The psalms are Jewish prayers adopted by Christians; they have universal appeal because they deal with the whole human experience. In this feature article Antoinette Collins explores the book of Psalms. She presents the reader with information about the psalms before describing in more detail the psalms of praise and the psalms of lament.
In this issue we focus on the book of Psalms in the Old Testament. The Psalter is a rich collection of prayers which engage the whole person. Most significantly they are the prayers that Jesus would have recited in his Jewish community.
Reviews & Resources
Resources for Religious Education
Sharon Freeman reviews A Friendly Guide to Matthew’s Gospel by Dorothy Lee, We Pray as One 2013: Daily Liturgical Prayer by Julie Moran, and Many Roads One Journey by Andrew Chin.
Liturgies & Activities
Could you be a Psalmist?
Beth Nolen offers a process for students to investigate the psalms as prayers which engage the whole human experience. Students are given the opportunity to write their own psalm.
Illustrating the Psalms
Anne Victor explores Psalm 104 with students by illustrating the various verses of the psalm
Old Testament Poetry:
An Introduction to the Psalms - Part 2
Jennifer Callanan offers a structured scaffold for writing psalms with students. Students explore the general themes of psalms and reflect on modern day world issues before writing their own psalm.
Praying the Psalms using Mandalas
Beth Nolen’s activity helps students pray a psalm using mandalas. Students are given the opportunity to reflect on various psalms and look at various mandalas. Students then select a psalm and meditatively create their own mandala.
We Praise You God!
Anne Victor suggests strategies for exploring psalms of praise and thanks for creation. Students match verses to images and illustrate psalms.
Teaching with the Psalms
Erin Wedge gives an overview of the Psalms and their use in the Christian Tradition before exploring Psalm 148 in greater detail. She offers suggestions on how to use the psalms in the school and classroom settings.
The Psalms in a Post-Modern World
Tony Densley acknowledges the differences between the world of the psalms and the world of young people today as he poses the question: How are we to relate the ancient Jewish texts to young people who live in our present context? He uses the image of shepherd and sheep to reflect on this question.
Psalm 72 and the Just Ruler
Peter Arndt uses Psalm 72 to explore the qualities of a just ruler or nation. He presents readers with activities which help students research a current justice issue and take action by writing to relevant leaders.
For the Catechist
Praying the Psalms with Children
Michele Purcell presents a way of using the psalms to pray with children for a short time before each class. She reminds readers of the important place of prayer in our lives as catechists and teachers, and the importance of praying with children.
Musical Strategies for the Psalms
Peter Olley offers 3 strategies for using music to explore the psalms with students. These include composing music to accompany a psalm, researching instruments used in ancient times and examining how psalms have been adapted into composed songs or hymns.
King David (1985)
Jan Epstein reviews the movie King David. The movie tells the story of King David, a key figure in the bible and “one of the most loved characters in all Jewish history.” The movie stars Richard Gere as David.
Lamenting with Francis Bacon
Paige Bullen offers readers a reflection on the psalms of lament using Francis Bacon’s paints as visual stimulus. She demonstrates how art can illuminate Scripture and help us reflect on our own human experience in prayer.