Could you be a Psalmist?
Notes for teachers
This activity follows an Inquiry approach to teaching and learning. While the activity page outlines the process for small groups, it is necessary to provide students with explicit teaching at each element along the way – whole group, small group and individual – according to what is required at the time. The information and resources below will help support such explicit teaching moments.
The psalms invite readers to look at the human experiences of the writers. What was the author feeling at the time this psalm was written? Can we really tell God how we are feeling today, like the psalmists did?
The answer is clearly yes because looking through the book of Psalms one will discover that nothing has been sanitised for the sake of God. The psalmists tell of the highs and lows of their lives directly as it is, and that is exactly what Christians are called to do in prayer.
Students need to know that the psalms are still used for prayer every day of the year. There are many different ways that the psalms can be used for prayer:
- As meditation – Read a psalm, notice a word or phrase that seems important and reflect on this,
then talk with God about this word or phrase.
- Lectio Divina.
- Pray a psalm out loud, as a whole class.
- Sing the psalm with music
- Rewriting a psalm in your own words, so it becomes a personal psalm.
- Write individual psalms of praise, thanksgiving, sorrow...
- Pretend you are a psalmist, reflect on what you want to say to God right now and write it as a psalm (like poetry or a song).
- Put pictures or photos to particular lines of a psalm for whole class prayer using a program such as PowerPoint.
- Illustrate a psalm through drawing, adding photos from magazines or the internet. Do this on a poster and place it where it can be used for prayer.
Resources you may find helpful:
Fallon, Michael. Psalms. Michael Fallon msc. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://www.mbfallon.com/psalms.html> (background information and commentary on each psalm).
Franciscan Media Productions. (2009) Teach us to Pray: Praying the Psalm – D2081. YouTube. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_47miEiRXRQ>
Glavich, Mary K. (2008). The Catholic companion to the Psalms, Illinois: ACTA Publications.
Liturgy Brisbane. Sing Psalms to God. The Catholic Centre, Archdiocese of Brisbane. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://liturgybrisbane.net.au/liturgylines/sing-psalms-to-god/>
Rolheiser, Ronald. (2002) Praying the Psalms. Ron Rolheiser, OMI: Speaker, Columnist and Author. Viewed 5 March 2013. <http://www.ronrolheiser.com/columnarchive/?id=261>