By Anja Meyer
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:2
While checking my son’s Literature work this week, I came across this quote he had to copy from his reading book. The words of Wilfred Grenfell, missionary to the North Sea and Labrador, really resonated with me, and I include it here: “Most gladly I give testimony of my experience concerning the memorizing of Scripture. To me it has been an unfailing help in doubt, anxiety, sorrow and all the countless problems of life. I believe in it enough to have devoted many hours to stowing away passages where I can neither leave them behind me nor be unable to get at them.”
We are commanded in Scripture to hide the words of God in our hearts and to think on these words day and night, and I can testify along with Mr Grenfell, that memorizing Scripture has been a huge blessing in my life. God’s Word has been a source of comfort as I mourned the loss of loved ones deep in the night. It has been chastisement when I became lukewarm instead of being on fire. It has been a fountain of wisdom when I needed it most.
As the mother of six young children, I also feel responsible for Scripture memorizing when it comes to my children. Children are like sponges and literally soak up what they are being exposed to. So, I do not want that opportunity to go by me. I also feel like the Scripture verses I memorized as a child are the ones that come to mind the quickest and clearest.
I want to help my children file these precious words of God away for many years to come.
Practically, life is busy, and there are many things to take up our time and focus away from memorizing Scripture. So, I want to share some ideas that have helped our family in our efforts to hide God’s Word in our hearts.
1. Start and End Every Day with God’s Word.
Every morning, my children and I read the Proverb of the day aloud. After many years of doing this, my older children can complete the second half of many Proverbs if I read the first half. This has taught me that slowly and surely is the way to go. By doing it every day, over and over again, it gently infuses our minds, and it sticks without us even trying to memorize it.
In the evening, my husband leads us in reading through the Bible and studying the portion we read thoroughly. We have been amazed at what children understand and retain from these studies, even from books like Daniel and Revelation!
2. Do Not Underestimate Children.
That leads me to my next point, that children understand much more than we think! A little sibling who quietly plays with a toy while we study, soaks it all in. A one-year-old who colors next to an older brother who is working on memorizing a Psalm, picks up and clearly quotes long pieces without any input from me. With my younger children, I use actions and big movements. They enjoy acting out the Scripture, and whenever they see the actions, they immediately bring the Scripture to mind.
3. Use the Many Amazing Resources That are Available to Help You Memorize Scripture.
All around my house, colorful posters with Scripture verses printed on them are stuck to the doors, walls, and cupboards. Many of my children have told me how much they appreciate reading the Scripture as they go about their day and how those verses are now fixed in their minds.
Another very helpful resource is audio Scripture media. Some nights we let the children listen to a Scripture reading as they go to sleep. Sometimes at lunch they listen to the passage we are busy memorizing, and other times, we will listen to Scripture while driving around.
I also have the app from VerseLocker on my phone, and I have found it very helpful. It has different activities to really help you lock Scripture into your heart, one verse at a time in the odd moment you may have a spare minute. My older children also enjoy using the app occasionally.
4. Reward the Children for Their Scripture Memorizing Efforts.
Recently, my (then) 11-year-old daughter spent a considerable amount of time and effort to commit the whole book of John to memory. Her dad and I felt that we wanted to give her a special reward for it to thank her for her effort. Two of her younger brothers were very inspired and are now working on memorizing the epistles of I, II, and III John, along with Jude. While we know the real reward in memorizing Scripture will be spiritual, and while we definitely do not promote bribery, we certainly want to show them our appreciation for their hard work.
I hope these thoughts will help and encourage someone. It is such a privilege to have the Scriptures available to us freely and easily, and hiding them in our hearts is such a blessing as we walk this pilgrim way! We can never make too much of the Word of God, spend too much time studying it, or memorize too much of it. So may you be encouraged on your journey of Scripture memorizing!
Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalm 119:140, “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.”