For the past few weeks I have been really convicted of how little I spend meditating on God’s word, memorizing scripture and praying. Those three things are so critical for the spiritual maturity of a Christian, but they take time and I am so easily caught up with “life” that I neglect the things that really matter. So for the past month or so I have been making a conscious effort to spend time in the Bible, turn off technology and instead pray and meditate on His word. It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t done it every day, but when I do take time to spend with the Lord, my perspective on the everyday life changes. Problems turn into moments to give God glory. Conversations become chances to share the gospel. Relationships become sweeter. And meeting up with friends turn into moments of accountability and encouragement. I have realized that the more time I spend doing the things of the Lord, the more I reflect God to those around me.
Now… I have always struggled with memorizing verses. I’ve tried everything! I’ve written them on index cards and taped them around my house. I’ve written them on mirrors with Expo markers. I’ve tried making them into songs. I’ve verbally practiced with friends… But nothing really seemed to work and it was so frustrating that I gave up. But last week one of my friends shared this post by Mary Kate Robinson, the blogger behind thelittleduckwife.com (and who just so happens to be married to one of the Duck Commander Robinson sons!), and I got excited. I finally found a way to memorize Bible verses that I thought might work.
All she does is write the first letter of each word on her hand and practices saying the verse, using the letters on her hand as a reference. I love that it incorporates the visual aspect that I need (#visuallearnerprobs), but it also makes you remember the verse and think about what it says, which leads to internalizing and remembering it. My favorite part is that since it’s on your hand, you see it all the time, but so do all the people around you. I have already struck up conversations with people because of the letters on my hand, and hopefully it will lead to providing opportunities to share the gospel. What an awesome witnessing tool!
This past week I decided to memorize Romans 12:12- Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. I thought it would be a good reminder to be intentional about my praying and that I need to remember to rejoice and be patient. But by the end of the week that verse became so much more than that.
Remember the whole meditating and praying I said I wanted to work on? Well at church on Sunday, we spent our normal Sunday school time praying as a body of believers. I love that my pastor has started doing this twice a month, because it brings us together as a church and we learn so much by casting our cares on the Lord, lifting others up and praying that His will be done. As we gathered together as the bride of Christ to pray for spiritual unity, boldness to share the Gospel, sanctification of believers and everything else weighing on our hearts, the verse I had been memorizing all week came to mind.
It says we are to rejoice in hope. As God answers our prayer, as He reveals His will to us and as we see the fruit of salvation around us, we are to rejoice. Just as David rejoiced before the Lord, we are to rejoice and give thanks for the hope and joy we have found in Christ. I have been reading through the Bible this year (one of my new years resolutions), and am currently in 2 Samuel. Time and time again, I see David falling before the Lord in humility and praising Him for His goodness and grace. My favorite story of David is when he was dancing before the Ark as it entered Jerusalem, worshipping God and singing His praises. We should be as full and satisfied by the Lord as David was on that day.
Just as we are to rejoice in hope, we must also be patient in tribulation. Life is not easy, which is something Jesus told his disciples multiple times. That truth is seen clearly throughout the Bible. In John, Jesus addressed this when he said “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). We will experience tribulations and heartaches, but instead of wallowing in despair or questioning God, we are to be patient. We need to present our requests to God (Philippians 4:6), pray for His will to be done (Matthew 6:10) and wait on Him (Psalm 27:14). When trials and tribulations come, when we are scorned for our beliefs and when we are faced with heartaches and despair, we need to trust in His timing and plan. We need to be patient and know that He is sovereign above all things.
The past few months at church, my pastor has made it a focus of the church to pray. Once a month during our normal Sunday school time and once a month instead of Wednesday Bible study, we spend the time in prayer. At first I was hesitant… We need to pray for how long? So we’ll just be sitting silently in a room praying? And so on. But after the first awkward ten minutes the first time my attitude and mindset changed. Corporate prayer is something new to me, but I look forward to it now, because I am slowly realizing just how important it is to pray. I have also made an effort to pray throughout the day. Sometimes it’s just a little praise to God for what He’s done. Other times it’s because someone is weighing on my heart. Or sometimes is because I need to remember that I’m not here for me, I’m here for Him. Being constant in prayer is hard, but it’s life changing. As Paul said, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). God wants and commands us to pray. So let’s be constant in prayer, always pointing our life back to Him.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this! What verse are you currently memorizing?