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Psalm 23





Scripture:  Psalm 23:1-6 (A psalm by David).   The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff ­ they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (New Revised Standard Version, with just a touch of King James!)  (A poster of this should be on display in the room.)


 Concepts:      God takes care of us like a shepherd takes care of sheep.

                                    God is with us even when we are scared.



1.      Children will view the video “The Lord is My Shepherd” from the Little House on the Prairie television series.

2.      The children will understand how Psalm 23 has been a comfort to Christians when they face death.

3.      The children will discuss how God can give them comfort when they are troubled.



Welcome and Introductions:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name-tag. Make sure the children are wearing name-tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.


Bible Story:

Tell the children that Psalm 23 is special. It gives comfort to people who are in pain and troubled. That is why it is often recited at funerals ­ when a loved one has died and the family and friends are sad. Recite Psalm 23 for the children. Read it quietly with particular emphasis on “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”



1.      Show the movie. The video should be stopped at indicated points to ask questions about the story. Do take the time to stop and discuss as you go. There are many emotions in this story and it will be helpful to check in with the children along the way. Keep the remote ready.


Tell the children that the Ingalls family are going to have a baby. Ask the children to watch for how the parents and the children feel about a new baby.  


Begin the video. Distribute the popcorn with help from the Shepherds or volunteer children. (Popcorn  should already be made)


2        STOP ­ After the family discussion at the dinner table.

§         What do the parents think about having a new baby?

§         What does Laura think about a new baby? Why does Laura want the baby to be a girl? Why does she say that being a tom boy is like being a boy?

§         What is she feeling? What is Laura afraid of?


3.      STOP ­ After the second discussion in bed between Laura and her sister when Laura refuses to pray for the baby.

§         What is Laura feeling about the baby? Discuss feelings of jealousy.

§         Can you understand what Laura is feeling? Does Laura’s dad really not love her anymore? What would you do if Laura was your sister and told you those things? (get mad or try and comfort her) What does Laura need right now? What comfort could you give her? (Ask your parent in a loving helpful way to try and help Laura)


4.      STOP ­ After the baby dies and Charles and Carolyn recite Psalm 23 together.

§         What happened to the baby?

§         Why did the parents recite the psalm together? What does this psalm tell us about God and where God is when we are sad?

§         You may want to point out to the older children the scene when the Ingalls were in the Doctor’s office, it was dark as in the “valley of the shadow of death”


5.      STOP ­ After Laura runs away when she hears that the baby has died.

§         Why do the parents think that Laura was upset? (they thought she was sad about losing the baby)

§         Why do you think Laura was upset? ( she felt guilty for her bad thoughts about the baby and for not praying for him)

§         Discuss guilt and how Laura felt. Was she responsible for the baby’s death? When babies are born, parents must spend a lot of time caring for them because they cannot do anything for themselves ­ especially if the infant is sick. The other children often feel like their parents do not love them as much anymore. Discuss. Laura needs a shepherd right now. How can the Lord bring comfort to Laura?

§         Laura and her family are walking though the valley of the shadow of death. How might they follow God, the shepherd through this time?


6.      Distribute copies of Psalm 23 (at the end of this lesson). Divide the class in half. Ask Side A to read one line from the left side of the page. Then ask Side B to read from the right side. Alternate lines for the entire Psalm. Then switch sides and recite again.


Reflection Time:

Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/markers. Ask the children to put their copy of Psalm 23 in their journal.


Prompts for journal writing: Describe a time when you were troubled. How does God make you feel better? How do you know what are the right things to do? How does your “cup overflow”.


If there is time, practice one of the memorization activities. See the handout describing these activities. Tell the children that because the words of Psalm 23 are helpful in many situations, they will be memorizing it.  They will be doing this same activity in each workshop throughout the rotation.



Prayer: Recite together Psalm 23 - either Side A or Side B. OR say a prayer giving thanks to the shepherd, David, for writing the Psalm that gives us comfort when we feel sad or upset. Help us remember that God is ALWAYS with us. Amen   


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up popcorn as they wait for their parents to arrive. Put bean bag chairs in piles against the walls, clearing the floor space. Wipe out popcorn machine thoroughly.


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Read the scripture passages

2.      Prepare a closing prayer.

3.      Prepare a poster or write Psalm 23 on the white board.

4.      Preview the video and have it cued to the correct starting place.

5.      PRACTICE OPERATING THE POPCORN MACHINE. If this is your first time in Holywood, visit the current workshop leader for instructions before your rotation begins. Be sure you have plenty of popcorn popped BEFORE the children arrive. You will need to have your attention on the children at that point. Ask the shepherds or child volunteers to help distribute it to children who are sitting quietly.



Keller, Phillip, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Zondervan Publishing

The Lord is My Shepherd from Little House on the Prairie, 1974 National Broadcasting Corp, distributed by Vision Video.

District 7 Presbyterian Church, Lesson set for Psalm 23 ­ Video Workshop

Handout of activities for Memorizing Psalm 23


The Lord is My Shepherd



Side A                                             Side B


The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want

The Lord looks after me and makes sure I have everything I need


He makes me lie down in green pastures

God wants me to go the right way in my life


He leads me beside still waters

God leads me to rest, to be still and to know God.


He restores my soul

God makes me feel so good


He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake

God shows me the right things to do


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

Even though I may be in scared at times or in frightening situations


I fear no evil: for you are with me

I never need to be scared, for I know the Lord is always with me.


Your rod and your staff ­ they comfort me

Your love and discipline keep me safe


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies

You invite me to be with you even when people are mean to me


You anoint my head with oil

You treat me like a King or Queen


My cup overflows

God’s love and blessings are more than I need


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life

God’s goodness and forgiveness will always be with me


And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever

And I will always belong to the Lord.