The following example represents one day of devotions. If 1 Samuel 16 were the chapter you read for the day, that is an example of what the S.O.A.P. journaling might look like. Feel free to spend more time or to dig deeper.
(1 Samuel 16)
“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
God is not concerned with my outward appearance, only with my heart and attitude
I am going to work at being sincere and authentic and care less about what others think of me
O Lord, oftentimes I care too much what people think and not enough about what you think. Please forgive me, and help me to yield and surrender to your Holy Spirit and help me to hear your voice.
For S (scripture) the example uses only one verse out of the chapter (verse 7), but you may want to write in four or five verses that stick out to you. For the O (observation) you may want to dig a little deeper. For example, maybe you will consult a commentary or use a study Bible to find out the historical background of the passage you are reading, which may mean you have a more in-depth observation. The A (application) is simply where you write down how this observation and the Scripture passage you read applies to your life. Then for P (prayer) spend time praying through and listening for what God might be speaking to you. Write out a short prayer of praise to God. Be honest, if you are struggling tell Him, and then ask Him to empower you to apply what you are learning to your life. Use this short, written prayer to launch into a time of prayer where you pour out your heart to God. He hears you.
Each day may look different. Some days you may have more time than others. Some days you may get a lot out of your devotional time, and some days you may feel like you didn’t get anything out of it. Stick to it…you will never regret developing the habit of spending time in the Scriptures.