July 19: Psalm 139 — Family faith formation at home



Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something — a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer. 

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Connecting with Scripture: Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24

Read the Scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

For the second reading, watch the psalm be recited by this special group of people from a Disciples of Christ church.



 Connecting through story

Watch this clip from the movie “Bruce Almighty.”  

  • In what ways did God know Bruce?
  • What was Bruce’s response to God?
  • Why was Bruce skeptical of who God was?
  • How does God know us? Do you think God keeps a file cabinet on each of us or do you think God knows us in different ways?
  • What is the difference between God’s “file cabinet of all we have done” and God knowing us to the deepest part of who we are?


Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • In what ways does the video from First Christian Church cause you to think differently about this psalm and its meaning?
  • To whom does this psalm apply?
  • What does it mean to you that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”?
  • What does this psalm say about who God is? Who we are? Our relationship with God?
  • What words and phrases from the psalm comfort you? Unsettle you? Why?
  • What does it mean that even before we are born God knew us?
  • What does it mean to you that there is nowhere we can go or hide where God cannot find us?


Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • God created each of us just as we are and thinks we have great value.
  • God knows us better than anyone else and better than we know ourselves.
  • God is not keeping a checklist or a file cabinet of every little thing we do; rather, God knows us intimately, deeply and loves us.
  • The word “fear” in Scripture often means “revered” or “reverent” rather than to be afraid or scared.
  • No matter where we go, God knows where we are and is with us.
  • Before we could do anything to earn God’s favor – before we were even born – God created and loved us and nothing we can do now will ever make it go away.
  • Because God’s love never leaves us, we spend our lives praising God and saying thank you.

Identify situations where people:

  • Try to hide from God.
  • Turn away from God.
  • Feel separate from God or alone.
  • Live in ways that please God.

Then, identify where God is and what God’s response is to each situation based on this psalm. How would knowing and believing this psalm help each situation?


Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.


REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.