Last week on the ABC Jesus Loves Me Facebook Group, Allison shared Memory Verse printables that she created to help her family learn verses. I loved what she posted and asked if she would explain more. Here is what she shared:
What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee. Psalm 56:3
I just typed this verse from memory, the words flowing automatically, with no need to consciously recall any of them. This Scripture verse is, I believe, the first I ever memorized.
As a fearful child, my dad lovingly spoke these comforting, inspired words of David to me every night, tucking them into my heart as he tucked me into bed. Now, as a fearful adult, this is my “go-to” verse. As if on autopilot, I am reminded of this verse every time I feel anxious. My dad gave me a precious gift when he helped to impress this piece of God’s Word into my mind and onto my heart.
Through my growing up years, I memorized Scripture haphazardly for Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and my school Bible class. But it was only as a college student that I became convinced that memorizing God’s Word in chunks was a vital part of my walk with the Lord. Chuck Swindoll says it best: “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends!”
My attempts and resolutions have ebbed and flowed, but since my college years, I have memorized a few chapters of the Psalms, the first few chapters of Proverbs, the entire books of Philippians and James, and other scattered passages. I am currently memorizing Psalm 27 to help fight my fear problem.
This is all to say that I am passionate about hiding God’s Word in my heart!
Desiring God.org says that as we let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16) the Holy Spirit uses the Word to:
- make us more like Christ
- to triumph over sin
- to comfort and counsel our hearts (and the hearts of others)
- to better communicate the Gospel with unbelievers
- to commune with our God
If we are persuaded of this, we can’t help but get excited about guiding our little children in memorizing Scripture. Especially in these early years, when most children have brains like “sponges,” we should intentionally pursue the lofty goal of filling their minds and hearts with as much of God’s Word as we possibly can.
So…how? The old adage is right (if somewhat cliché): if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. I fail often but this is what I am planning to make sure that I teach my kids the spiritual discipline of Scripture memorization.
• Choose a portion of Scripture to memorize. My two oldest kids (4 and 2-and-a-half) are close enough in age that they learn the same portions together. Most often we will follow the verse provided in the ABC Jesus Loves Me Curriculum, but at times we choose a passage (or single verse) that we really want to address with our kids.
• Write the current verse on the “My Verse” card. Stick it up somewhere visible more to remind you than the kids.
• Depending on the needs of your child, teach him or her only portions at a time, adding gestures to make it “stick,” and accepting what your child can do. For example, my 2-and-a-half year old “recites” John 3:16 by saying “God – loved- the world – gave – only Son – believes – perish – everlasting life.” That’s all he can do right now and I’m cool with it.
• Don’t stick too strictly to a timetable of memory completion. Try and go over the current verse(s) every day, but if it’s not going well…cut your losses and try again tomorrow. In the same way, if your little learner is really struggling day-after-day to commit a verse to memory, give it a break, choose something new, and try again in a few weeks. My kids pick up some verses in the blink of an eye, and some take f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
• Explain to them what they are memorizing. Learning words and sentences without having an inkling of their meaning is not very beneficial. There is no need to provide an exposition on the verse, just explain the gist to your littles.
• When your child is pretty confidently reciting the chosen verse or passage, write it on the My Verse Chart sheet and choose another! Once a week, review previously memorized Scriptures to ensure that these stay fresh in your little one’s mind.
If you are like me, our attention easily diverts to some of the secondary benefits of our kids memorizing their “verse of the week”: throwing “Scripture missiles” at them when they are less-than-godly, showing off for the grandparents, completing the week’s target verse, and patting ourselves on the backs for being great moms. But let us always remember to teach Scripture to our little people with this number one, ultimate, supreme motivation held high: that they would know God.
Click to print the My Verse and My Verse Chart printable created by Allison.
Allison was born in the United States, raised in South Africa, now raising her own in India. Speech Pathology and Audiology graduate turned graphic design addict. Wife to Tommie and mama to McKenna, Logan, and Tyler. Follower of Jesus.
If you love the memory verse printables that Allison made for the ABCJLM family and this blog, you will be excited to know that Allison has an Etsy store filled with more cute personalized printables.And, Allison is giving away her personalized digital party package ($40 value) to one Our Out-of-Sync Life reader. You will receive by email the following:
Thank you card
Welcome birthday sign
on the rectangular image below to enter. This giveaway will end on Monday August 29th @ 12:59 p.m (CST). Winner will be announced August 30th on this blog so be sure to come back and see if you have won!
See more of the cute items Allison has available in your EyePopDesigns Etsy store.
This giveaway is closed…winner announced here.
Find out more information about using Teachable Moments and Memory Verses with the book Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments by Kara Durbin and this blog post.