Psalms of Hymns and Thanksgiving: Giving Students Vocabulary and Vision for Worship

We are thrilled to announce that today we launch two new curriculum packages on Rooted Reservoir: Foundations of Grace, covering Romans and Ephesians, and Survey of Psalms. We will also add a new course on Missions to our training video series, just in time to prepare for your summer mission trips!

The book of Psalms addresses just about every human emotion and spiritual frame imaginable. This makes it an ideal book to study for all Christians, but especially for young people as they learn to navigate their inner life within a biblical framework. Rooted Reservoir’s Survey of Psalms curriculum walks you through three sections of ten Psalms, entitled Psalms: Lament and Confidence, Psalms: Hymns and Thanksgiving, and Psalms: Royal and Wisdom. With the guidance of God’s Word, Kendal Conner, Ben Birdsong, and Seth Stewart will help you as you help your students learn how to praise, lament, and rejoice biblically.

Sometimes students struggle to find the words to articulate their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. For a generation that communicates through memes, emojis, and abbreviations, the already difficult task of communicating with God proves to be even more of a challenge. As youth workers, equipping our students with examples of how to talk to God in prayer and worship is essential if we want our students to connect with God relationally. The Psalms serve as a template for seeking God in everyday conversation, so that as youth workers teach their students the psalms of hymns and thanksgiving, they are equipping and empowering teenagers to have a template for an ongoing prayerful relationship with God. The example of the psalmist prepares our students to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV) by demonstrating how past generations learned to speak to God. In teaching the faith to our students, practical tools and examples will help them to make the connection from faith in our youth meeting with faith in their everyday lives.

The hymn psalms were written to be sung and used in worship of God. These psalms provide words of praise that can be used as people gather in worship, but they are also easily memorized so people can worship everywhere. Through the psalms, people can learn amazing truths about God and His faithfulness that they then express back to Him in worship. Hymn psalms typically call the people to praise the Lord and then provide reasons why He is worthy of praise.

As our students go through their every day, the hymn psalms teach them to look around, consider the character of God, and respond to Him in worship and praise. Praise and worship can go from something in the church worship service or on a Spotify playlist into a natural response to God’s grace overflowing from the heart of a student who is in tune with Him, rejoicing in His character. Worship becomes the soundtrack of life as students are equipped with a pattern and a vocabulary to proclaim God’s greatness and character back to Him.

Thanksgiving psalms are written specifically to thank God for His work, character, and goodness to His people. Responding to a specific moment of God’s grace on display, thanksgiving psalms equip God’s people to see His hand at work in all circumstances and respond with praise.

Through thanksgiving psalms, students learn to look naturally to God as the source of the goodness and grace in their own lives. God is the one at work. Our students should learn to pause and thank God for his work and goodness on display in their lives and those of others around them. Thanksgiving psalms give our students examples of how gratitude marks their lives as followers of Jesus because His goodness and grace are displayed in so many ways that they do not even recognize.

Through the Rooted Reservoir study on Hymns and Thanksgiving Psalms, students will learn how to respond to God through all the emotions and challenges of life. They will discover God’s faithfulness to His people throughout history, and see how believers pray and worship God. The Hymn and Thanksgiving Psalms study also explores God’s desire for authentic relationship with us, and reveals that God is worthy of worship.

Through the selections from the psalter, students will learn:

• God is great and worthy of praise.
• God is an exalted King.
• God is worthy of the praise of all peoples.
• God is our safe place.
• God’s love for His children never ends.
• God is faithful in all moments.
• God is our help.
• God’s love does not end.
• God knows us inside and out.
• God deserves praise because He does great things.

His faithfulness and his unchanging character are on display in every verse they study.

As youth workers, we can equip our students to personally and relationally connect with God through the psalms of hymns and thanksgiving. Living with an everyday awareness of God’s presence, work, and character, and expressing that back to God in worship and prayer, transforms the lives of our students. Worship moves from an activity at a church to a lifestyle to his glory!

Please go to Rooted Reservoir for more information.

Ben Birdsong is a church and para-church student ministry veteran and currently serves as the Minister of Missions at Christ Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also an adjunct professor teaching children, youth, and family ministries at Birmingham Theological Seminary. Ben also helps churches with custom curriculum through Your Youth Ministry Curriculum and authors with book projects through Birdsong Innovations. Ben has bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Human Resource Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Master of Divinity degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry in Ministry to Emerging Generations from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. As an author, Ben has written the devotional books Words from the Cross: 7 Statements that Will Transform Your Life, journeying through Jesus’ final moments before His death, and James: Everyday Faith. He is also a monthly contributor for parenting and family ministry content for Birmingham Christian Family magazine. Ben also wrote the John study and a portion of the Psalm study for Rooted Reservoir. Ben is married to Liz. He enjoys reading, writing, watching movies, and blogging at

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