Why Should I Study the Psalms with Students?

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.

Let’s be honest: keeping up with the latest teenage trends sometimes feels like a full-time job in and of itself. One day it’s fidget spinners, the next, a Tik Tok dance. Fads come and fads go, creating a void of consistency in teenagers’ lives.

Not so with God’s Word. Unlike the latest pair of jeans, God and his Word are the same yesterday, today, and forever. It’s living, active, and has the supernatural power to speak into this exact moment; to meet us where we are with a truth that never goes out of style.

The Psalms in particular demonstrate Scripture’s unique relevance to our students’ lives today. Though written centuries ago, reading a psalm can sometimes feel like God has been reading your diary… in the best way.

The Psalms invite our students into the timeless prayers of God’s people. When we join in these praises, cries, and worship, it’s like opening up the old family photo album. We recount God’s faithfulness to his people, Israel, and we take part in the never-ending song of praising God for what he has done and asking him to do it again.

Here at Rooted, we are excited about the release of our new Survey of Psalms curriculum on Rooted Reservoir. Consider the following three reasons why studying the Psalms with your students might richly bless your youth group this year:

  1. The Psalms Give Students a Vocabulary for Prayer Through Every Emotion They Might Face.

Much of the Psalms’ richness comes from their unique way of speaking into all moments of life. From times of celebration, to despair, to fear, to abandonment, to feeling forgotten by God—it’s all there.

When a student has been left out by their friends, the author of Psalm 88 knows how they feel. When a student has lost a parent, Psalm 34 gives them words to pray that they might not have on their own. When they are scared about an upcoming test, Psalm 16 reminds them of the Lord’s protection and provision in all things. When a student is feeling joyful about recent good news, Psalm 146 invites them to direct their praise to God, from whom they have received all good things.

When we study the Psalms with our students, we remind them that no emotion they face is foreign to God, or his people. Studying the Psalms richly expands our vocabulary for prayer, as they help us bring all our feelings—the good, the bad, and the ugly—to the God who is eager to receive them.

  1. The Psalms Recount God’s Faithfulness to His People.

Everyone loves a good story, and the Psalms are teeming with stories of God’s faithfulness to his people. The Psalms remind us that God is the one who created all things (Ps 8), that he is the one who led Israel out of slavery (Ps 77), that he is the one who promised a royal king to sit on his throne forever (Ps 2), that he is the one who has never failed to meet the needs of his children (Ps 104), and that he is the one who has delivered his people from all their enemies (Ps 127).

By seeing the past faithfulness of God, students can be presently encouraged that the eternal and consistent God will be with them, as just as he was with Israel. We look back to the Psalms as reminders that what God says he will do, he does. He is a God who can be trusted, obeyed, and followed in all things.

3.The Psalms Teach Us How to Pray and How to Worship God.

As important as prayer is, it can be hard to know where and how to begin. If we want to encourage students in their prayer life, there is perhaps no better place for them than the Psalms. As the hymnal of God’s people, the Psalms show us how to approach God in worship, how to cry out to him in prayer, and how to sing unto him a new song.

Amazingly enough, the Psalms are the prayerbook that Jesus would have grown up using. When we pray through the Psalms, we pray back to Jesus the very words he himself prayed to God. In studying the Psalms, students will naturally learn what it looks like to draw closer to God in prayer. They will be reminded that God has given his people words to pray as an invitation into relationship with himself.

In an ever-changing world, the Psalms are a timeless gift. Consider studying the Psalms alongside your students as an opportunity to grow closer to the God who made them (Ps 139), sees them (Ps 34), and loves them (Ps 136). May you and your students be encouraged to cry out to this God in prayer and to recount all the wonderful deeds of the Lord. Indeed, all his paths are steadfast love and faithfulness (Ps 25:10).

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Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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