Scripture: Psalms 100
- Students will learn Psalms had at least seven authors and several Psalms do not list any author.
- Students will learn about 98 of the Psalms are celebrating and worshipping God.
- Students will learn Psalms are often sung and have comforted God’s people for thousands of years.
- Students will participate in an activity to help them begin to understand how they can use a Psalm to grow spiritually.
Guiding Question: How can we learn to grow spiritually from a Psalm?
Materials: sheets of background paper, markers and/or cut out of tree roots and trunk and multiple leaves for each child
Procedure: Review with students why David and others wrote the Psalms. Originally, many of the Psalms were written as songs or prayers expressing the feelings the author was having during a particular period of time. Many Psalms praise God or reveal some aspect of God worthy of praise and gratitude.
Psalm 1 is a great example. Read Psalm 1 to students. (Preferably from an easy to read version like the NIrV.) Ask students what they think the author of the Psalm was trying to tell us about God.
Explain that this particular Psalm gives us some of the ways we can please God. It points out the blessings we receive for pleasing God and the consequences of disobeying or rejecting God.
Tell students there are also some clues in the Psalm that teach us how we can grow spiritually. Explain that the tree represents us when we obey God. Ask students to explain to you the three main parts of a tree. (For younger students, have a large photograph of a tree and point out the roots, trunk and leaves/fruit of the tree.)
Tell students that the Bible teaches us God wants us to bear fruit for Him (Matthew 7:17-20). In the case of Christians, this means we serve others and share our faith to help other Christians grow stronger in their faith and to teach non-Christians the story of Jesus and what they need to do to become Christians.
Explain the Psalm means that just like a tree, we need to have strong roots and trunks to bear leaves and fruit for God. Ask students what they think makes “strong roots” for a Christian. If they have trouble thinking of ideas, suggest studying their Bibles and prayer are two great ways to grow strong “faith roots”.
Ask students what they think the “trunk” of a Christian might be. Explain that the Church and other Christians help make our “trunk” strong. One of the reasons God created the Church was so Christians could encourage each other to do what God wants them to do. (Hebrews 10:25) Ask students what other ways the Church and other Christians can help us be stronger Christians. Make sure older students understand that although no Christians are perfect, that attending worship services is important because it gives us a chance to encourage each other in the areas where we are struggling.
Have students share what they think the leaves/fruits are that God wants us to have on our “tree”. Obviously, serving others, loving others, encouraging others and sharing our faith are important. Encourage students to list lots of specific items that can be fruit, like visiting people in a nursing home or helping with the school supply drive for students in low income areas.
Give each student a large piece of background paper. Depending on your supplies/time have students create a tree, with roots a strong trunk and lots of leaves. Have students write or draw the ways they can make their faith stronger on the roots, ways the Church and other Christians can help them grow on the trunk and every idea they can think of to bear fruit for God on the leaves.
If time allows, have students share their trees and encourage them to add ideas from other trees they didn’t think about on their own trees. Encourage students to display these in their rooms and try to work on each area of their “tree” each week.
- What are some things in life that can prevent us from growing spiritually or cause us to start to “whither”?
- What are some allusions to plants in the Bible as a spiritual metaphor? (Jesus as the vine, The Parable of the Sower, etc.)
Supplemental Activity: Students can plant a special tree at their church, school or other place that they frequent. Discuss with students how it is a special reminder of their spiritual growth and that it serves to show us how we can grow stronger with care and time just like the tree that they will watch grow. You may even want to gather occasionally at the tree to have prayer time and accountability with each other.