After Awana2:00 AM
Anybody remember Awana? Of course you do. Those were the times of a Christian kid's life -- free snacks, fun and games, Awana bucks, the Awana store and, of course, Bible memorization. (Just to brag -- my team took first in the Awana Olympics. So if I ever challenge you at the Sparky Crawl, just smile and decline. You value your dignity.)
For me, Awana stopped at sixth grade -- and so did Bible memory. There were some halfhearted, quickly-fizzled-out attempts at being consistent. I memorized the book of James and of Titus: don't cheer. I don't remember any of it. Memorization was never a problem for me. I could have something memorized in a couple minutes. But long-term recall? It just didn't stick. Unless a verse has its special Sparky song or it's a pulpit favorite, I don't remember it.
Did anybody? Besides those geeky people who seemed like Bibles sprouting legs? Who had time to run through all the verses they'd learned? (Hint: not me.)
So I asked a friend of mine who happens to be one of those weird people for the secret to making verses sticky in the mind. He said repetition, repetition, repetition -- and repeat -- repeat again -- ad nauseam -- until you could rattle it off like John 3:16.
That seemed ridiculous to me. For one thing, when was that point where memory took over mind? I heard John 3:16 since I was in diapers. It's everywhere. I know it in at least five different versions. For another, my mind plays this trick on me that the more I repeat something, the faster I forget it. I kid you not: when I played piano from memory, I was an ace at a song for a couple of weeks but as I kept practicing I'd have to revert back to the music book. My mind rebels against such hard work, I suppose.
But I'd got to this point where I needed something to meditate on besides my problems, so I started out with one passage a week. (The above video was my first -- I learned it sitting on the porch on an early Sunday morning.) It's been about six weeks so far.
I recite in the shower and before I go to bed and when I get up and whenever I'm bored. Admittedly, I'm not a perfect person; I don't keep to my schedule exactly, because I sometimes learn two passages a week instead of the prescribed one.
It's odd, to me, how much I enjoy it and how it isn't as hard as I thought. I can't explain my enthusiasm other than that it is an answer to a specific prayer that God would give me a hunger for His Word. And it truly is practical, to have an arsenal of power-punching verses.
Join with me -- the After Awana Program for Reluctant Minds, if you will. We don't have cookies, but it's just as much fun.