Another activity that’s good for youth group, but also cell group meetings, is the progressive psalm. It requires no significant extra preparation, but is a nice act of corporate worship.

It’s a bit like the game “Consequences“, except that a poem of worship to God is built, instead of a silly story.

As with everything else on this site, this isn’t my idea, and I take no credit for it – it is an exercise I have taken part in that I found to be a source of blessing and enjoyment. I struggle to identify where I first came across it as well! The Fresh Expressions website has a good explanation, and a original credit.

Progressive Psalms

It works best in a group of at least 5-8 people – if there’s more than this is it’s probably worth doing it in two groups. Each person will need a pen.

I think it’s always worth explaining to the group how the activity works – what the purpose is, what the steps are along the way (in overview), and what the result is.

Hand each person a sheet of A4 paper. These need to be divided into 8 horizontal sections, starting at the top – one way to do this is to hold the paper in portrait, then fold it in half taking the top to the bottom, and repeat twice. When unfolded again, there will be 8 sections separated by the creases.

  1. In the top section, each person writes write a short sentence of praise to God, e.g “Lord, I want to praise you”
  2. The paper is then folded backwards along the crease, so that what was written can’t be seen, and the paper passed to the person to the left.
  3. On their new piece of paper, each person writes something about God starting with ‘because’, e.g. “because you are holy beyond measure”
    Fold and pass to the left again.
  4. Write something else about God’s character, begining with ‘and’, e.g “and you are worthy of all praise”. Fold and pass it on.
  5. Now write 2 things involving how wonderful God’s creation is. e.g. “Galaxies thousands of light years long are but a speck to you, you know the smallest ant by name” Fold and pass on.
  6. Next write something God does for you personally. e.g. “You fill me with your spirit.” Fold and pass.
  7. Last but one – write a personal message to Jesus with ‘because’ in the middle. e.g. “I thank you Jesus because you died for me”. Fold and pass.
  8. Finally, write a resolution – “therefore I give my life you every day.” Fold and pass last time

Now it’s the good bit – each person unfolds the bit of paper in front of them, and takes turns to read out loud their constructed psalm, while the rest of the groups listens, and hopefully worships and prays.

They can be collected at the end, and typed up to be e-mailed round the group, or individuals can just take them home.