This morning I woke up early and felt drawn to look at my copy of Jesus Calling, and as it often does, today's entry hit me right where I am, especially this portion:
Instead of regretting or resenting the way things are, thank Me in all circumstances. Trust Me and don't be fearful; thank Me and rest in My sovereignty.
At the bottom of the entry are three Bible verses, including 1 Peter 5:6-7. I got out my Bible and a notebook that was handy.
I opened the notebook and found some journal entries and notes from 2011 when I was pregnant with Zachary, and rediscovered a structure for quiet time that had been taught to me by Kenton Beshore, the senior pastor at Mariners Church.
It uses 3 four-letter acronyms: PERS, SOAP and ACTS.
I am a PERSon... how am I doing?
I answered each of those questions, thinking mainly about yesterday and this morning, and identified that although I had a good day physically, some anxiety, loneliness and self-pity had crept in, as well as disconnection in my relationships.
Then I turned to the cleansing SOAP of God's word:
For the Scripture I wanted to use 1 Peter 5:7, cast all your anxiety on the Lord, but I "accidentally" turned to 1 Peter 1:5-6:
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
For the Observation portion, I just restated the Scripture in my own words, and wrote about how in general it related to the Jesus Calling message to be thankful and trust in all circumstances.
For the Application, I made the observations more personal, reflecting on what I specifically needed to do in light of that...namely, to thank God for my heart condition.
For the Prayer, I chose to follow the ACTS model:
I praised Jesus as Lord of All and the Healer, I confessed my self-absorption and fear. Then I did the hard, strange part and thanked Him for my cardiomyopathy, for my heart failure, for my difficulty breathing. What is there to be thankful for about that?
It makes the truth that God gives me breath and life very real and immediate. It presses me to trust and depend on Him more than ever. It limits my ability to do everything I want to do so I need to seek Him more for wisdom and discernment about what He would have me be doing. Not only do I feel the need of my Savior all the more, but having been forced to slow down because of my condition, I have time and space in my life to respond to his invitations to seek Him.
After writing out those praises, confessions and thanks, the Supplications I made were quite different than what I would have said had I started my prayer with a request.
I'm thankful that God woke me up early this morning to spend that time with Him, that He reminded me of PERS, SOAP and ACTS. I share it because I hope it might be useful for your own quiet times with Father, Son and Spirit.