PRAYING DEEP IN GOD’S WORD
Prayerfully Memorizing Scripture
There is a sense in which the most important part of a tree is its root system. The stability and nourishment of a tree come from its roots. And, of course, the roots grow more slowly than the branches. So it is with our spiritual lives.
For this reason and others, I recommend Scripture memory as a discipline of prayer. It is not impossible to prayerfully memorize an entire chapter each week. The main issue is slowing down to memorize, allowing God to nourish your soul. Here is the process.
Read a verse over until you can say it. Then go to the next verse. When you have it down, go back to the first and read them together. Then memorize the next. When you have it memorized, go over all three together. Continue this process until you come to a good stopping place. If you divide a chapter into seven segments, you can memorize it in a week. The next day you will have to re-memorize these verses before you start on a new passage. You will soon find this rearranging your entire schedule. And you and God may be pleased with the outcome.
Time spent in prayerful review is the key to memorizing. In reviewing Scriptures I have already memorized, I inevitably misquote some of the verses. I try to resist quickly correcting myself and going on. I often go over the verse several times until I get it right. I use this same process to review each chapter for two weeks. That means I am always reviewing two chapters while memorizing another. I am aware that this will require a significant amount of time. And the current quarantine may be the perfect time to embark on this project.
You will find that such scripture memory produces fervent prayer. I didn't realize this until I started memorizing in this way. Three kinds of prayer come automatically in this process.
- I have to ask God to help me slow down and concentrate to fix the words in my mind. “Lord, help me memorize this verse!”
- “Lord, plant your word in my heart and transform my life.” The goal of my Scripture memory is for God to transform my mind, making me more like Jesus. It is mainly in the process of reviewing passages that God takes me deeper spiritually.
- While I am memorizing and reviewing, God brings people and needs to mind. And He gives me unusual faith as I take time to pray for them while I am deep in His word.
Even though it is automatic, such praying will also have to be intentional. You do not want to become so preoccupied with memorizing that you forget to pray. Scripture memory requires commitment. You will sometimes have to work at it when you are exhausted. You may have to pick up again after being too busy for a day or a week. You may want to set long term goals like memorizing the Psalms in six months, or committing the Gospels, an Epistle, or the entire New Testament to memory. Right now I memorize two chapters from the New Testament, then one from the Old Testament before returning to the New. All the time I work at this, I pray for God to work in my life. While God often uses memorized verses to minister to others, calling Scriptures to mind at crucial times, that is not not my main purpose in this. I do it for God to plant Himself in me.
This method is not “the law of the Meads and the Persians.” I encourage you to adjust this as God leads you. However, I do warn you against trying to shorten the time you spend doing it. God will bless every moment you spend in His word and prayer.
Your most powerful praying may come through the word of God.
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