How to Have Meaningful Summer Devotions

After recently returning from a study-leave and vacation, which, happily, was spent almost entirely with my family, I have some thoughts on how to have meaningful summer devotions.  Often we think about “devotions” (acts of devotion) as simply Scripture reading and prayer, and these certainly are important spiritual practices.  But I’ve come to conclude that “devotions” is much broader than that.  In fact, what I’ve found to work very well over summer vacation is Scripture memorization.  Now many people shy away from this ancient spiritual practice for a variety for reasons.  First of all–let’s face it–it’s a lot of work.  I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle to memorize Scripture.  It can be a very slow and laborious process.  So if this spiritual practice is so difficult, why do it?  Is it really worth the effort?  Based on my experience, yes, it is worth the effort.  In a word, Scripture memorization focuses your mind on Christ and his Word, and puts His love in your heart.  After all, “love is the starting point for memorizing Scripture,” writes Joshua Choonmin Kang in his book, Scripture by Heart (IVP Books, 2010).  “Love shows concern, willingness to invest hard time and a certain hilarity: ‘Their delight is in the law of the Lord, / and on his law they meditate day and night’ (Psalm 1:2).  The object of our love is Scripture.  The more we memorize it, the closer we come to it, the easier we understand it, the surer we remember it and impress it on our hearts” (127-128).  So do I commend Scripture memorization to you for all times, but perhaps especially during the summer months, when our routines are often interrupted by vacations, etc., and it may be hard to carve-out time for Bible reading and prayer.  It only takes a few minutes a day of Scripture memorization to “hide God’s Word in your heart” and to “put the Lord before you at all times.” One suggestion is to write out a passage on a 3 x 5 card or to use your Bible application on your smart phone.  Then pull out your memorization tool not only at scheduled times, but also when you have a few spare moments in your day.  For example, I often pull out my memory cards when I’m waiting in line.  Whatever your plans this summer, I encourage you to consider memorizing Scripture. 

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