Every once and while it’s helpful to pause, look around, and notice what God is and has done. As we take in the glory of God’s work, we say “Wow!” And we’re moved to gratitude, saying “Thanks” to the Triune God. In this lesson, children will explore Psalm 111 and use it as a springboard and guide for recognizing God’s work in the world and the call to express thanks for all that God does.
What you’ll need
- A Bible or a scripted reading of Psalm 111 such as this
- God acrostic poems activity: Chart paper or whiteboard, blank paper, pencils, and markers (optional)
- God word cloud activity: A computer with Internet access connected to a data projector or television, access to WordClouds.com, blank paper, and markers or crayons (optional)
Greet the children as they arrive.
Wow or Meh Game
Tell the children they will be playing a game where they will need to react to different situations in one of two ways. They can either react with a “wow” or with a “meh.” Tell them they won’t be able to speak. They’ll have to show their reaction with their bodies.
Have the children practice their “wow” and “meh” reactions. For the “wow” reaction, they should make an excited face and put their arms in the air. For the “meh” reaction, they should shrug and make a disinterested face.
Read each scenario aloud giving the children time to react to it. Feel free to modify these or add some of your own:
- You win a million dollars in the lottery.
- You discover a baby deer and its mother grazing in the woods.
- You earn an A on a school assignment.
- Your best friend keeps a promise they made to you.
- You experience a thunderstorm from the warmth of your bed.
- You go to a movie with your friends.
- You learn food donations your church made to a local food bank provided 100 families experiencing food insecurity with meals.
- You discover God has answered your prayer.
If time allows, discuss the reasons why different children had different responses to the same scenario.
Hearing and exploring the story
Prepare to read aloud Psalm 111.
Provide the children with a context for the reading:
- The reading comes from the Old Testament Book of Psalms.
- If the children are unfamiliar with the psalm genre, share a short definition such as “a psalm is a poem-song that the people of God would have sung or recited. Many psalms share praise for God.”
- This psalm is an “alphabet psalm.” It was originally written in Hebrew. To help people remember the psalm, each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The lines are in alphabetical order.
Read aloud Psalm 111. This particular psalm lends itself to choral reading, so consider using Carolyn Brown’s scripted version of the text with your children.
After reading, ask the children:
- What has God done according to this psalm?
- What words would you use to describe God after reading this psalm?
- What “wonderful deeds” (v. 4) have you seen God do or have you heard about from the Bible?
- How does God keep God’s promises to people?
Connecting the psalm to our lives
To help the children connect this psalm to their own lives and experiences, invite them to engage in one or more of the following activities:
- God acrostic poems: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: chart paper or whiteboard, blank paper, pencils, and markers. Remind the children that Psalm 111 is an alphabet poem that has the letters of the Hebrew alphabet at the start of each line. Share that there is an English language poetic form called acrostic that is similar. In an acrostic poem, the writer uses the letters in a word that captures the main focus of the poem to start each line. Demonstrate the acrostic form. Write “church” vertically (one letter per line) on a sheet of chart paper or a whiteboard. Then ask the children to offer a word or phrase about “church” that begins with each letter. After creating a group poem, give each child a sheet of blank paper and a pencil. Ask them to write “God” vertically on the sheet. Then, invite them to create their own poems about God. Offer markers for them to illustrate their poems. If time allows, have each child share their poem.
- God word cloud: Gather the materials you’ll need for this activity: a computer with Internet access connected to a data projector or television, access to WordClouds.com, blank paper, and markers or crayons. Remind the children the psalm is a song of praise, celebrating all of the wonderful things God has done and is. Tell the children that they will be making a word cloud, a visual collection of words, about God. Begin a new Word Cloud by selecting File>New Word Cloud. Select “Blank Canvas” from the pop-up menu. Then, go to the Word List menu and select Text. Ask the children to share words or phrases that describe God. Type these in the text box. (NOTE: For phrases, use dashes between the words.) When the list is complete, generate a word cloud. Provide the children with sheets of blank paper and markers or crayons. Ask each child to select a different word or phrase from the word cloud to illustrate. Encourage them to create drawings that show what this word looks like “in action.” After the class, print the word cloud. Hang it on a wall in the classroom or somewhere in the church. Hang the children’s drawings around it.