It happened by accident, almost as a side-effect or by product.
In January of this year my church started a series in James. That week in my quiet time, I came across this verse:
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21.
How do I humbly implant your word in me?
I was tired of reading verses like: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18 and then find myself knee deep in the muck of frustration, harsh words and unfilled expectations by lunch.
I knew I’d stumbled on the answer to my unsuccessful attempts – I just needed to figure out how to implant the word in me. I thought if I memorized the Scriptures that would be a good start at implanting them in me. So I downloaded a few memorization apps and put them on my phone.
And it completely flopped. I would work on memorizing the verses and then the next day when I came back to them my brain was completely empty – it was as if I had never tried to learn them. After a week of this I was discouraged. When I was younger I could memorize quickly and painlessly. Not any more.
So back to the drawing board I went in a search of a way to implant the word in me. I came across this article The Easiest Way to Memorize Scripture. In it, he talks about reading the passage (or book) you want to memorize 50 times out loud before you begin to try and memorize it. I had no idea if it would work, but I knew reading 50 times was an obtainable goal and I had nothing to lose. I started reading the book of James in one sitting on March 19 with a plan to finish reading it 50 times on May 13. I used Strides app to record each day that I read the book. I liked this app because it sent me a notification each day to remind me to read. I also liked the little chart marking my progress. It’s free for IOS. I finished today.
Here’s my take-a-ways (in no particular order) from reading James 50 times.
- It doesn’t take much time at all -less than 15 minutes to read the five chapters in James.
- Imperfect effort over time = success. I didn’t finish by my goal of May 13th, but I did finish on June 13.
- I missed the part about reading out loud. Oops. See point above.
- A week ago one of my kids asked me something about James and I opened my mouth and shocked myself as verse after verse poured out. It wasn’t word perfect, but it was the general gist. I was so excited – maybe I will be able to memorize.
- Even yesterday at day 49 I saw new and fresh truths as I read – isn’t God’s word just amazing that way? What other book could you read 50 times and still be learning something. It truly is living and active. Heb. 4:12
- I’ve changed. Inside I mean. The Word has gotten implanted in me and I’m excited to see it worked! More of my words are gentle and open to reason, my heart is starting to remember that God is God and I’m not – and a million other little things. And I know it’s all God. What I couldn’t do on my own – He can do. His Word has the power to change.
What started as an effort to memorize Scripture turned into a dynamic quiet time. Each morning was fresh and different as I prayed through the Scripture I was reading. I would journal, draw pictures, google questions I had, argue with God and ultimately surrender. Many times in the past I’ve read through the Bible in a year – a telescopic view. This microscopic view was not something I planned to do, but I’m totally sold on it, and can’t wait to try it with other books of the Bible.
But, for now I’m resisting the urge and moving forward with memorizing James. I’ve found two apps I’m going to try and use, haven’t decided between the two. They are Fighter Verses and Scripture Typer. Both are available for Andriod and IOS. Scripture Typer has a free version and a pro version. Fighter Verses is $2.99. I also found this site which says they will teach you to memorize James in a month. Watch for updates in how my memorizing goes.
Exactly! I get as much hearing how you crawl out of the valley (using scripture) as I do the advice you give. There are tons of helpful links here, too. This is definitely a post worth bookmarking. I’m going to pray about a book to read 50 times. Maybe James… maybe 1 John.
Thanks. I’d love to hear what book you choose and how your experience goes.
This is great. Help for those of us who have, shall I say, not the best memory. I can’t wait to give it a try. I’m so excited, but I don’t know which book to try first. I think I’ll talk to God about this tonight and hopefully start on a book of the Bible tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!
I’m eager to see if it works as well for you as it did for me. I’m encouraged to finally be making progress in the area of memorizing. Looking forward to hearing what book you choose.
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