Here's what Chuck Swindoll wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).
The main reason I want my kids to know God's word and have it hidden in their hearts, is because there is going to come a day when they aren't going to listen to me like they do now (Wait a minute...did I just say they listen to me??? Hmmm...I guess it depends on the day). I know that I won't always be right there to give them advice and guidance. But when God's word is hidden in their hearts, whether they like it or not, He's always going to be with them.
We start memorizing scripture in our house as soon as you can talk. That means before the age of two we're working on it.
We always start with Genesis 1:1, because it's easy and foundational to everything we believe. We do motions with it because I think it's easier to learn something when you're really little if there are motions to it.
Verses to Memorize with Young Kids:
"In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth."
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 2gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people."
" For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."
Verses for Older Kids to Memorize:
Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Ephesians 2: 8-9
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."
"Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge."
1 Peter 3:3-4
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
"Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples."
Here's my number one tip for memorizing scripture with your kids:
Make it part of the routine.
Say a scripture every time you sit down to eat. It's a simple and quick way to make it part of the routine.
Write scriptures on index cards and have them by the bathtub so you can practice with you're kids while they're getting baths.
Keep index cards in the car so that when you're driving somewhere you can practice.
Give kids ownership of their verses by letting them have their own scripture card box (recipe card box) full of the scriptures they know.
Use music to help you remember verses. You can pretty much sing any scripture to the tune of "row, row, row your boat."