By Sarah Humphrey
We have spent the last year of our lives practicing one habit in particular. Can you guess what it is? It involves water, soap, rubbing two hands together, and sometimes singing “Jesus loves you” three times in a row.
With COVID, school closings, and social distancing, everyone was sure to hear the phrase “Wash your hands” way more than one time a day. In fact, it was a sentence we saw on billboards, TV screens, signs on storefronts, and sometimes even in our very own homes. Washing our hands never seemed to become quite so commonly discussed, even though it’s an age-old habit that most of us have (hopefully) been doing for years.
Handwashing is a practice that usually takes just thirty seconds at a time but also can take longer if we need it to. That’s often how I look at studying the Bible alongside kids. As an adult, we can hear something and then rush through it to either: move onto something else, pass over the information quickly, or even think that we’ve caught it all. But most of the time, if we’re honest, it’s easy to miss a lot of information and thoughts about what we read, see, think, and pray about.
This is one of the reasons I love teaching children. They ask great questions, and they ask a lot of them. They think literally and love details. And they also love to learn and process stories. Throughout my last few years of talking through the Bible with our own kids, I’ve learned the beautiful art of slowing down to dissect different pieces and parts of Scripture. Most commonly, the prayer method called “SOAP” has been a great model for adults to learn how to navigate through the Bible while also bringing a practical application for what they are learning.
I’ve found that it also works quite well with kids, just like reminding them to wash their hands. It’s simple, practical, and doesn’t take up too much time in their day, but it’s extremely effective. If you’ve never heard of the SOAP model, it’s simply this:
When you’ve identified one Scripture that you want your kids or ministry kids to learn, you simply write it out. This Scripture can come from a Bible story you’re reading about, a daily devotional, or simply one that means something special to you. Next comes the Observation portion, which means to think through what you see, hear, or observe about the Scripture. Is it comforting or correcting? About bravery or peace? Is it a command or a question? Kids come up with all kinds of wonderful questions during this portion of the exercise, so take your time and enjoy their thought processes here. Next, you come up with an Application to your verse, so that you can walk out what you’re learning in a practical way. Following this, a simple Prayer of confession, gratitude, or help is a great closing place for what everyone has learned.
We’ve all been reminded to wash our hands well this year. It’s just as beneficial to make sure we use SOAP in our daily lives as well. Give it a try, and enjoy the conversations it sparks between you and the children in your life!
Sarah is a wife and homeschool mom to three kids while also working as an artist, author, and voice actor. Her writing and doodling can be found in her devotional, “40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood” and her voice in several commercials, children’s books, and audiobooks. She loves encouraging women and kids to embrace self-care, utilize their gifts, and become leaders in the community around them.