This is lesson 22 of 33 in a series of lessons called “Praise God Through the Psalms.” These lessons are designed to point children to the fullness of God’s character and lead them to see Him as the One who deserves all praise and worship. These lessons work well in Sunday School or mid-week Bible study groups or even family devotion times.
“Praise God Through the Psalms” – Psalm 61
Lesson focus: Through the book of Psalms and the worship of the people of Israel, we get a glimpse into the character of God and how we should rightly respond to Him in worship. In Psalm 61, the psalmist talks about dwelling in the tent of the Lord and how we can take refuge in God. Through this lesson, kids will be confronted with the truth that the only way we can dwell with God forever is because of the work that Jesus did when He died on the cross in our place.
Passage: Psalm 61
Target Audience: Kindergarten-4th Grade (can be adapted for older or younger children)
Teaching Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Materials Needed: Bibles, blank paper, markers, something to make a tent
Optional Materials: if you want to be able to send the kids home with something each week, you can print the text of the Psalm on one side of a piece of paper and on the back print “I should praise God because He is ____________” (leave the rest of the page blank for drawing.
Early Arriver/ Opening 10 minutes– have a few board games out and play with kids as they arrive. Don’t underestimate the conversations that happen while playing “Jenga” or “Uno” with a group of kids.
Intro– – bring in a few sheets or blankets and work together as a group to build a tent (or put up a tent) in the room large enough for everyone to sit inside for the teaching time. As kids work on the tent talk about why you need a tent…to protect you from the elements, etc.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 61 ….
- Have each kid in the group read one verse, or have 3 volunteers do the reading (divided amongst them). As you go through the Psalm continually ask kids (1) what is this Psalm telling us about who God is?, (2) what is this Psalm telling us about what God does and (3) what is this Psalm telling us about what God expects of His people and how His people should respond to Him.
- As you go through the Psalm, have a signal for the kids in the group to make (like a time-out signal- – a T with your hands) every time they hear another truth about who God is and/ what God is like/ or what God has done. Each time you take a time-out, briefly talk about that characteristic of God.
- Take a few minutes to talk about what truths this Psalm teaches us about God. Point out that the Psalm starts out with David crying out to God and asking Him to hear his prayers. Have kids in the group read Psalm 139:2-4 as a reminder that God not only hears our prayers, but He knows our thoughts and our words before they are even on our tongues. Talk about how David is calling out the God as His refuge and the One who protects Him, and ultimately as the One who will protect Him from death and destruction through Jesus.
- Cross- Connection– – Look back at verse 4 which talks about longing to dwell in the tent of the Lord forever. Remind the kids of the tabernacle (God’s tent/ dwelling place in the Old Testament). Talk briefly about how the tabernacle worked (ie: God was dwelling in the midst of His people, but still separated from them because of sin) and then take the kids to the crucifixion account in Matthew 27 and point out the curtain tearing in two when Jesus died, showing that Jesus had opened the way to the Father (John 14:6). Have kids look back at the end of the Psalm (vs 8), where David speaks of ever singing praises to God. Ask kids when they think this will happen and then read Revelation 4:8-11 and remind them that even now these creatures are eternally singing the praises of God…and one day all of God’s people (Revelation 7:9-10) will join in singing the praises of God forever. Make note of things that God is being praised for and pause to pray and praise God for these same truths.
Worship Time– After discussing the passage, distribute the paper and markers or pages printed with the text for the week. Explain that each week you want them to do three things in response to the Psalm…
- write a verse from the passage that they want to remember
- write a reason to praise God that they see in the Psalm
- draw of something from the passage that they think is important.
Give kids time to work on their pages and then have them share what they have drawn or written with the rest of the group.
Prayer– – Close in prayer by praying for the kids in the group that they would come to see their need for a Savior to rescue them from their sin as the greatest need in their lives and that they would worship Jesus as the One who meets all their needs, especially their need for salvation.
Extra Time – – Play a Bible Book game called “Top Book.” For this game you’ll divide the books of the Bible cards evenly among all of the kids. All the kids will turn over the 1st card in their pile and whoever’s book is closest to the end of the Bible gets to take all the other cards and add them to the bottom of their pile. Continuing playing in this manner until someone has run out of cards, or as long as time allows. If no one knows which book is closest to the end of the Bible, someone should look at a table of contents and check.