You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 ESV
My “claim to fame” can be traced back to when I was twelve years old. I won a three-foot long Hershey candy bar for memorizing and reciting the most verses during a week-long children’s crusade. Years later, when I became an AWANA leader I enjoyed sharing that with the new kids in my class. Their eyes would grow wide and I think they may have salivated a little. I go on to say that while that candy bar is long gone, what I memorized is still in my mind and heart.
A few years ago after attending a break-out session at a women’s retreat on scripture memorization, I endeavored to learn a new verse each week for a year. I would choose a verse beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelation. And of course, it took longer than a year because there are 66 books. Some weeks were challenging. But I also made it a point to learn a new verse and not fall back on verses I had learned in the past.
Some see scripture memorization as only for kids. And I admit a child’s mind is like a sponge and their memorization skills are strong for the most part. However, we need to pursue, as the scripture says, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11) KJV says, “hid.” When I think of the word “hid” I see it more of protection; cherishing instead of concealing.
What’s the point of scripture memorization you may ask. Isn’t recitation basically a mechanical exercise? Okay, when I was memorizing all those verses back in the day, I had my eye on a prize. And I succeeded. I got recognition for my success as well. As I stated earlier, the candy bar was eaten and processed by my body.
If you’re like me, as I have aged my memory has aged as well. I used to recall names, dates, etc. with little to no effort. Now, some of those things are a challenge. Sometimes embarrassingly so. I often joke that there is a compartment of my brain dedicated to the 1970s. I only need to hear the first line of a song that played on the radio during that decade before singing out the chorus and bridge. Same thing applies to commercial jingles and useless trivia.
But memorizing scripture has never been useless nor trivial. There have been times in my life when a verse has popped into my mind at just the right time. Many of those times have been in the middle of the night or while driving. Every time those precious words of God have brought me peace.
So, my challenge to you is make scripture memorization part of your quiet time or however you feel led to do so. Choose a verse(s) and recite it every day for a week. Then choose a new verse for the next week and so on. Write it on index cards, sticky notes, etc. and place it where you will see it on a daily basis. There are apps and websites that can assist, too. Involve your spouse, children, friends to make yourself accountable.
Heavenly Father, I love Your Word. It is Your love letter to me. Help me as I endeavor to hide it in my heart. Amen