Teaching Kids to Praise

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Originally posted on Sojourn's Travel Blog (February 2010) Teaching Kids To PraiseIf you are a parent, then God has commanded you to teach your children about Him.  And He has commanded you to teach your children to worship Him—and worship Him expressively.

In Psalm 78:4, the songwriter, Asaph, declares: “We will… tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” Asaph is an example of both a father who led his children in worship and a leader who led the community in worship.  Asaph wrote worship songs that gave praise to the Lord and reminded the people about all that he did.  Even if you are not musical like Asaph, you can lead your children to worship God.

  1. Enjoy God yourself! Expressive joy in the gospel message makes it believable to our children.   Parents who truly display the joy of the Lord in their whole being encourage children to believe.   You are the curriculum that your child will learn most fully.  So, be expressive yourself.  It is a good thing to praise the Lord (Psalm 92:1).  Check out these great worshipresources—including the chord sheet for Jeremy Quillo’s arrangement of “When I Think About Jesus.”  Download the PDF here. Then, fill your home with praise!  Sing out!  Clap!  Dance!
  2. Encourage your kids to be responsive and expressive! You shouldn’t demand outward expression from your kids, but you can encourage it. The scripture calls everyone to clap their hands to the Lord. We should feel comfortable doing the same thing.  The call to worship God appropriately is universal (Psalm 47:1).  Call your kids to respond to God with their hearts, but don’t set your expectations too high for their responsiveness or heart engagement in singing, because many of the children are not yet believers.  Remember, your leadership and example is the most important thing.
  3. Explain what you are doing. Take time to explain what you are doing.  Parents have the privilege and responsibility to show our kids the greatness, power, and glory of Jesus.  Take time to talk about the words we sing.  Take time to explain why we do what we do (Exodus 13:8).  Take time to ask questions about what a song means and how its words apply to your child’s life.   Ask questions to find out how much our kids really understand about what we’re doing.   By the way, these conversations always seem to be more fruitful when they are casual—outside a time of family worship rather than during it.


(1) Explain to your children why we sometimes raise our hands when we sing or pray.  Read 1 Timothy 2:8.  Explain how we want our kids to get comfortable lifting their hands in worship, but we don’t want them to misunderstand what it signifies.  Lifting our hands shows that God is holy (different from us), and He has made us holy (different from the world).  We don’t lift our hands to show that we make ourselves holy or great.  We don’t lift our hands in order to become holy.

(2) Read Psalm 98 together as a family.  Then answer these questions:  Who and what is worshiping God in this song?  How are they worshiping God?  What parts of their bodies do they use?  What instruments do they use?  Why do they worship God in this way?

More Resources:

Bob Kauflin, “Q&A Training Children to Worship God,”Worship Matters (3/31/06).

Bob Kauflin, “One more thought on Training Children to Worship God,” Worship Matters (3/31/06).

Mike Bradshaw and Ken Boer, “Training Children to Worship God,” WorshipGod09 Conference: From Generation To Generation © 2009 Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Marty Machowski and Mike Bradshaw, "Training Children to Worship God," WorshipGod06 Conference (c) 2006 Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Chandi Plummer and Jared Kennedy, “Music for Little Ones,”SojournKids (10/2/08).


Psalms Family Devotional


The Psalms – A Biblical Guide to Worshiping God We live in a culture that celebrates self-expression.   Reality TV shows are constantly squirreling contestants aside to ask what they think about others on the show. On talk shows, people expose their greatest personal and relational struggles.  Society encourages us to say how we feel without any filter for our sin or reference to the God who made and sustains us.  In the Psalms we find raw honesty – expressions of immense sadness, anger, joy, anxiety, etc.  The Psalms give expression to the full range of human emotions, but they do so always with reference to the God who made us and stands as Judge and Savior above us.  How do we worship God when others have wronged us?  The Psalms instruct us every conceivable situation as to how we should express our thoughts to our loving heavenly Father and ultimately how to worship him through all situations in life.

Suggestions for Incorporating the Psalms into Family Devotions

  • Over the course of this month, have everyone in the family memorize the same Psalm (suggestion: Psalm 19).  Then, when the family takes a walk or is in the car together, take turns reciting parts of the psalm.
  • Read a psalm or part of a psalm together at a family meal or before bed time.  If you read roughly one psalm per day, you will read through the book of Psalms twice per year.
  • If your children are facing particular struggles, find a psalm that teaches them how to express their emotions in a God-honoring way.
  • In family prayer time, read a psalm slowly verse by verse.  Pause after each verse to allow family members to express the ideas in their own words and apply them to their own situations.
  • If you have a musically gifted member of the family, invite that person to make up an original melody to a psalm or portion of a psalm.
  • Have the whole family draw pictures that illustrate some of the images or metaphors found in a psalm.
  • For older children – have a “scavenger hunt” through the Psalms.  Everyone is required to find five types of psalms: (1) A psalm that praises God, (2) A psalm that expresses sadness, (3) A psalm that mentions the King, (4) A psalm that expresses repentance, and (5) A psalm that expresses thanksgiving.