.  Lead us to love like You so that many may know and receive Your love.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

7 Comments

  1. Thank you Shannon for posting this great way to not only start the New Year but to be able to dig deeper in His Word
    God Bless

  2. I use this same method with my daily Bible reading and have been doing so for a couple of years. It forces me to pay attention, to search and to listen. Thanks for a great post!

  3. Great inspiration. Thank you for sharing an empowering message as a guide for begining new things and for begining the new year. These words are so true “No matter how much we have to do, we should always have time for prayer.” , thanks for remainding me that prayer works and is vital for our day to day journey. I appreciate you stopping by My Journal of Praise and liking posts. God Bless You.

  4. Shannon, I like the SOAP acronym– never heard that. I am striving for more discipline and consistency in my study prayer life and this is good direction. I have always liked writing out my prayers. I like that you shared that you weren’t always there and your process of learning– humble, thank you, Denise

  5. Love how God speaks…and teaches us through the power of His Word and prayer. Thank you for outlining this so beautifully and simply.

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