My children would get nightmares and night terrors when they were very young. From the very moment I recognized what was happening I would start praying for them, asking God to help take away the fear and replace it with His peace. Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” It is this peace that I would pray for my children to have comfort and cover them.
Part of our prayer routine at night includes putting on the armor of God while they sleep; especially the Sword of the Spirit and the Shield of Faith. It might seem odd to put the armor on at night, but I quickly noticed that they had fewer nightmares after we started praying this way at night.
Other verses I have prayed over the boys include Philippians 4:7-8, Psalm 91, particularly verses 1, 2, and 4, and Deuteronomy 33:27.
I learned long ago that there is Power in the Word of God. I do not have authority over things the way God has authority. Even Jesus-who had Power and Authority knew to use Scripture. Right after Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness the Devil approached Him to tempt Him to sin. Jesus does not get into a debate, instead He uses Scripture to prove why He won’t fall into these temptations. Jesus knew there was power in the Word of God and He stood firm on that Word.
How different would it have been had I not memorized different Bible verses to pray over my children? How could I, as a parent, have prayed about God’s character and goodness if I didn’t know it personally? I felt such gratitude for all of the times I wrote out verses that encouraged me and or challenged me as a believer.
One of the first verses I memorized as a new believer was Romans 8:38-39. At first I remember thinking it was such a huge amount to memorize, but as I look back over the 20 years I have been a Christian I cannot count how often I have clung to the truth that, “nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (bold italics mine).”
Over the years I have written down hundreds of Bible verses on 3 x 5 cards. When I was a 3rd grade teacher my students would see the little binder of verses on my desk and ask me about it.
I’d smile and then tell them that it was full of Bible verses that I had memorized and verses that encouraged me. I would tell them that there may come a day when the Bible was illegal here and that if the Bible wasn’t committed to memory how could they be encouraged or encourage others?
Some of my students would try to stump me by reading part of a verse to see if I had the rest memorized. Generally I was able to get each verse correct, with an occasional word inverted.
I say this as a point of challenge–not of pride. How many verses are committed to your memory? What if a Bible isn’t available?
Can I, can you, lean on the promises of God they aren’t in your head or in your heart? Psalm 119:11 is a good place to start.