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Ultimately, love for God and His Word should be what drives us to memorize passages of the Bible. Having God’s Word stored up in our minds and hearts is its own reward. Still, a few thoughtful incentives, small prizes, or milestone celebrations—like when a child has memorized 25 verses—can motivate children, and even youth, who are new to Bible memory.
How can you foster God-honoring thankfulness, not self-centered pride, when giving prizes and praise? By coupling recognition and rewards with prayerful thanksgiving and encouragement. Pray with your children, thanking God for giving them the desire and ability to memorize. You might say something like this:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving Julie the ability and diligence to memorize Your Word. I pray she will hide these verses in her heart so that she might not sin against You. May she think about these words day and night. May Your words give her joy, encouragement, and hope in You. May Your words cause her to love and trust and follow Jesus every day.
And Lord, please give everyone in our family (or class) the desire, and diligence, to memorize Your Word. Help each of us to love You and Your Word more and more. May we taste and see that Your Word is sweeter than honey and brings joy to our hearts.
Praying this way points the child being recognized, as well as any others involved, to look godward. It affirms and recognizes the child’s diligence, while praising God as the ultimate source and power behind his or her ability. It also reminds siblings or classmates of the main purpose for memorizing Scripture:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)
Knowing Scripture by heart is its own reward. However, small incentives along the way can encourage those who are reluctant to try memorizing verses. A few ideas for encouraging Bible memorization include:
As you reward Bible memory, be on the watch for opportunities to celebrate the joy of Bible memory and share stories of God working through His Word.
A devotional for families, small groups, and individuals
Binder containing five sets of Fighter Verses (52 passages each in ESV)
76 Bible verses for toddlers and pre-readers