All Workshops : Memorizing Psalm 23

This lesson plan is copyrighted and belongs to the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian,

Cary North Carolina. It may be used for non-profit uses only.


All workshops need to have a poster display of the 23rd Psalm.


This activity is to help the children memorize the 23rd Psalm. It will be used in every workshop of the rotation. On the very first Sunday of this rotation, you will be given the bags to hand out to the children. After the activity, the shepherds will collect the bags and be responsible for keeping them for their class. Ask the shepherds to keep the bags and bring them to each workshop in subsequent weeks.  

Each bag contains a copy of the psalm cut into verses. Have them put the verses in order. Make it a race if you like. Let them refer to the psalm displayed on the wall as much as they need.

If the class does well with this, the shepherds should cut each verse in half before the next session. (So next week, when the activity is repeated, instead of one piece saying "He makes me lie down in green pastures," they'll get "He makes me" and "lie down in green pastures.")

Repeat the activity each week, with the shepherds deciding week by week whether to cut the psalm into smaller pieces or leave the same. Always let the children use the wall display as needed By the fifth Sunday the older kids should be piecing the psalm together word by word without much reference to the wall. The first-graders might not have the reading skills to get past the whole-verse pieces, but if they learn to recognize the first word or two of each verse they can use that as a cue to remember the rest of the verse. The object is for them to be able to recite the psalm.


Variations as the children become familiar with the passage:

§         Begin the 23rd Psalm and let each person in the circle add one line to the scripture until it is complete. Help them tell the COMPLETE passage.

§         Recite the 23rd Psalm back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you (especially fun for the younger ones ­but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation.


§         Have them tell the 23rd Psalm in their own words ­ don’t worry if they use the exact words (we want them to work on memorization of the NRSV version, but this would be particularly good for the younger classes or the first weeks of the rotation).


§         Create a variation of your poster with blank spaces for key words. Eg. “The Lord is my _________, I shall not _________”. Let the children recite the scripture filling in the blanks. At the end of the rotation, you should post just the first word of each key phrase and ask the children to recite it. Eg. “The Lord ____ , He makes ______”.