(To read Part 1, click here)
I’ve been acting ever since the 6th Grade Talent Show. So you’d think I’d be pretty good at memorization.
Memorization was always the thorn in my theatrical side, and the cause of a couple of serious on-stage meltdowns. So when, in the fall of 2013, I was offered the talky lead role in an independent film, The Do-Over,* I gleefully pumped my fist, and then went and had a panic attack.
Just days before filming began,“Father Abraham” popped into my head. Not the Jewish patriarch, but the kid’s song of the same name, famous for its silly gestures. So I began making up goofy hand signals to go with my lines—not to perform on film, godforbid, just to help with the memorization process.
It worked! First day on set, my leading lady, a wonderful actress named Christine Jones, said, “You are so good at memorization!” and I snorted. But by the time shooting ended, I’d actually begun to think of myself as a good memorizer! (I’d heard that most people were visual learners, but had never thought to make memorizing words a visual process.)
Meanwhile, I was struggling through yet another dry spell in my prayer life, when that still small voice whispered, “Ahem, Father Abraham.”
Could memorizing and meditating upon Scripture positively impact my prayer life?
The Bible is full of statements about the benefits of burying God’s word deep in our consciousness:
- “I have hidden (‘treasured’ or ‘stored’) your word in my heart so that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
- “Welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, not merely hearers.” James 1:21-22
- “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3
For years I’d savored the complex flavors of God’s word, but had never made it a true meal, the food I lived on! It was time, I realized, to start hiding God’s word in my heart, implanting it in my mind! And now with my memorization issue resolved, I no longer had a reason not to try.
I began reading with an eye for My Verses, passages I felt led to memorize. As new verses made their way onto my prayer plate, I began noticing that they weren’t just filling empty space on my mental hard drive, they were displacing falsehoods and deceptions I still unconsciously believed. Submarines rise to the surface by displacing water with air. Spiritual growth is also a kind of displacement. It is, as Rick Warren puts it, “the process of replacing lies with truth.” Filling ourselves with truth enables us to rise above the surface of a lie-polluted world. (Nothing short of God-given truth can accomplish this—man-made platitudes always digress into leaden recitations.)
My spiritual life has been revolutionized! I no longer struggle to maintain meaningful prayer. With this God-given grid in place, I look forward to viewing each day from God’s perspective. I pray My Verses, using them as jumping off points to talk about the day, to pray for others, to hear God’s living word, that still small voice, and to reflect upon the written word embedded in my heart!
Could this be a step God is calling you to take?
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*Now retitled Promises to Keep and due for release in 2017.