Getting Going with the Psalms
On your marks
It can be hard to introduce young children to the Psalms, and yet the Psalms are so valuable for putting into words feelings, worship, wonder, anger, joy…
Here’s a version of a favourite – Psalm 139 in which the writer talks about how well God knows him and how well God made him.
This version was devised for helping children at a special school understand how precious they are to God. It’s deliberately simplified so that it’s easy to understand. It’s in rhyming couplets to make it easy to remember, and it has hand movements to accompany it, so that the learning goes on not only with words but with ‘doing’ too.
Introduce the psalm by saying that David (they may know the story of David and Goliath) grew up to be a great king and wrote lots of songs about God, which we have in our Bible and which we call the Psalms. Here’s one of the psalms, when the writer just wanted to say ‘Wow, God!’ at how brilliant God is. Get everyone to put up a thumb and say ‘Wow God!’ together.
Use your right thumb as ‘me’ and your left hand as ‘God’. You could draw a simple smiley face on the pad of their right thumb.
1 Wow, God! You know me through and through!
You care about each thing I do.
(Right thumb up! Point to thumb with left hand forefinger)
2 You see me sleep each night and work each day.
You hear each thing I think and say.
(Put left hand to your eye, then your ear during the lines. Thumb ‘lies down‘, then gets up and wiggles.)
3 You keep me safe wherever I go.
There’s nothing about me you don’t know.
(Wrap left hand gently round thumb and move round in big circle together)
4 You put me together inside my mum.
You knew me before I came out of her tum.
(Bend thumb over into palm of hand and stroke gently with left forefinger)
5 You made me brill: I don’t know how, God.
You made me brill: I just say ‘Wow, God’!
(Slowly unwrap thumb and finish with thumb up again!)