Praying the Word

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Photo courtesy of “Stuart Miles”/Freedigitalphotos.net

Memorise Bible verses.

For most of my Christian walk I would switch off when some one mentioned those 3 words. Reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament was hard enough without adding more work to it, like memorising verses.

Guess what? I didn’t actively do it. My heart didn’t value its importance.

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you! (John 15:7 NASB)

Jesus made that promise to us. I would often reflect on the second half of it: Jesus will give me what I desire. But there’s a two-letter word at the beginning of that sentence that makes the second half conditional upon the first half.

“If”

If we are walking with Jesus, His words will be inside of us. Remember those school and college days when we studied for exams? I found I got the best results when I didn’t just read material a few times, but I memorised it. There were some (not many) exams I knew the material so well, I could picture entire pages of stuff. It was those exams I blitzed.

But study was hard work wasn’t it? And that was my problem. I didn’t want to memorise verses because it was hard.

Learning to love

Jesus makes a statement in John 14:23a:

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word.”

RC Sproul in his commentary on the Book of John adds this very poignant comment to this statement:

“there is an inseparable relationship between your affection for Christ and your affection for the Scriptures.”1

As you know I recently read the entire Bible in 6-7 weeks for Lent. It was hard work. But gee, I loved it.

I’ve found over the last three years or so, the more I read the Bible, the more I love it. Yes, there have been many days when I haven’t wanted to do it. But I do it. It’s the old exercise analogy: muscles build by exercising them.

And just like working out I’ve used different methods: daily devotionals, commentaries, read different versions, and so on. Like exercise, we need to change our routine frequently to keep getting benefits.

I write verses down most days in my journal. Most days I now pray verses. I have some key verses on post-it notes stuck to my Mac but I still don’t have a structured memorisation program. Ann Voskamp and Liz Curtis Higgs do. They’ve engaged a community of believers to memorise 3 chapters of Romans over the course of the year. Have a look at this video where Ann and Liz are checking their progress. Isn’t it fabulous?

We’re all a work in progress. We don’t need to have all the answers. Moving in the right direction is important. Keep pressing into the Lord.

We’re all probably familiar with God’s command to Joshua:

“Do not let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night.” (Joshua 1:8)

Once again I’ve typically focused on the second half of that command, rather than the first: “Do not let … depart from your mouth”

Why was Joshua so successful? He kept saying the Word all the time. Sounds like a good idea.

Let me close with this great quote from Steven Furtick:

“Hearing the Word initiates faith

Speaking the Word activates faith

Doing the Word demonstrates faith.” 2

What techniques do you use to memorise Scripture?

Wishing you a joyous weekend.

Note 1: John, St Andrew’s Expositional Commentary. RC Sproul, Reformation Trust Publishing, 2010. Page 279. 2. Sun Stand Still, Steven Furtick, Multnomah Books 2010, p 109

4 replies
  1. Lucy Morgan-Jones
    Lucy Morgan-Jones says:

    Hi Ian! Great post. I always enjoy and chew over your blog posts, even if I don’t comment on them all. 🙂

    I find I memorize scripture best by listening to them by song. I have 4 children in various stages of growing (all under teenaged years) and have sat through LOTS of videos and music cd’s of theirs. Most scripture I know off by heart came from listening to Colin Buchanan movies. He really makes scripture memorization FUN! I dare you to look up his John 14:6 song. You’ll never be able to quote that without adding ‘cha cha’ at the end. Or Isaiah 53:6 and not be able to add ‘baa baa do baa baa’ to it.

    When I first became a Christian back in late 2003 I had a 2yr old, and a baby. I brought a “Scripture Rock” cd for children from Koorong and listened to that for a few years. I still have that cd and from it I know a lot of memory verses. Something about relating words to songs somehow makes them stick. For me, anyway. 🙂

    Third Day have a few parts of verses, especially Psalms in their songs. They stick with me as well.

    All the best as you write for His glory, Lucy

    Reply
    • Ian Acheson
      Ian Acheson says:

      I love that, Lucy. And it’s also probably one of the reasons I so enjoy singing the old hymns because most of them are based on verses from the Bible. Often I’ll look up an old hymn on Youtube and worship.

      One of the wonderful aspects of your kids having listened to all those CDs is that those verses will “hideaway” in their hearts, perhaps forever. The Holy Spirit will help remind them of particular verses when they need them most.

      Thanks Lucy for popping by and sharing.

      Reply
    • Ian Acheson
      Ian Acheson says:

      Hi Joanne, lovely to hear from you.

      Music is a great way to remember Scripture. Thanks for sharing the song. Yes, there are many talented Aussies around, like there are Canadians. Bless…

      Reply

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