I believe that stories have an unmistakeable power to pass on faith to young people. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to teach about Psalm 23 to children is to tell them a story. I wrote the following two stories about sheep and the Shepherd to help you explain the meaning behind this popular Psalm to kids.
You can read these stories on this website or can download a PDF printout along with discussion questions here:Download Printable Version of the Stories >
To get more faith fables like these stories, sign up for the Formative Fiction Newsletter.
The Ragged Sheep
A ragged sheep lived in a forest. His wool was tangled, misshapen, and quite dirty. He was treated harshly as a young sheep and fled from his master. He stayed clear of the roads and paths and made his way into the forest.
He felt very alone.
One day, wandering the forest looking for water, he came across a stream. There he saw another sheep drinking from the water. This sheep was very clean and when she looked up at him, her face was full of joy.
“Hello there,” the clean sheep said to him.
But the ragged sheep turned and trotted away.
The clean sheep followed him. “Sir, why do you flee?” she yelled after him.
The ragged sheep tried to hide, but failed. The other sheep saw him and said, “Hello! Where are you going?”
“I’m going nowhere,” said the ragged sheep.
“Nowhere? But the road is just past that stream over there. Why don’t you join me and the other sheep in my flock?”
The ragged sheep grumbled. “And be punished by your shepherd? No, I must stay out here alone.”
“Punished? No, he doesn’t punish us. He leads us along the road to green pastures and clear running water. We lack nothing within his care.”
“But isn’t he cruel to you?” asked the ragged sheep.
“Come and see for yourself,” she said in reply.
The ragged sheep was hungry and thirsty. He decided to give this sheep a chance and follow her back to the flock.
When he arrived he found many other sheep. They were all so full of joy. In the center of the sheep stood a shepherd. He walked over and knelt down before the ragged sheep, who felt very aware of how dirty he was compared to the many clean sheep.
“Welcome,” said the shepherd.
The ragged sheep looked into the eyes of the shepherd and started to cry. He saw in this man such mercy and love that he had never seen before.
“You don’t have to be alone my sheep. Will you join us?” said the shepherd.
The ragged sheep walked to the flock and the other sheep welcomed him with joy.
“The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.”Psalm 23:1
The Little Sheep in the Dark Valley
A little sheep loved her shepherd. He always took care of her and her sister and brother sheep. They had nothing to fear under the shepherd’s protection.
But one day a storm came and darkness covered the land. The lightning struck and all the sheep were afraid. They ran this way and that. The flock was in chaos.
The little sheep ran for cover and found herself in a very dark valley. The rain stopped and wolves were howling in the distance.
It was so dark. Even the light of the moon was hidden by the rocks of the cliffs on either side.
The little sheep could see nothing. As strange as it may sound, the sheep wasn’t scared of the darkness. She wasn’t scared of the wolves. She knew her shepherd would come for her.
Then she heard his voice calling for her. Although she could not see him in the darkness, she heard him. He came to her and led her out of the valley with his staff.
She joined the other sheep of the flock, who were calm now. The shepherd had comforted them all. They rejoiced in the protection of the shepherd.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”Psalm 23:4
Download and Print the Stories & Discussion Questions
You can read these stories on this website or can download a PDF printout along with discussion questions here: