This is lesson 23 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 63
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 63, the psalmist talks about thirsting after God and desiring to be in God’s presence. Through this lesson, children will be challenged to see what they truly thirst after and think about what it would mean to thirst after God.
Passage: Psalm 63
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, a pitcher of water and cups
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. 2 pieces of poster board, magazine clippings, markers and glue
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 pitcher of water and some cups. Spend a few minutes with the kids
taking about being very thirsty….what makes them thirsty, what they really want when they’re thirsty, etc. By this point the kids should be thirsty, so allow them to have a drink of water before continuing with the lesson.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 63 ….
- 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. As you read through the Psalm, discuss the attributes of God that you see…He is God, He is powerful, He is glorious, He is loving, He is worthy of all worship, He is our help, He meets our needsThen, read through the Psalm a 2nd time and notice David’s response to God… David seeks God, he thirsts for God, he longs for God, he glorifies and praises God, he thinks about God, etc.
Ask the kids if they can say any of these things (truthfully)
(a) Do any of us seek God? (Romans 3:11 says there is no one who seeks God; we cannot seek God on our own; we cannot seek God until He has given us a new heart).
(b) Do we thirst for God and long for Him? Or, do we thirst and long for power and wealth and popularity and fun and entertainment? Talk about what it means to thirst for something (to want it more than anything else)
(c) What do we think about when we can’t sleep at night? What is the first thing we do in the morning?
Talk about priorities for a few minutes and help them to see from this Psalm that God should be our priority (and He was David’s priority).
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY – work together with the kids to create a mural (with drawings or magazine clippings) of things that most of us thirst after. Then, make a second poster showing what it would look like to thirst after God.
- Cross- Connection– – Look back at verse 1 that talks about thirsting after God. Read Revelation 21:6 and 22:17 and talk about how Jesus is offering living water (salvation) to everyone who is thirsty. Then, tell the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4) briefly in your own words and then read John 4:10-14. Help the kids to see that the water Jesus is offering the woman is Himself (salvation and eternal life). Explain the difference between these 2 uses of the concept of thirst… (1) in John and Revelation we see thirst as a need to be saved/ rescued and Jesus met that need once and for all when He died on the cross in our place… (2) in Psalms the thirst we see is a desire to continually be with God.
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 “Roll the Dice.” For this game you’ll take turns rolling the large dice and naming as many books of the Bible as the number that comes up on the dice. Ways to make the game more challenging… (1) have kids name books in order, (2) write down the books that are named and