This is lesson 24 of 33 in a series of lessons called “Praise God Through the Psalms.”
“Praise God Through the Psalms” – Psalm 66
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 66, the psalmist talks about the amazing things that God has done that show His power and might and responds in rightful worship. Through this psalm, children will be challenged to think about what it means to offer God the worship that He alone deserves.
Passage: Psalm 66
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 large sheet of paper
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– – Ask the kids to make an “awesome” list. Use a large sheet of paper and have them call out things that they think are awesome and write them on the list. After a few minutes, ask someone to define the word awesome. Explain that something is awesome if you are in awe of it (or amazed by it). Go on and explain that in today’s Psalm they’ll learn that God alone deserves our awe and why He alone should be called awesome.
Read the Text. . .Psalm 66 ….
- 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. There are a few attributes other than awesome in this psalm, but the main truth we see about God in this Psalm is why He is awesome.Reread verses 1-5. Then, play a brief game of pictionary or charades. Have kids come up one at a time and whisper one of the following Bible stories in their ear (creation, noah’s family in the ark, the battle of Jericho, David & Goliath, the men in the fiery furnace, Jesus calming the sea, Jesus raising Lazarus, the plagues in Egypt, Jesus healing people, Jesus feeding 5000, Daniel in the lion’s den, the exodus). They should either act it out or draw it for the rest of the group to guess what it is. After all of the kids have had a turn, talk through a couple of those stories and how those things showed for awesome (& amazing & powerful) God is. Then reread Psalm 66:1-12. Point out that the Psalmist praised God for His mighty acts (like parting the Red Sea), but also for God’s sovereignty and faithfulness to His people in times of oppression like when they were slaves in Egypt (vs. 10-12).
Make note of the Psalmists response to God through all of this (vs 13-15)….he will praise God and offer sacrifices to Him for all He has done. Talk with the kids about how our reaction is often to complain or question our situation, but that we should follow the psalmist’s example and praise God for His work in and around us.
- Cross- Connection– – Read verse 20 again. Help kids to see the final truth about God that the Psalmist brings out in this Psalm… God did not withhold His love from him. Talk about how this is true for the Psalmist (and the people of Israel) in the obvious things that he already mentioned, but even more true for everyone in the greatest gift of God’s love. Read, or have one of the kids read, the following verses that speak of God’s love…. John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16 and 1 John 4:9-10.
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 how much God loves His people and would respond to the love of God by turning from their sin and turning to God in repentance.
Extra Time – –If you have any extra time at the end, play the name game again, or play OT/NT– – Have all the kids stand up in the middle of the room. Call out a book of the Bible. If it’s in the OT they have to go to your left side and if it’s NT they have to go to your right side. To make it even more challenging, you could call out names that aren’t books of the Bible and have them freeze for those.