I’ll never forget coming home late one Sunday evening when the kids were little….
The night was dark. No moon. No stars. I held John Michael’s hand as we left the car and walked toward the house.
Suddenly the deep-pitched barking of a very large dog broke the stillness. It sounded as if it were right behind us.
Startled, we both tensed and squeezed hands. I was about to reassure him that the dog was several houses away. But before I could, in a quivery little voice, my four-year-old son began to quote:
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
I’m so glad that Colleen, John Michael’s Space Cub teacher, didn’t think three- and four-year-olds were too young to hide God’s Word in their hearts.
As a result of her dedication and the fact that we both practiced our memory verses as we drove in the car, my little boy knew fourteen scriptures by the time he was five. And it wasn’t just head knowledge or rote memorization, because the Holy Spirit brought it to his heart when he needed it.
When it was dark and danger barked loudly behind him, John Michael didn’t look to me. He knew to look to God.
Tips for Memorizing Scripture
Summer can be a wonderful time to add scripture memorization to your family fun. School’s over, there’s no homework. Instead, together with your kids, the whole family can bond as they practice “hiding God’s Word” in their hearts.
Learn a verse over breakfast. Rehearse it in the car. Recite it at night. What a beautiful way to put into practice the command found in Deuteronomy 6.
Memorizing verses together can be a real bonding exercise and a fresh spiritual unity as everyone works on learning the same verses.
Now, I know a lot of us adults are convinced that we can’t memorize scripture, but here’s a simple method that changed all that for me. It works great for kids as well:
~ Say the reference of the verse and its first phrase together.
~ Repeat three times.
~ Learn the second phrase by saying it three times.
~ Now, say the reference and first two phrases together three times.
~ Continue to add additional phrases as needed, using this method.
~ After reciting the passage, add the reference once again at the end.
~ Repeat the whole thing three times using this pattern:
Here’s a short video from my Lazarus Awakening DVD Study that shows how the method works…
The secret to retaining the scripture you’ve memorized is review, review, REVIEW! Here are some tips to help you:
- Carry a copy of the verse(s) you are memorizing. (Use the downloadable versions at end of post, or screenshot the verses on your phone.) Use spare moments to practice saying them aloud.
- Work with your kids to review. The goal is to say the verse correctly, word for word. Have the listener signal a mistake, but give the one reciting time to correct it.
- Keep reviewing. Rehearse the verses daily for the first couple of months. It is crucial to being able to recall them later.
Everyone can memorize scripture using this simple method. I’ve seen it work with all ages. From 9-year-old kids to 90-year-old women!
Ten Powerful Verses Everyone Should Know!
I’ve compiled a list of ten verses you can start memorizing with your children this summer. (I’ve used the NIV 1984 version of the Bible, but you can find a download of NLT version at the end of this post):
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
- But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
- Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
- Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
- Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
- Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
- I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Take Them With You
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” David wrote in Psalm 119:11. I can’t think of a better reason to memorize scripture with my kids than that!
To help facilitate that kind of spiritual investment, we’ve created PRINTABLE verse cards you can run off for your entire family. (Click link below – print and laminate cards for durability and place them on a binder ring. Make each child their own set for easy review, and to carry through life!)
I’ll be adding another list of verses in the fall, because there are so many rich truths that our kids (and we!) need to know.
Not just in our heads, but in our hearts.
I’d love to hear from you…What “must-have” verses should I add to my next list?