Family Liturgies

Psalm 23: At Home with God

by Casey FitzGerald

Prayer
Holy God,
Be with us today as we hear the psalm of King David. Help us to remember that you protect, love, and guide us, every day of our lives. Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 23
Though most adults are primarily familiar with traditional translations of Psalm 23 (and the King James version, at that!), for family purposes, we will use The Message translation.

God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

Ideas for reading
To engage the whole family, try doing a call-and-response reading: have one family member read the psalm a line at a time, allowing time for the rest of the family to repeat each line. Alternately, do a read-around: pass the psalm around, each taking a turn reading the psalm line by line.

Conversation Starters and Activities
-What does a shepherd do? How does s/he do it?
-Verse 1 says, “I don’t need a thing.” Do you feel like you have enough? What do people really need? Make a family list of wants vs. needs.
-In verse 4, King David writes, “I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.” Tell a story about a time you were afraid. What happened to make your fear go away? What gave you comfort? Print and cut out the Sheep. On each sheep, write one thing that brings you comfort when you are worried or afraid. Put the sheep in places you’ll be able to find them when you need comfort!
-The last verse of Psalm 23 says, “I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.” When you hear the word “home,” what words or pictures come into your mind? Why do you think David talks about being “home” with God?

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Thank you God for being our shepherd.
You give us what we need.
You comfort us when we are afraid.
We are blessed every day by your beauty and love.
Amen.

Memory Verse
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” -Psalm 23:6

sheep running
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Casey W. FitzGerald is Associate Pastor for Children & Families and Young Adults at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, VA. She writes about storytelling at www.faithandwonder.com.

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