Why? The Bible is full of commands from God for us to study and follow His Word. In an age where we can look up the Bible on our phones it can seem unnecessary for anyone to memorise verses. However it is just as important as it ever was. Verses that are memorised will guide a person, protect them from harm, prompt them to good and remind them to pray. As a child grows up these verses can often come into their minds just when they need something to refer to –including times when their parents are not there to advise them.
These devotions and prayers can be done without any element of memorising and they will still be useful. However, they are a great opportunity for children to learn things that they may remember for the rest of their lives. It is a lot easier for children to memorise that you might think! A good age to begin memorising is around 5 years but children younger than this can do it if you don’t do too much.
Suggestions for memorising verses and prayers.
1. Small steps:
The most basic way to learn verses is to take small steps by breaking up one line or verse (up to around 20 words) into 2 or 3 sections. For instance by breaking up the following verse in to 3 sections:
‘Accept one another, then, | just as Christ accepted you, | in order to bring praise to God.'
Say the first part and get the children to repeat it until they know it. Then do this for the second part. Combine parts 1 and 2 together until learnt. Then learn part 3 before combining all 3 parts of the verses together.
Over the next week or two try and ask for the verse every day at a regular time (such as dinner or bedtime) and have the verse handy to you so that you can prompt them.
As you use the devotions try and recap on verses previously learnt by saying the first few words. You might be surprised by how well they do.
4. Don’t do too much:
Try not to overload the children and yourself! If it is proving too hard to learn the verses it may be that the children are too young or that you are doing too much. You don’t have to learn a verse each week even if you are doing the devotions each week. For instance you could learn one verse over three weeks of devotions and simply not memorise the other two verses.
Finally, Children can often memorise well but not actually understand the verse that well. This is fine. The verse will be in their memory for a day in the future when they will understand it better.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8