|This article is an excerpt out of Ideas for Parents: A Collection of Tips, Insights, and Activities for Real-World Parenting by Mark Matlock and Christopher Lyon. For more information on this book and/or to purchase it, please click here.|
Scripture: Psalm 66
Your family likely experiences praising God together at church. But how often do you talk about that experience together? Why do we worship God? Why does God care? What does it do for us and for him?
So much of our education about who God is and what matters to him comes during times of singing praise and worship songs in church. I was reminded of this one Sunday when I overheard a mom sitting in the row behind me tell her curious preschooler the name of each song and a line about what it meant, such as, “God’s love is big!”
I (Mark) grew up singing hymns and praise songs in church from a very young age. When I was a young teen, I realized that some of the songs I’d been singing my whole life didn’t make sense to me. But the more I learned about the Bible, the more I understood how those lyrics fit into everything I believed. The songs started to matter more.
These Talking Points about praising God come from Psalm 66. Think about using the questions below to help you have a productive conversation with your child about how we praise God and why it matters.
Do you enjoy singing praise and worship songs in church? Why or why not?
What do you like most about it?
What do you like least about it, if anything?
What are a few of your favorite songs that we sing?
What do you think singing those praise and worship songs does for us as Christians? How does it help us in our relationship with God? How does it help us to live better lives for God or move closer to God? (Parent: Emphasize that we’re commanded to praise God and doing so helps us draw closer to him. It also reminds us of what is “real”: he is God and every good thing comes from him.)
Do you think our singing of worship and praise songs does anything for God? Does he benefit from our sincere worship and praise? (Parent: Emphasize that yes, God cares about and responds to our worship. Some Bible verses you could look at together include Psalm 22:3; Psalm 103:2; Hebrews 11:6; and James 4:8.)
When David praises God in the Psalms, he often talks about shouting and being loud? Do you think we’re loud enough when we praise God together at church? Why or why not? What’s the point of being loud? (Parent: See Psalm 66:1-2.)
In the Psalms, David often praises God for specific things about God that are great, such as his power or mercy. What are some other great things we can praise God for?
Another thing David does in the Psalms is remembering and describing great things God has done for him or for Israel – and then David brings up those things again and again to show how good God is. What are some great things God has done for our family that we can remember and talk about when we praise him?
In the middle of praising God for the good things he’s done for Israel, David mentions that God tested them: “brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs” (v. 11) and then “brought us to a place of abundance” (v. 12). Why do you think David would praise God for taking his people into and out of a terrible time? (Parent: God’s grace to us includes using the hard times in our lives to bring us closer to him – and he deserves our praise for that, too.)
Of course, we can praise God silently in our hearts and minds as an act of personal worship. But Psalm 66 encourages us to praise God out loud to each other. Why do you think that matters? (Parent: Emphasize that praising God to each other encourages us all to praise God more.)