Kids explore a verse from Psalm 23 and find out what it means for God to renew our strength.
Scripture: Psalm 23:3a
- pitcher of water
- paper cups
- fast-paced worship music
- music player
Ahead of time, fill a pitcher with water, and set out enough paper cups for each child.
Have kids stand in a circle. Then ask:
- Tell about a time you’ve been really, really tired. Listen to responses.
Then tell kids that they’re going to do some exercising right now. Have kids start doing jumping jacks. Play energetic worship music in the background. Have kids do the jumping jacks for about two minutes—until they look pretty tired. Then have kids stop and sit down.
Say: We tire out our bodies when we exercise and work hard without taking rests.
- What makes you feel better after exercising?
Say: Water, food, and rest can all make us feel better when we’re physically tired. Pour cups of water and pass them around the circle so each child has a cup. But our bodies aren’t the only things that get tired and need to be rejuvenated. Our minds and our hearts can also get worn out. They get tired when we’re stressed out, when we feel pain, when we have fights with other people, or when we experience other hard things.
God Renews Our Strength
- When have you felt tired in your mind or your heart? What caused you to be tired?
- If water, food, and rest help us feel stronger when we’re physically tired, what helps us feel better when we’re tired in our minds or hearts?
Say: It’s not as easy to strengthen our hearts and our minds—it takes more than just water or food. But God loves us and he wants us to feel better when we’re hurt or tired. God renews our strength and God’s power makes us strong. We’re going to pray now and ask God to renew us and make us strong whenever we’re tired or hurting.
As you pray, have kids take sips of their water whenever you say the word “strong.”
Pray: Dear God, thank you for your power. We know that your power makes us strong. So we pray that you’ll be with us whenever we’re feeling tired or hurt in our minds and hearts. We know that in those times, you’re with us and your power makes us strong. Thank you for renewing us and making us strong again. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Have kids stand up and face you.
Say: In the Bible, Psalm 23 tells us that the Lord watches over us, guides us, and gives us peace. It also tells us that God’s power makes us strong. The 23rd Psalm says, “[The Lord] renews my strength.” Renew means to make new again—to restore something to what it used to be. So if God “renews” your strength, that means he makes you as strong as you were before you got tired. Imagine if you ran for miles and miles and miles, and you were so tired you couldn’t possibly run any farther. If God renewed your strength right then, it would mean you could run miles and miles and miles again…as if you’d never run in the first place.
But this verse isn’t just talking about physical strength; this verse is also talking about our emotional and mental strength. God can renew that as well.
- What are some things that make you feel sad or troubled? Listen to responses.
Responding to Sad Events
Say: I’m going to list some events that might make you feel low or sad. After I say an event, show me just how “low” that event would make you feel. For example, if I said, “It’s Christmas morning and you got exactly what you wanted!” That would probably make you feel super happy, so you would jump up and down. But if I said that you got a bad grade on an important test, that would make you feel pretty bad, so you would duck down kind of low. The sadder an event would make you feel, the lower you squat. If you can’t imagine being sadder, lie down on the floor.
Read the following list, and give kids time after each one to show how low they’d feel. You can come up with more “sad” events if you think of others that might be more appropriate for your group of children. You’ll also want to be sensitive to real-life events that have happened to kids in your ministry, such as divorce, sickness, or death. Kids may bring those events up during the discussion time; remind them that God is real and can give them hope during those hard times.
- You miss an important goal playing soccer, and your team loses the game.
- You have a fight with your best friend.
- Your dog runs away, and you can’t find her anywhere.
- You climb a tree, fall off a branch, and break your arm.
- You get in trouble for lying to your parents.
God Gives Us Strength
- What do you do when you feel sad or low? What makes you feel better?
- How do you encourage other people when they feel low?
- How does God help us when we’re feeling sad or low?
Say: Life isn’t always good or easy; sometimes really painful things happen to us that hurt us and make us sad. Other times, we have a bad day or week or month, and we just get run-down in our minds and hearts. During those really hard times, God never leaves us. God strengthens us and makes us feel better with words and his presence. He encourages us by putting people in our lives who love and care for us. He reminds us that he loves us. Because we have God in our hearts and minds, we have his power in our lives. And God’s power makes us strong.