November 25, 2012
Focal Scripture Passage:
Psalm 34:1-3; 138:1-8; 145:1-21
To lead students to express the difference between thanksgiving and praise,
and to encourage them to (a) make a list of things for which they praise God
and (b) include praise in their daily prayer time.
Read the notes on Psalms 34; 138; and 145 found in the Sunday School
Teacher Book. Have enough of the
Praise God for …” handout
for your anticipated attendance. Have some pens or pencils available for
any who do not have one.
(Create Learning Readiness):
Remind the class that each week as we gather together for Sunday School
class we share prayer requests with one another. It is a wonderful thing
for our friends to support us in prayer. Tell the class that this week you
are going to take a few moments to let them praise God. Ask: “Does
anyone have a brief word of praise?”
Probably a few class members will speak up,
telling about some answered prayer or about something God has done for
them. After two or three have done this, write the words “Praise”
and “Thanks” on the
marker board or chalkboard. Explain that often when a group of Christians
give praise to God (point to the word “Praise”
on the board) they are actually thanking Him for something He has done
(point to the word “Thanks” on the board). Tell them it is not wrong to
praise God for acting on your behalf, but in this morning’s lesson you want
to clarify the distinction between thanksgiving and praise.
Ask: “What do you think is the difference
between thanksgiving and praise?” (thanks means to express gratitude for
something someone has done, while praise means to name and honor someone’s
attributes). Give some examples (such as are found in the introduction to
this lesson on page 46 of the Sunday School Member Quarterly) to
illustrate this distinction. Another way to visualize this distinction
would be to thank one of your class members for something he or she has
done, and then to praise him or her for some character quality. After doing
so, point out the difference between thanks and praise.
Tell the class in the psalms they will study
this morning they will discover a number of things for which David praised
God, and have an opportunity to list some things for which they, too, can
praise God. Give everyone present a copy of the
Praise God for …” handout.
Offer pens or pencils to any who do not have one.
HEART OF THE LESSON
Remind the class that last week’s lesson was about thanking God.
Ask: “Did you devote some time during the week to thanking God?”
Ask if any volunteers would recite last week’s memory verses (Psalm
103:1-2) for the class. In that psalm David thanked God for things He had
We Should Praise the Lord
Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 34:1-3.
Ask: “According to verse 1, when should we praise God?” (at
all times, continually).
Note that thanks may be dependent upon our circumstances, but
praise is not. We can and should praise God at all times – even when
everything is going wrong – because His character and nature are worthy of
praise regardless of our circumstances.
Ask: “What are some things people boast about?” (their
accomplishments, their possessions, their family, even the achievements of
their favorite sports team).
Ask: “What does verse 2 say we should boast about?” (the
Ask the class what they think the words “magnify” and “exalt” mean.
Ask: “According to verse 3, what is an attribute of God that we
should praise Him for?” (His name). Ask everyone to write this on their
Tell the class that verse 20 is a prophecy about Jesus (see John
From Psalm 34 we are reminded that we should praise the Lord
We Should Praise God
Read Psalm 138:1-3.
Note that (in verse 1) David praised God wholeheartedly and even in
the presence of idols (false gods) and idol-worshippers.
Ask: “According to verse 2, what are two things for which we can
praise God?” (His name and His Word). Ask everyone to write these
things on their handout.
Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 138:4-5.
Ask: “Who will praise the
Lord?” (all the kings of the earth).
Explain that these verses point toward the future time when
everyone on earth will praise the Lord Jesus Christ (see Isa. 45:23;
Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10; Rev. 5:13).
Ask: “According to verse 5, what is something else for which we
can praise God?” (His great glory). Ask everyone to write this on their
Ask the class to listen for other things for which we can praise God,
as you read Psalm 138:6-8 (His care for the lowly, the strength and
protection He gives us, and His mercy toward us). Ask everyone to write
these things on their handout.
Tell the class in Psalm 138 we are told to praise God wholeheartedly,
we are promised that one day He will be praised by everyone, and we are
reminded of a few things for which we should praise God.
We Should Praise God for
His Character and Attributes.
Read Psalm 145:1-2.
Ask: “According to verse 1, how long should we praise God?”
Ask: “According to verse 2, how often should we praise
God?” (every day). Encourage your class members to make praise a part
of their daily prayer time.
Ask a volunteer to read Psalm 145:3-4.
Verse 4 contains another of God’s attributes for which we should
praise Him. Ask the class to identify that attribute (His unsearchable
greatness). Ask everyone to write this on their handout.
Tell the class the remainder of this psalm names more of God’s
attributes and character qualities for which we should praise Him. Read
through Psalm 145:5-20, one verse at a time. After reading each
verse, ask the class if there is a praiseworthy character quality or
attribute of God contained in that verse; then ask them to write that on
their handout. They should name some or all of the following (note: not
every verse contains something for which to praise God):
Verse 5 –
glorious honor, majesty, wondrous works
Verse 6 –
might, awesome acts, greatness
Verse 7 –
great goodness, righteousness
Verse 8 –
gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and very merciful
Verse 9 –
goodness, tender mercies
Verse 11 –
Verse 12 –
mighty acts, glorious majesty of his kingdom
Verse 13 –
everlasting kingdom and dominion
Verse 14 –
upholds those who fall and raises up those
who are bowed down
Verses 15-16 – provision
Verse 17 –
Verse 18 – close (available)
to all who call upon Him
Verses 19-20 – caring
Tell the class Psalm 145 teaches by example that we should praise God
for His character and attributes.
Read Psalm 145:21. Tell the class that verse summarizes today’s
lesson. Everyone who belongs to Jesus Christ should be eager to speak His
praise. We should do that every day and forever, regardless of our present
Remind the class that last week’s lesson was
about thanks and this week’s lesson has been about praise.
Ask: “What is the difference between thanks and praise?”
(thanks is expressing gratitude for what someone has done, while
praise is honoring or extoling someone for who they are).
Tell the class that thanksgiving and praise
are both vitally important for the Christian. Remind them that last week
you gave them a handout on which to write things for which they were
thankful to God. We ought to thank God every day because He has done so
much for us.
Tell the class this week you have given them
a handout on which to write things for which they praise God. We ought to
praise God every day for who He is. Ask the following rhetorical question:
“How long has it been since you praised God for who He is rather
than just thanking Him for what He has done for you?” Encourage
them to take their handout home and use it this week as a starting point for
their personal praise to God every day. Suggest that they add to the list
as they think of more of God’s praiseworthy attributes and character
Explain to the class that most of our prayer
time is probably devoted to asking God for things. It is not wrong to ask
God for things; in fact, we are commanded to do so (Phil. 4:6). Our prayer
time, however, should include more than just requests. Tell the class every
day’s prayer time should also include confession, thanksgiving, and praise.
Of those, praise may the part we are least comfortable with. Suggest that
they all practice right now.
Ask everyone to bow their head and close
their eyes. Ask them to praise God right now, without asking for anything.
Wait a moment and then voice a closing prayer.
Encourage everyone to devote some time each day this week to praising God.
Be sure everyone receives a Sunday School Member Quarterly for the
new quarter. Tell them we will begin a study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians next
Sunday. The Daily Bible Reading Guide begins tomorrow.