Ever struggle with coming up with really creative devotionals that much up with your theme at a retreat, camp, or mission trip? Here is a simple way to get every student at these kinds of events in the Word and prepared for worship . . . and it doesn’t have to match your theme. I have used this simple method a number of times in worship prep time before large group worship, and it has always helped to focus the students on God and enhance our corporate worship time.
Here you go:
Have them read the Songs of Ascents, Psalm 120-134. There are fifteen of them, so feel free to break them up into chunks that match your schedule. These songs were used by God’s people as they walked up the steps of the Temple Mount, preparing for worship. Isn’t that what we want our students (and churches) doing every time we enter for worship?
Come up with simple reflection questions that go along with the chunks you settle on for your group. Sometimes, it’s easiest to use universal questions that go along with any passage. For example,
- What one phrase or idea really stood out to you?
- What does this passage reveal about God and/or His character?
- What does this passage reveal about you/us/mankind?
- How does this passage challenge you as you prepare for worship?
BONUS: If you have five sessions for worship, have the students read three psalms at a time. You could even tack on one of the “Praise the Lord” psalms (Psalm 146-150), since there are five of those, too. I typically set aside thirty minutes before the start of worship for them to read and reflect on these passages.