11 March 2013

Anyone Can Memorize

(The daffodils that seemed to bloom under the snow.)

Things had gotten to a difficult state.  I was trying to revive my regular memory-verse/chapter/book time in my new life in Virginia, but it was difficult.  I was constantly resting (from graduate school, I thought), and each day's schedule was just a little different.  My mornings haven't been very early, so the early morning fresh air and solitude were not working as a viable memory time slot this fall.

Finally, I started forcing myself to work out one verse every day.

Slow going, I thought, since I used to do several a day during my morning walks.  But I found it harder to memorize in the house, with the day's work surrounding me and waiting for me.

Then the extra calendar came.  It's one from a mission organization, reminding me at the beginning of each week to pray for a specific mission project.  I already had a calendar for the daily appointments and other such details, so this hung next to it blank, there for the photos.

One day, however, it hit me:  I needed a Bible memory schedule, a set of goals to get me really back on track.  I wanted to do more than just review what I've learned before.  I wanted to set more goals, and not only set them, but actually reach them.  I was about to draw out a grid or make one on the computer, when it hit me:  the extra calendar!  I grabbed it, quickly worked out a system, and got back on track.  With both my memory verses, chapters, and books, as well as the reminders to pray for specific missions projects (one each day each week).

Want to know what the plan is?

It's simple, and here it is:
1.  Memorize three verses per day, from the end of a chapter to its beginning.
2.  When the three verses per day add up to a whole chapter, take one day thereafter to review said chapter.
3.  Review one other chapter from current Bible book.
4.  Review one chapter each from no more than two previous books.
5.  Cross off the accomplished goals, which are written on the calendar.  (That makes me feel really great about reaching a goal.)

BOOKS?  You might wonder how I got that far.  Well, this is the disclaimer:  I have memorized a book of the Bible, but I wouldn't say it's perfect.  I had just decided one day that if I had to memorize the music I performed (and sometimes twenty-plus pages of it), there was no reason I couldn't be memorizing large portions of Scripture.  The reason for the review is that my mind does not automatically retain the first "memorizing" of something.  I have to keep going over and over and over and over it, again and again.  But I do find that the more I use my memory, the easier it is to use my memory.

I'm on my second book, which is smaller than the first by ten chapters.  I'm hoping to have the ground work done on it in just a few weeks (if I stick to my calendar).  Then I'm planning to work on a small book, before biting off a bigger one again.

Why do I memorize?

My reasons are simple, and here they are:
1.  The things I've memorized help me to be more in tune with what I'm reading in other parts of the Bible, and thus I see it more and more as a whole, rather than separate parts.
2.  The things I've memorized come time my mind sometimes.  Why not make that Bible texts and hymns, instead of whatever I can find on the radio (and I'm not bashing all radio, but you know what I mean).
3.  The process of memorizing helps me understand passages more deeply, and challenges me to grow in my own walk of faith.  (Try repeating the response of courage Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego gave to King Nebuchadnezzar over and over and over without it humbling your own fear of trial.)
4.  And this is related to #3:  When I'm going through trial, I hope and pray that God will bring these words of faith to my mind.

That's where I am with memorizing.  You know what?  I think you can do it too.  It might take some slow going to get your memory active and in shape--don't take on a whole book of the Bible any more abruptly than you would a marathon if you hadn't been running regularly beforehand.  But set yourself some goals.  Reach them.  Then set more goals.

I know you can memorize, too.  You do it all the time.  That recipe, that song you hear over and over, that road you take to the grocery store, you name it.

I'd love to hear how it goes for you.


  1. Heidi, this is an excellent, and inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your story, and giving me a little nudge to get back to work. Friendship is that way.

  2. Praise the Lord that you are inspired again, too! Some days, I really don't want to memorize, because it really is hard work, even though in the long run I know it's good for me. Let's pray for each other on this journey!

  3. Thanks, Heidi! I got inspired, and called a friend to memorize with today! We got 11 verses down in one hour!

  4. Wow! Sounds like the Lord really blessed you!


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