Why We Memorize The Promises

November 11, 2009 | 23 comments

I curl up next to her on the twin bed, and lay an arm over her waist, careful not to bump the IV.

We didn’t expect to be here this long, watching the moon reflect through window blinds. But the doctor said Lydia was still too sick to go home. So we dimmed the lights and pushed the button to recline her bed. Mama and firstborn pressed in to one another, and I breathed warm words on the back of her neck.

“Do you want to go first?” I asked.

“You go first this time, Mommy,” she said, then scooted back to press her pink-wrapped body in closer still. “But don’t say Amen, because then it will be like one big, long prayer, OK Mommy?”

And so we dropped eyelids, and I led the night’s prayers in Room 115 as the IV pump tick-tick-ticked like a metronome.

It’s for moments like these that we commit God’s Word to memory. When we “eat this Book,” its words stay like honey on our lips. On this night, we had no devotionals to read, no Bibles to highlight with green . We hadn’t even packed toothbrushes because we didn’t know we’d be having a slumber party in a hospital room.

But because she and I know Scripture, we can pray its Truths without holding the Book in our hands.

Because these Words? They’re written on our hearts.

“Dear God,” I began. “We know that you love Lydia. We rely on Your love. We know you hold her in your hand. And we know that You are here with us , even in this hospital room. We trust that you have good plans for Lydia, and we ask that you would heal Lydia, and give her rest on this night. We know You hear our prayer, and we thank you. In Jesus’ name …” (Colored words link to Bible verses — the basis for our prayers. Clicking on them will take you to the exact verses at www.biblegateway.com)

Lydia prayed, too, then whispered our Amen. And I planted Mama-kisses on fever-red cheeks.

But for me, it wasn’t time for bed. It was only 8:45 p.m. I walked to the family lounge down the hall, and looked for something to read. I chose a Bible and two outdated Guideposts magazine, circa 2005.

I walked back to our room with God’s Word in hand, pushed open the door, and turned on a dim light over my bed on the other side of Lydia’s room.

But a wee voice whispered. “Mommy?”

“Yes, Lydia?”

“I’m sorry,” she said. “But I’m not going to be able to sleep with that light on.”

And so I didn’t get to crack the emerald cover of a borrowed Bible. I switched off the light, and in this darkness, I took to reading honey-sweet Scripture written on the soul. On that night, it was all I had. And it was all I needed.

I whispered in the darkness:

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”

Pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

And I whispered this one last …

” …his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your ….”

Perhaps I stopped even before the last word was uttered. I’m not really sure.

But this I know, and this I pray you, Lord: May all my days — even my very last one — end this way: with Your Holy Word upon my lips.


Lydia and I returned home yesterday afternoon from the hospital. She was treated for dehydration and an infection. She is doing well.

I asked her this question today: “Why do you think people should memorize Scripture?” Here are her answers:

Reason 1 — “Because Bible verses can help you in hard times.” Lydia, age 7, said she has been praying the verse “Be still and know that I am God” this week to help her deal with struggles and losses we’ve faced. “It reminds you that even when bad things happen, God is in control,” she said.

Reason 2 — “When you memorize the words, it reminds you that the Bible is true not fake.” — Lydia’s right. Becoming familiar with Scripture sets His Truths deeper into our hearts, helping us to combat doubts that creep in.

Reason 3 — “We can memorize Scripture just for fun!” — We give our girls stickers and highlighters and encourage them to mark up their Bibles — to make these a “holy mess.” They add flower stickers to mark verses that help them “grow in grace,” and they add paw-print stickers on verses that help them in their “walk with Jesus.”

A FINAL NOTE: Rick Warren, from the Purpose Driven Life, has challenged us to memorize one verse a week for the rest of our lives. In one of his daily devotionals last week, Warren wrote:

“You must use the Word of God as your weapon against Satan. Jesus modeled this when he was tempted in the wilderness. … Memorizing Scripture is absolutely essential to defeating temptation. You have quick access to it whenever you’re tempted. … If you don’t have any Bible verses memorized, you’ve got no bullets in your gun!”

holy experience

Weekly, I join Ann Voskamp as we consider spiritual practices that draw our heart closer to His. This week, Ann asked us to share thoughts on memorizing Scripture. Would you consider joining us?

by | November 11, 2009 | 23 comments


  1. Sarah Salter

    I had a prodigal friend for many years who had a substance abuse problem. About two years ago, I sat down and wrote him a letter which was 100% scripture. I just strung together scripture after scripture, adding his name in to make it personal. "Lord, I thank you that you call Paul an oak of righteousness. I thank you that your plans for Paul are to prosper him and not harm him, but to give him hope and a future…" And so on…

    I sent it, never really expecting to hear about it again. The night the prodigal returned home, he came to see me. He stood in my kitchen and said, "It was that letter that brought me home. It changed my life."


