Before we start to look at the details of how to do soaking prayer there is a question to be answered:
‘Is this something we can imagine Jesus doing?’
Do the gospels give us any clues?
Let’s just take a moment to think about this, Jesus spent whole nights of prayer with His Father, I don’t think He would have been talking for all of the time, a fair amount of it could have been spent resting, looking at the stars, listening to the sounds of the night, and giving consideration to all He was going to have to do for those around Him.
Plenty of the time could have been spent enjoying the truth that He was entirely and utterly loved by His Father and that in the not too distant future He would be going back to be with Him.
Sounds a lot like soaking to me.
If we want to soak what does it look like and how do we do it?
Is it something we can just ‘do’ or is it something which happens to us with no initiative on our part?
We are told to wait on God, to rest in Him, to find our strength and our joy in Him.
Soaking is one way we can do this, and yes, we can ‘just do it’, the same way as we can just choose to ‘do’ worship.
As Spirit-born and Spirit-indwelt believers know we come into worship or prayer of any kind by our own decision, and as we engage our hearts we find we enter into a different level of awareness, at least we do if not we’re not simply going through the motions…much as if we spoke to our husband or wife with seemingly loving words but with no inner connection.
There are various forms of prayer. We can pray in whatever way we find most comfortable, talking to God about whatever is on our hearts and minds. We can pray in tongues. We can intercede, this is my fierce praying, I put worship music on and join in and worship for a while then I start to pray for those big things which are on my mind and stirring my heart. I will walk around as I pray hard and I find God often speaks to me for other people during these times.
I daresay you can think of other methods of prayer, but my main focus today is to look at the practical details of soaking prayer.
First of all, it isn’t difficult, nor is it hard work.
You might say it’s a bit of a sabbath rest, a place of trusting Him with our time, our busyness, our to-do list.
When we soak we position ourselves in a place of conscious rest before God, knowing we are loved and accepted in Jesus, and we make ourselves deliberately available to Him.
When we spend time doing this we find our minds and hearts becoming filled with love for Him as we consider that He has loved us and shown us such extravagant mercy and grace.
I find having some worship music playing is good for me, if I tried silence I think I would find my mind wandering, but when I use familiar worship songs I find I resonate with some of the lyrics and they provoke me to prayer as well as worship.
As you begin it is helpful to make sure you bring anything that you are aware of which is in the way between you and God and deal with it. There’s no point trying to ignore it He will only bring it up while you soak anyway, so you might as well get it out in the open with Him and sort it.
I guess the easiest thing is to tell you what I do when I soak.
Right, the worship music is on, I start to worship God and if there is anything on my mind I talk to Him about it, whether it is sin in me, or something I’m carrying around with me praying for on and off through the day.
When I’m ready I start to worship and enjoy Him. At some point, probably a couple of songs in, I find a comfortable spot to sit or lie down.
I continue to engage with Him by focussing on Him, knowing His eye is on me and He loves me, it’s like we make eye contact.
I want Him to know I love Him and am utterly given over to Him and His will.
I respond inwardly to the worship lyrics when they are particularly appropriate for that moment.
An album I enjoy soaking to is Still Believe by Kim Walker Smith, by the time I get to the track ‘The King is Here’ I have usually settled myself down and I listen to those lyrics and rest in the truth of them, He IS here.
Pondering this for a while is enough to begin a change in my interior landscape, if I’ve been stressed then this will help me to know His peace as I start to realise He is there in the room with me.
As I continue in this way the quiet peace that comes is lovely.
I have known Him to show me areas where He wants to see change, whether that is me learning to deal with something differently or seeing something from another point of view. I’ve had both of these in the last couple of weeks and found them powerfully releasing.
Do I always get revelation? No, definitely not, sometimes it is simply a time of resting in His presence, making myself aware of Him, practising His presence, and telling Him that I am available and for Him to do whatever He wishes with me, but even when there is no significant shift in my understanding, I do know a greater level of peace, I know He has restored my soul, He has made me welcome as I have approached Him, taking Him at His word when He says ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’
When I feel He is showing me His heart about someone or a situation I stop to write in my journal whatever it is He is revealing.
If it is something in me I need to deal with I will do that in whatever way is appropriate. Sometimes it’s just a case of holding on to a new way of seeing a situation and making sure that changes the way I respond to anything similar in the future. I record this in my journal too, then I get back to soaking in His presence.
This really isn’t just a soft and fluffy way of spending time, it can be radical in dealing with issues, radical in the true sense of the word, getting to the root of something which has grown up over time.
Perhaps strongholds in thinking and reactions to life can be exposed as having begun through a particular event which He then shows you how to look at from His perspective. This isn’t always a cosy moment, but even if it is uncomfortable it communicates His deep kindness and brings release or the beginning of freedom.
It also brings responsibility as once we can see His point of view then we have to make the choice, will we engage with Him fully on this or not?
I could spend a long time recounting the ways He can meet with us to heal, change, deliver and bless, but I think the best thing is for you to find some time to experience this for yourself. He says He rewards those who diligently seek Him, and He means it. Seeking Him, and finding Him, is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.
It really is as simple (and as difficult) as finding time, space, and a comfortable spot, putting on some worship music, and making yourself available to Him.
I’ve learnt to experience more of His heart for me and for others.
I’ve learnt that even I can meet with Him like this, yes even me. All I can say in response to this is ‘Thank you Jesus.’
Consider yourself invited to experience Him in this way too.