Psalm 91 is a psalm we need to have stamped on our hearts. We’re going to aim at memorizing the entire psalm, starting today.
Don’t let the thought of memorizing sixteen verses intimidate you. Think of memorizing as just another level of studying the psalm. The Psalms, because they are poetry, are easier to memorize than some portions of Scripture. I think you’ll be surprised, too, at how easily you’ll memorize the psalm, after reading it so many times and becoming so much more familiar with it through your study.
You’ll also see how much more you understand — and apply — the psalm as you memorize it. That’s the main reason I want to encourage you to commit it to memory. Memorizing the psalm will make it yours in a new way. New insights will open to you as you spend the time repeating its words over and over, and you will be changed as those words imprint themselves on your heart.
Assignment: Pray, thanking God for this psalm that encourages and strengthens us, and praying for His help as you work to commit it to memory.
- Then read all of Psalm 91. As you read the first line, cover the next one and see how much of it you can recall without looking. Then uncover it and read it. See how much you can remember of the next line. Continue doing this through the entire psalm, reading one line while covering and testing yourself on the next line.
Could you at least recall some of the words or basic ideas?
- Now set some goals for yourself. We have sixteen verses to memorize in twenty-three days. Do you want to memorize one verse a day, and then review the whole psalm for the rest of the month? Do you want to memorize on weekdays, and review what you have memorized on weekends?
- In your notebook, record some deadlines for yourself. How many verses do you want to have memorized by this Sunday? Next Sunday? And the following one? Write it down. Share your goals with someone else, or ask someone to memorize along with you.
- Then tackle verse 1. At first I kept mixing up shelter and shadow, as well as dwell and abide while I memorized in the ESV. I finally got them straightened out by repeating the verse over and over until I had all the words in the right order.
- A lot of methods can be used for memorizing Scripture, but most any method will work if you are motivated.
You can buy a small spiral bound notebook and write each verse on a separate page, which you can then carry around wherever you go.
You can post 3×5 cards around the house.
You can open the passage up on your phone with a Bible app, or use a memory app, such as Scripture-Typer (my favorite!) to help you memorize and keep you accountable.
You can write the verses over and over.
You can help your children memorize the passage, and learn the psalm while you teach it to them.
You shouldn’t have to find extra time for doing your memorizing. Find a method that works for you, and then take advantage of all those little bits of dead time in your day — in the grocery line, while you’re putting on your makeup, when you’re in a traffic jam or waiting room, while you’re folding laundry or removing moldy things from the back of your refrigerator.
See if you can say verse 1 for your spouse or for your children before the day is over!
For your children:
- Work on memorizing verse 2 with your children. Use the movements suggested below, if you find them helpful. (You can adapt these with for the translation you are using.)
Start in a standing position: “I (pointing to self) will say to the Lord (touch hands to mouth and then raise them up toward heaven), “My refuge (cradle arms in front of you as you would holding a baby) and my fortress (bend arms upright from the elbows in front of you, with a determined look on your face), my (point to self) God (point up), in whom I trust (sit down and fold hands in lap, smiling).”
- Repeat this several times until you think the children know the verse. Then just use the hand motions and see if they can remember the words without your help.
- Let each child recite the verse by himself, using the motions.
- Then review verse 1 and say verses 1 and 2 together until everyone can recite it successfully.
- To prepare for memorizing the rest of the chapter with your children, go back to Day 1, print out a copy of Psalm 91 in the version you want to memorize and add your own notes for motions.
Or save this as a project to do with the children. Each day tackle a new verse, and let them help figure out motions to use as memory aids. Try to come up with at least two or three motions for each verse, using facial expressions, standing up, sitting down, pointing, and so forth. The children will remember the words even better if they’ve helped decide the motions!