For the past couple of years, I have felt a strong desire to really work on memorizing sections of Scripture. The psalmist says, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) I was envious of those who could call Scripture to mind without having to look it up and was especially motivated by worship leaders who effortlessly used memorized Scripture as part of the transitions between songs or as prayers during their worship time. But until this year, I had really struggled with it.
Memorizing a verse or short passage was not that hard for me. The problem arose when I stopped working on that particular verse and moved on to another one. How could I make sure that I remembered the passage when I wasn’t spending time every day repeating it? I would find that I would learn another passage but would not remember the ones that I had worked on previously.
At the beginning of this year, I found a system that has really made a huge difference for me. Since I started using this in January, I have memorized (and retained) about 25 different passages, some of which are entire psalms. This video does a good job of explaining how the system works:
I try to do a new verse every week with this system. I write the verse on an index card and place it on my desk at work so I’m reminded to work on it several times during the day. During my daily quiet time, I review the verses that I’ve already learned based on the system described in the video.
I can’t tell you how impactful this process of memorizing scripture has been for me this year! I remember the week I was learning Psalm 34 and was having a stressful time with some difficult people. It is hard to stay mad at someone when you are repeating “I will bless the LORD at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1) several times a day! I have used much of this scripture in leading worship, but it has also been extremely meaningful to remember in my quiet times or just as I go through my day. This quote from Chuck Swindoll has been proven true for me:
“I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.”
I encourage you to give this a shot. If you have any questions about it, let me know in the comments below or better yet, let me know how it works for you after you start.