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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Psalm 3, 23, 51, 57, 146, 150

Story Summary

The Psalms had several different authors, but we are going to focus on those written by David. In addition to being a great warrior and a man after God's own heart, David was a great musician and a prolific song-writer. Do you remember how David served Saul by playing his harp?

The vast majority of the Psalms can be grouped into one of 3 categories: "1: God, You Are Great!", "2: God, Help Me!", or "3: God, I'm Sorry!".

In this lesson, we're going to learn about some of those Psalms.

1. God, You Are Great!

Psalm 23, 146 and Psalm 150 are great examples of Psalms that praise God. 

2. God, Help Me!

David wrote many Psalms while he was running for his life (from both Saul and his son Absalom). Psalm 3 and Psalm 57 are good examples of those Psalms. Can you imagine David hiding in a cave for days on end, with nothing to do? Worried about his life? When he was really afraid, he would cry out to God and ask him to help. He would write songs that expressed how afraid he was, and how confident he was that God would save him.

3. God, I'm Sorry!

David was a man after God's own heart, and was a great warrior. But he also made mistakes, just like any other human. We have chosen not to include the story of David and Bathsheba in the curriculum (for hopefully obvious reasons), but you can still teach your children that David sinned. When he did, he felt very sorry that he failed God and often made songs out of his prayers. Psalm 51 is the most famous example of that kind of song.

What You Will Need

Supplies
Picture of a lyre

Resource Sheets

David's Psalms Coloring Sheet

This coloring sheet depicts Psalm 23

David Singing in a Cave

This coloring sheet depicts David singing in a cave as he was running away from Saul or Absalom

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Ask the children: What is your favorite song? What about your favorite song we sing in church? How are the songs we sing in church different than songs you might hear on the radio?

Today, we are going to learn about songs that were written during the Bible times.

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Talk about the 3 categories of Psalms listed in the "Story Summary" section.

1. God, You Are Great!

Read Psalms 23, 146 and/or 150 to your children and ask them what we learn about God by hearing those Psalms. Psalm 23 is one of the most famous Psalms in the Bible.

2. God, Help Me!

Read Psalms 3 and/or 57 to your children.

3. God, I'm Sorry!

Read Psalm 51:1-12 to your children. Tell them that they can pray that same prayer whenever they make a mistake.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Psalm 23, 150

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • What are Psalms? (the lyrics to songs from Bible times)
  • Who wrote most of the Psalms? (David)
  • What are the main reasons he wrote Psalms? (to praise God, to ask God for help, and to ask for forgiveness)
  • Who was David running from? (Saul, and his son Absalom)
  • What musical instrument did David play? (the lyre, or a small harp)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • In the Psalms, we see that David learned to pray to God, whatever was on his mind.
  • Have you ever told God you are sorry for the things you've done that are sins?
  • Have you ever asked for God's help in your life?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Children, obey your parents in everything. That pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20

Reinforcement Activities

Praise the Lord with Instruments

Scripture Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Psalm 150

Supplies instruments or supplies to make instruments

  • Bring in musical instruments and allow the students to play or make your own!
  • Tambourine- staple two paper plates together, filled with beans
  • Harmonica - See below
  • Drums-empty oatmeal containers
  • Maracas - See below

Write a Song to God

Heads up! It would be a good idea to allow students to listen to songs that were written using the psalms, prior to doing this lesson.

Supplies paper, pencils

  • Provide paper and pencils.
  • Ask students to write a song.
  • Encourage them to use one of the three themes. (God, you are great; God, help me! God, I am sorry)

Songs based on Psalms

  • Below are several modern songs that are based on Psalms.
  • Choose one or two, read the Psalm and then listen to the song (find the song on YouTube or Spotify).
  • Psalm 25:1-5 - My Hope is You by Third Day
  • Psalm 104 - How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin
  • Psalm 121:1-2 - Praise You In the Storm by Casting Crowns

Psalm of Ascents

Heads up! Psalms of Ascents (Psalms 122-134) were song by ancient Jews as they walked up the steps to the temple to prepare them for worship

Scripture Psalm 122

  • Show your students a picture of the temple in Jerusalem (see below)
  • Explain to them that the Psalms of Ascent were used by Jews to prepare for themselves for worship before they got to the temple
  • Then take your class to a place on your church property that would allow them to walk to the front door of the building (be mindful of traffic safety)
  • Read a Psalm of Ascent (we recommend Psalm 122) as your class walks to your church building.

Elisha and the widow

Heads up! get the kids to use their energy first

Scripture 23rd Psalm/ 2Kings: 4

Supplies copies of a water pitcher or empty jars. crayons, stickers

  • kids went on a search for the pitchers , once they gathered round we acted out the story of the widow woman and her sons filling the jars. Tied this in with the lesson on the 23rd Psalm . God gives us everything we need . not our wants but only needs. we made a booklet of the psalm and they were taking on the task of learning the entire poem . with only a 15 min window. They catch on quickly.

Make a Lyre

Scripture 1 Samuel 16:23, Psalm 4

Supplies shoebox lids, rubber bands, toilet paper rolls, hole puncher

  • Lyre is pronounced "liar"
  • David was skilled at playing the lyre. He played for Saul to help comfort him. Some of the Psalms were also written to be accompanied by the lyre.
  • See "On the Web" below for instructions on how to make a lyre.
  • While you are working on this craft, talk about the difference between this instrument and the instruments your church uses during worship.
  • A lyre is a stringed instrument like a small U-shaped harp with strings fixed to a crossbar, used esp. in ancient Greece.

Hide and Seek

Scripture Psalm 3

Supplies space for hide and seek

  • David spent a lot of time fleeing from Absalom and Saul and hiding in caves.
  • Play hide and seek, using your church building or your classroom.
  • Older students can play outside.

Candy Cane Shepherd's Hook

Scripture The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need. Psalm 23:1

Supplies plastic candy cane lawn ornaments

  • This activity is best done when Christmas decorations are available.
  • Paint candy cane ornaments brown.