Memorization: Picturing the Word
Memorizing God’s Word is a discipline that can easily become a source of pride and an act of duty. To fight this tendency, memorization must be accompanied by meditation. One way this can practically play out is listed in the Women’s Ministry memorization booklets on Philippians.
Read through the passage several times, praying as you do and asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth to you. As you ponder the words you read, start drawing them. You may have a train of thought that inspires you to draw a few pictures (as below), or you may just have one “thought” that sticks out. No need for grandiose creativity or amazing skills (be encouraged by the stick figures you see here)! This is between you and the Lord. It is to help you fix your mind upon him and to turn your passage in to prayer.
Here’s an example of what this might look like using Psalm 84:11. May you be encouraged by his good Word here.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
Look at the first drawing. The saint is bowing down in the throne room of God; you can see the steps that lead up to the Lord’s throne. She is there kneeling with her head bowed as she offers up prayers, which are her fragrant, whole offering to him. These are her “all kinds of prayers and requests.” They are the worries, the insecurities, the fears, the pride, and the sin that are hindering her daily walk. She is already covered in Christ’s righteousness, and Christ shines around her. His life is her shield and her covering to boldly approach the throne. And in the throne room, there is an invisible shield of light that protects her prayers, her soul, her mind, and her heart.
In the second drawing, the saint has finished pouring out her heart. Now pouring from her mouth in the throne room are praises! There is singing, laughter, and proclamations of the greatness of her God. She has found a place to lay her prayers and offerings before his altar, and now she “sparkles” with joy as she lifts her hands before the throne. See how her face is lifted! God looks upon the face of the saint who sings and prays, and who boldly enters his courts covered in Christ. And her God hears her (Ps 84:4,8,9).
Notice the third drawing; the saint is now standing up in the throne room! She is still sparkling with joy, shielded by Christ’s righteousness, and shielded by God’s light. She trusts in her God, and she pours out many songs, prayers and praises continually. She stands in joy as God withholds nothing from her; he has heard her prayers and now he answers her! He bestows honor and favor upon her by sending down to her things like joy, perseverance, faith, and strength. These are the penetrating arrows of Christ’s life that cause her to be equipped, full of God, transformed, and ready for every good work; these are the kinds of arrows that kill off her flesh and disable her fears, allowing the life of Christ to rule and reign in her. She goes from strength to strength (Ps 84:7), and she walks about with uprightness and freedom in his courts as she rejoices, prays, and sings (Ps 84:11).
Will this passage be easily forgotten by this saint? Will the pride of accumulating verses to memory hinder her? Will the duty of memorization worry her? No. As she accompanies her memorization with meditation, as she approaches God before his throne, as she begins to long to dwell in his courts, as she envisions herself before the Lord and puts upon paper the words she reads, she will be shielded by the very Word that she is working hard to recite.
Now, go forth! And meet, meditate, and memorize with your God, knowing that as you do, he is your very good sun and shield about you.
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