Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Incredible Memory

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." Psalm 23:2

Last night, as I lay in bed almost asleep, I was thinking, and praying a little bit. For the past few weeks I've been tired. With a cold and other things keeping me from getting a good nights rest, I'm just tired of waking in the morning- looking forward to going back to bed. And last night I was just kind repeating Psalm 23:1 to myself about not wanting, and then I started rolling out the rest of the Psalm. The whole thing. I recited it in my mind, oh, about a dozen times or so, and then I thought about how incredible it was that I was remembering this Psalm.

Psalm 23 was the very first thing I ever memorized from the Bible. I was seven years old, and I had to memorize it to earn a music badge for the girls group I was in. I worked very hard at it, memorized it, and here I am, twenty-some years later and I still remember the entire thing. That's rather remarkable to me, because it's not something I dwell on very often. It's not like every once in a while I think to myself that I should recall Psalm 23, because I don't. But when it comes up every once in a while, it always makes me smile, because it's as if I have those verses written right on the wall of my brain, I just remember it so well. And last night, after repeating it a few times, I have to say that I fell into a very deep, very peaceful slumber. This morning I woke up as if I had been led beside green pastures and still waters, because for the first time in several weeks I do feel refreshed this morning.

Something that we've been learning a lot in church lately has been the importance of learning our scripture- committing it to memory so that we can pray the verses that are in the Bible. I'll admit, despite the fact that I memorized a whole lot of Bible verses in my youth, there are actually very few that I can recite and remember. 1 Corinthians 13 is one chapter I know, as well as Psalm 23. Beyond that... well, I know I know more, but not off the clear top of my head. Last night, I really think that I needed to spend some time dwelling on Psalm 23. I thought about every single verse as I rattled it off, and thought about what it could possibly mean for me today. The one that stuck out the most for me last night was leading me to green pastures and still waters, because that just sounded so peaceful and restful- like a much needed vacation.

This also makes me think harder about helping my children commit verses to memory. I still remember the entire 23rd Psalm from when I was in second grade! Next year when we do our homeschooling, we'll definitely be doing a Bible class, but where I previously may have discarded the idea of verse memorization, I'm thinking we'll make that more important. And emphasize it somehow. I recall, growing up, having to have a verse memorized each Sunday for Sunday School class. No one ever really memorized it. There were two or three of us who could memorize quickly when we arrived in the morning. We'd scramble to learn it quick, and then we would be the ones to recite it and then the other kids would kind of go off whatever we recited. But about ten minutes later the verses were forgotten and we'd moved on.

So I'll be thinking about this. I know of the importance of memorizing the Bible, but before, it just didn't seem practical. Last night, it showed itself practical for me, in more than one way. I would love to know if there are any memorization tips out there. Whether for a soon-to-be homeschooling family, for children, or for an adult, I would love to hear them! In the meantime though, here is the 23rd Psalm as I have it memorized, in all it's King James splendor.

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." Psalm 23 (KJV)

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