    I'm so glad to hear that Lydia's doing well!

  2. Jennifer

    What a bright young lady you have! Leaning on His words is so comforting. I am so happy to hear Lydia is home and feeling better!

  3. Kelly Langner Sauer

    I'm so intimidated by all this stuff about Scripture memorization – I can't memorize to save my life right now. But this, THIS, I know, that He plants His promises into our hearts, and as we cling to the words we know about Him, we cling to the Word Himself, drawing near to Him…

    Thank you for this post.

  4. Graceful

    Lydia is one wise little girl! I wish I knew at 39 what she knows in her heart at just 7.

  5. Aimee

    LOVE your awesome idea of allowing highlighters and fun stickers for the children to have a creative, interactive experience with the Word. Brilliant.

  6. Tabitha@ichoosebliss

    This moved my heart immensely. Your daughter is wise beyond her years and I aspire to be just like her. 🙂

  7. I'm Angie

    Amen!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  8. Rosario

    You have an amazing daughter because she has an amazing God and an amazing Mom. As I was in the hospital I did not have my bible with me, but I prayed rosary and read scripture in a small devotional book. Speaking healing words into my soul and reminding myself of God's amazing love and healing power. Thanks for your post and your comments, I know that God has great plans, he is always with us.

  9. Darlene

    I am so glad to hear that Lydia is well. Lying by your child in the hospital… it reminds us that man's comfort has limits, but God's comfort knows no bounds. I am so glad that you have His word woven into your heart.

    Prayers for Lydia's continued health!

  10. Crystal

    Thank you.

    This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful moment you and your daughter shared.

    I have had moments like these with my son when he was only 3 years old. He couldn't speak to me, trapped in the prison of autism, but he could listen. And as I prayed with him, he snuggled in tighter to my chest.

    What a blessing your story is to my day.

  11. Dianne

    What a wonderful legacy you are giving your daughter. Precious post. Blessings, Dianne

  12. Lyla Lindquist

    What a way to fade into the night . . . meandering through the BibleGateway of your mind.

    Hard night for mom and little one, but so glad you both looked and found Him there with you.

  13. Lisa notes...

    Wow – what a wonderful post. It touches me. And what a mature little girl you have. I pray for her full recovery. Thanks for blessing us all today with your words and mother's heart.

  14. Karen

    What a sweet moment with your dear little one…such precious truths in this post….

  15. Julie

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing. I can't wait to help my kids make their Bible a "holy mess".

  16. Bina @ Bina's Pad

    Once again, tears…both for the sweetness of the prayers and the tenderness of a momma and her babe tucked together.

    Her devotion shows a picture of a wonderful servant-hearted mom…and it takes my breath away.

    Praying that she stays well and that you both get the rest you need…
    Hugging you from CA,

  17. Beth E.

    What a touching post! It's true that we need the word of God in our hearts. I, like Kelly, struggle with memorization. I do it…I post verses where I can see them until I memorized them…I keep index cards in my purse which have verses written on them. I will remember the verses for awhile, but then I forget them. Well, forget the chapter and verse info! I can quote some scripture, just don't ask me where it's from! I'm a work in progress, eh?

    So happy to hear that Lydia is on the mend. Thanks so much for your kind comment on my last post…you made my day!


  18. lynnrush

    Bless you, Jennifer.

  19. jasonS

    This is really, really good. Thank you!

  20. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Sweet "thang" both you and Lydia together, tightly clinging to God's Word and to one another. I hope she is miles better by now…

    I can't think of a better way to be rocked to sleep then with the treasure of God's breath on my mother's lips.


  21. travelmom

    what a wonderful memory Lydia (and you) will have to look back on in the years to come – that sense of knowing the presence of God, of recognizing the grace He gives in difficult moments – the grace that is poured out only when it is needed. What a great example of the blessings of the word of God; knowing it in order to speak it to ourselves and those we love, because it is part of our the very fabric of our being. Hoping Lydia is resting and feeling better each day!

  22. Amber

    Memorizing scripture is so comforting!!!


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