We memorize scripture to hide God’s word in our heart, but when believers talk about which verse, chapter, or book they memorized, I always feel left out, weak, defective, and impaired. Probably because I am impaired, memory impaired, that is. My memory is so damaged by disease that I sometimes forget the prayers I learned as a child, even the Lord’s prayer.
But during a recent cancer scare, Jesus showed me what it really means to keep His words on my heart. I’ll give you a hint: the word “memorize” isn’t even in the Bible.
If you struggle to memorize God’s word, then this post is from my heart to yours.
I noticed a new lump a few days before my 2nd annual post-cancer mammogram. The mammogram was inconclusive, so the radio-oncologist scheduled an ultrasound. An all-too familiar routine.
I commented on a prayer request thread in a trusted group of other bloggers, and one woman quoted “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Which reminded me of and my failed attempts to memorize scripture. The enemy uses confusion to hijack every attempt. Before I know it, he’s taken me on a journey to frustration, followed by a brief stop in self-condemnation, and ending with an extended stay in self-pity.
Leaning On Jesus
But this time, the desire to hide scripture in my heart was peaceful. I recognize Jesus’ nudges, so I tried again. As I prayed myself to sleep, Jesus gave me a few words to Psalm 23. I got confused when I couldn’t remember it right, so I just recited the same scattered verses until I fell asleep.
The next night I read Psalm 23 several times before bed, focusing on just the first 4 verses. It was better, but I still got confused and kept on changing the pronouns “He” and “Him” to “You.”
So, the next night, I just went with whatever felt natural. Now Psalm is no longer a Psalm of David. It’s my prayer.
Without further rehearsal, I prayed my Psalm 23 throughout the ultrasound later the next day. And days later, I can write it from memory.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
You lead me to green pastures and make me lie by still waters. You restore my soul.
You lead me down the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, because You are with me.
Your rod and your staff comfort me.
You prepare a table before my enemies and anoint my head with oil until my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What Memorizing Scripture is Really All About
I know this isn’t perfect, but neither am I. Jesus knows King David’s words aren’t mine. He also knows that I long for Him, just as David did.
You see, memorizing scripture isn’t about getting it right. It’s about drawing near with all that I am and everything I’m not. It’s just about me and Jesus.
5 Bible Verses to Help You Memorize Scripture
Would you care to join me in “memorizing” more scripture? I know it’s a big ask, so I’ve provided five Bible verses about the benefits of keeping God’s Word in your heart, whatever that looks like for you.
You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.Deuteronomy 11:18 ESV
The law of his God is in his heart;Psalm 37:31
His steps do not slip.
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.Joshua 1:8 ESV
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.Psalm 119:105 ESV
Memorizing scripture isn’t about getting it right. It’s about drawing near with all that I am and everything I’m not. Click To Tweet
My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.Proverbs 4:20-21 ESV
Join the Conversation
I’d love for you to tell me in the comments if you’d like to give it a go. What will be the first scripture you turn into your own prayer?
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