Years ago I read a small booklet called Practicing the Presence of God. It was written by a monk named Brother Lawrence. He claimed to experience a continuous conversation with God; it was a source of great delight, and his character was gradually transformed so that he became more and more like Jesus.
I longed for that kind of a relationship with God. What could I do that make that happen? I discovered that one helpful activity that I could do was to spend time reading and discussing Scripture with him.
I developed a habit of meeting with Jesus at the beginning of my day to do just that. It became and still is the highlight of my day. Yet, as the day progresses, I sometimes lose the awareness of his presence. I don’t want that to happen. I long to keep the conversation going. One of the ways in which I’m learning to do that is by returning to my habit of Scripture memorization.
Jesus said that the Scriptures point to him. (John 5:39)When I think of them as God’s love letter to me, memorizing them becomes a natural desire, and I can continue my conversation with him throughout the day.
I started memorizing Scripture when I was in elementary school. I don’t know how many gigabits are stored in my memory, but I know that it’s always available to me. In the exact moment that I need them, the Holy Spirit brings to my conscious mind the appropriate words of encouragement, instruction, and comfort.
Though Scripture memorization is more challenging than when I was younger (it takes me a day to memorize just a few lines), it’s still possible. Each day, I read a Bible passage and pay attention to the verse or verses that the Holy Spirit highlights to me. I write this verse out on a 3 x 5 card. Below it, I write a prayer response to the Scripture that I’ve read. This gives me a focus for the day. It also helps me to personalize the content so that I’m not just memorizing words.
Here is an example:
SCRIPTURE FOR THE DAY
Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:19-20 ESV) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15 NIV)
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord, I confess that I am selective in my gratitude. I give thanks to you for some things but not for all things. I do not practice this “always” and “for everything” instruction. It’s time for me to make a change, to become as intentional about gratitude as I am about composing and singing melodies and writing poems. Please forgive me for my lack and give me the grace to change.
I take my Scripture card with me throughout the day. I place it on my dresser when I’m getting dressed. I place it on the table when I’m eating breakfast and read the content to my husband.
I place it near my computer so that I can briefly glance at it when I’m writing or doing other computer-related tasks.Doing this keeps me from getting distracted by other things, such as clutter on my desktop, internet surfing or checking Facebook too frequently.
When I go for a walk, I place my card in my pocket, pull it out from time to time and continue to reflect on it. When I’m fixing dinner, I prop my card up on the counter and review the verse.
Although I’m not always successful in memorizing my verse or verses for the day, constantly reviewing them along with my prayer still helps keep the “Holy Spirit conversation” going in my mind.
If you have never memorized Scripture, I hope that you will seriously consider doing so.
What would you need to do to get started?
Do you think that joining others in a Scripture memorization project be helpful to you?