Praying Through the Psalms
by Jean Grant
Help your students learn about the Psalms with this prayer service.
Preparation: Before beginning the prayer service, you may wish to have each child create an “instrument” or shaker to accompany each passage from Psalms read during the “All” portions (or pass out pre-made instruments). The Psalms follow five basic themes throughout their 150 passages: 1) praising and giving thanks to God, 2) petitions, 3) wisdom of God, 4) liturgical or worship, and 5) great wonders worked by God throughout history. At the “All” selections, use instruments, voices, smiles, and movement to show the joy we have through God.
Gather around the prayer table with instruments. Come with happy hearts ready to give praise to the God of mercy who always forgives, listens to us, and loves us.
Leader: We are the creations of an awesome God! He has made us good and in his image. When we read the responses from the Psalms together, let us listen for familiar lyrics and phrases we have heard at the Liturgy that have become a part of us over the years. From Jesus’ birth when, through the Incarnation, he came to save us, we can envision the angels rejoicing in the heavens!
All: The Heavens are telling the glory of God; and all Creation is shouting for joy (Psalm 19:1). To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul, O my God (Psalm 25:1-2).
Leader: Psalms are used regularly at Mass, and in the Church’s prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours. We are always given opportunities to express our petitions or needs to our Father. God never turns from us, and always forgives us, loves us; and, as the Good Shepherd, he searches for each one of us as a lost sheep.
All: The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1) O, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 118:1).
Leader: There are very difficult times when things happening in our lives seem out of control and frightening. Maybe those who are special to us—our family members, our friends—or even we ourselves have been ill. Maybe we must face the results of accidents or natural disasters. Is God still with us during those moments? How can we reach him? Will he know how scared we are and how helpless we feel? God never leaves us. Put your faith in him as he walks with you and holds you close!
All: Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover them with favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:12-13). Turn, O Lord, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love (Psalm 6:5).
Leader: Through Jesus’ supreme gift on the cross, we are able to join in the Resurrection. We have the promise of eternity. Through Jesus’ example, teachings, and prayer given to us, we can focus on the true path and resist temptation. Thank you, Jesus, for guiding us closer to a blessed life with the Trinity; Mary, your mother; the saints; and our friends and relatives already enjoying and rejoicing with you in eternity!
All: Make a joyful noise to God! (Psalm 66)
Sing and use your instruments to close the prayer service with either the song “Blest Be the Lord” or another offering of joyful praise for the Lord.
Jean Grant teaches at St. Charles Borromeo School,
St. Charles, MO.
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