The Hubble Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990. Since then it has captured breathtaking photographs and remarkable scientific data. But last month it broke. One of the gyroscopes it uses to stabilize and aim the massive telescope at a precise point in the sky stopped working.
Scientists were frantic to fix the Hubble, and they resorted to every trick they could think of. Like when you attempt to try to fix your home WiFi, they tried the NASA equivalent of unplugging it and plugging it in again. When “turn it off and back on again method” didn’t work, they took the next step—they shook the telescope back and forth. Amazingly, the jostling rattled something back into place and violà, the Hubble Telescope works again.
This reminds me of something very similar in my life as a Christian. It’s really easy to get stuck in our pursuit of God, isn’t it? A lot of us can point to a period in life—maybe in high school, college, or during a difficult season—when Bible reading and prayer came easy. But one day we stopped reading and praying, and before we knew it weeks, months, or even years went by.
Maybe it’s time for you to turn your faith “off and back on again.” Or maybe its time to shake it back into place!
The only question is, how do we do that? We’re not machines, and we don’t have switches. Today I’d love to encourage you to try out a really simple and straightforward method to jumpstart your Bible reading and prayer life: The S.O.A.P. Bible Study Method. S.O.A.P. is an easy to remember acronym that will give you a step-by-step process to keep your mind and heart focused.
First, S- Scripture. Very simply, read a passage of the Bible! If you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend starting in one of the Gospels, perhaps Mark or John. Another great place to read the chapter in the book of Proverbs that corresponds to what day of the month it is.
Second, O- Observe. Write down what you observe in the passage. What does this passage teach you about God? What surprises you? What do you notice?
Third, A- Apply. Ask God if there is something in this passage that you're supposed to apply to your life today? It’s also helpful to write this down because then you can go back the next day or week and assess as to whether or not you’re making any progress.
Finally, P- Pray. Pray to God in light of what you’ve read. Ask him to help you today and to assist you in applying what his word teaches you.
I encourage you to try this method this week. It might just be the very thing that will shake your heart back into place.