W e’re reading this book and when the little girl on page 54 puts on her “habit,” a little hand here pats my shoulder and asks, “What’s a habit?” and I tell her this: a habit is something that is worn.
She flickers recognition, nods, turns back to the page, waits for me to read the next line, and I’m still sitting there realizing: A habit is what we wear. The attire of our days.
I look down at my jeans with the threadbare worn through knee. I have habits that desperately need changing.
And this is the one habit that changes everything: Putting His Word first — is putting first things first.
So when my friend Anne, one of the three Ann(e -ettes) from Saturday mornings, sends me her idea, with a schedule, for our church memorization project this year — Colossians in Year: Just 2 Verses a Week — I like the new threads for this year.
The ones where I clothe myself with Christ, the Thread that holds everything else together.
To Download and Print your own Commitment Booklet: Colossians in a Year: Just 2 Verses a Week
~ print and either have comb bound (cards are formatted to give space for comb binding), for ease of flipping cards, propping at the sink, etc.
~ or alternatively, cut and paste into a booklet like a pocketMoleskine
~with check off the boxes for each day of memory habit completed
~ built in weeks for review
~ find a reciting partner to recite to — have them sign each week on the allotted line
(only *two* verses a week — the document takes a bit to load. Thank you for grace!)
The link for the cover in a PDF can be downloaded: right here.
In making to-do lists to run our lives, why not make time to let God’s Word revolutionize our lives? Because making time to memorize His Word is putting the first things first.
If we fail to keep His Word in mind, we may simply fail. In the age of Google, who still memorizes God? Are we losing a way of life… and losing our way?
“What a heart knows by heart is what a heart really knows,” urges Dennis Lennon. And what the heart knows by heart is all that can calm the heart. Direct the heart. Strengthen the heart. What do our hearts really know? Will we who claim to be believers of the Word commit to shaping our lives with His Letters?
Committing the Holy to heart is the way we commune with the Holy Himself.
Scripture repetition is the way we daily revive our faith, the slow pumping of the Word of Life into the lungs with the breath of His Words.
And for the disciples of Christ, this Scripture Memorization isn’t a a one-time hurtle — but a life-long habit. A way of living to live the Way of Christ.
“We want this to be a discipline we practice for the rest of our lives. Think marathon, not sprint.” writes Beth Moore. “Never — NOT ONCE — have I ever known anyone to get to the end of a Scripture memory commitment and say that it didn’t make any real difference. Not a single time.”
So this Commitment Booklet: committing our hearts to Him and His Words to heart.
Seven Ways of Highly Effective Bible Memorization*
1. Old before New
Always take the old paths. Begin each day by reviewing the memorized verses first before learning the next verse. The goal is retention not accumulation.
2. Rinse and Repeat
And again. The only way to retain learned verses is to review them again and again over an extended period of time. Everyday’s memorization rhythm: Rinse and repeat.
3. Location, Location, Location
Like the mantra in real estate is location, location, location, so it is for really remembering: memorize the location of each verse. Memorize each verse number and don’t skip it. This is paramount and makes it much easier to memorize long passages and not inadvertently skip verses when reciting whole chapters. Location!
4. Take a Mental Screen Shot
Use your mental point and shoot and take a brain “photograph” of the verse. Read each new verse several times, hiding one word at a time, burning each word into your mind like light onto film.
5. Preach it
To yourself. Speak your memory verses to yourself aloud. Preach it aloud to the soul that needs it the most — our own — and say each verse with emotion and feeling. Whispering it while driving, walking, working not only is an easy way of reviewing and memorizing, it’s fulfilling God’s call to meditate on His Word day and night. And saying each verse aloud is a way to work the words deep into our memory: His Words never return void.
6. Repeat it for 100
For 100 consecutive days repeat aloud your memory work — all the verses, or the chapter, or the whole book. This is painless and demands no extra time: do it first thing every morning while getting ready for the day — in the shower, getting dressed, making the bed etc. Repeat it for 100!
7. Sabbath Sanctuary to see the weeds
After your Repeat it for 100, take the last Sunday of every month and make a sabbath sanctuary to read through your memory work. This will help you to “see the weeds” — any mistakes that have crept into your recitation of longer projects/chapters/books. Soak in His Word on a Sabbath — pluck out some weeds. Commit your heart — and mind —- to Him again.
(*Ideas adapted from Dr. Andrew Davis)
“I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding… than memorizing Scripture… No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends…” ~Charles Swindoll
Learning the ART of Memorizing
Attend to the verse. Do whatever it takes to attend to the verse and work those brain muscles. If you have to act it out, draw it up, write it down, or tape it everywhere. Make up actions and sign-language to correspond with the verse. Listen it a recording of the book of Colossians on CD/MP3. Listen in the car, while doing dishes, going for a walk. For children: Draw the verse in pictures. Fill in the blank. Write it down several times. Close your eyes and see the words.Do whatever it takes to Attend.
Review to Renew
Repeat. Recite. Recap. Reiterate. And then…. Recite to an accountability partner weekly. Each day, take just five minutes to review verses learned last week. Learning is important…but reviewing is paramount to retention. Repeating God’s Word renews.
Tie Daily Memorizing to Daily Duties. Tie reciting to routines: when you brush teeth, comb hair, make the bed, use the time to savor His Sweet Word. Tie memorizing to meal times. Bind Scripture learning to laundry, labor and living. Tying daily memorizing to daily duties is the living of Deuteronomy 6:7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Tie His Word to your life. Tie.
So goes the ART of Memorizing. And our motivation to keep memorizing? “Guard my words as your most precious possession… ” Pr. 7:2 (LB) “Your promises to me are my hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!” (Ps. 119:49 LB)
I have posted this before, but it inspires me every time:
Other memory projects online:
Memorizing Philippians by Easter (we considered this *brilliant* offering, but thought for some in our faith family, memorizing this many verses a week might be a hard start? We thought we could do two verses a week with Colossians with a schedule that covers a whole year.)
Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Books — just 2 verses a month ~ We liked LPM’s idea so so much that we are offering a Track 2 to “Colossians in a Year” to our faith community, just memorizing 2 verses in a month from Colossians
The Woman who Inspires Us to Return to Our First Love and make Commitment Booklets
Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart.
Next Week, and for the next three weeks let’s prayerfully consider: The Practice of Making a Habit What are your new habits for 2011 and how are you making them happen? We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….
Today, if you’d like to share with community The Practice of a Making a Habit … just quietly slip in the direct URL to your exact post….. If you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.