Daniel and the Lions’ Den
Scripture: Daniel 6:1-28
Memory Verse: “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am the Lord your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (CEV)
· God is with us in good and bad times.
· God listens to us when we pray.
· Like Daniel, God wants us to pray regularly.
· Like Daniel, we should trust God even when it is hard.
1. The students will hear/read the story of Daniel in the lions’ den and act out the various roles in the story.
2. Discussion that follows will allow children to make connections from the story to their own lives.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Welcome the kids. Make sure that everyone is in the right classroom! Kids will either already have name tags on, or will be given a name tag by their shepherd as they arrive. Make sure that you know everyone’s name and greet her/him individually.
2. Introduce the topic. Who has been to the zoo? Did you see the lions? Talk with the class about the size of a lion’s teeth and claws. Today’s story is about Daniel who was in a cage with hungry lions and through faith and prayer lived to tell about it. We are going to act out Daniel’s adventure.
1. Review the scripture passages that this workshop is going to focus on. Have the kids find the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. Read the passages Daniel 6:1-28 to them. You may choose props to help liven up your reading. (Dress as Daniel, hold a stuffed lion, etc.)
The book of
Daniel in the Old Testament is divided into 2 different sections. The first
half of the book (chapters 1-6) tells how Daniel and 3 of his friends from
3. Warm up: Have kids stand up and stretch. Tell them they are doing acting warm ups. Together act out: a lion that has just woken up from a nap and is stretching, an angry king, a hungry lion, praying Daniel, a frightened Daniel, a surprised King (or other things of your choosing).
1. Possible drama activities:
Younger kids: You read the script and have the kids act out the story as you read. You can also tape yourself reading the story so that you can play it for the final “production”. Some kids may not want to participate as an actor, but would be willing to read one of the characters lines. Select those who want to be actors first then pick lions. Everyone will want to be a lion! Sometimes friends will play a part together if they feel insecure. Be flexible, some children enjoy reading and speaking, others prefer a silent part. Some children would prefer to help with props. Practice first and then do the final cut.
Depending on the size of the class, you may need to do the story/drama activity twice so that each child can have a chance to participate in the drama (and be a lion).
Older kids: You can use the script provided, or have the kids improvise their own scenes. If you like the idea of having kids creating their own skits, I suggest that you divide the class into three groups and have each group focus on a different part of the story.
One group could be the group of rulers watching Daniel, deciding how to trap Daniel and getting King Darius to make the rule. The second group could act out what happens after the law is made and how Daniel handles the situation and what King Darius finally has to agree to. The third group can act out the lions’ den scene (everyone will want this scene!) and the outcome.
If you think that everyone WILL want to act out the lions’ den scene, divide the class in half and have each group do one of the first two suggestions and then have both groups do the lions’ den scene! This should end anyone feeling cheated!
Another option for the older kids would be to have 2 people be each character one the voice and one the “actor”, then they could switch places for the repeat show. This avoids trying to have kids read and move at the same time.
2. Perform! Have the kids put on costumes, if you think appropriate, and get any stage props that they think will enhance their scene. Remind them this is not going to be a polished performance! Some of them might even be holding scripts as they are acting.
3. Discussion: This is an important part of the drama experience. Please be sure to leave enough time for this, as well as journaling and closing. This is the place where you, the workshop leader, will help the kids make the connections between the Bible story and their own lives. Look back at the lesson concepts some possible discussion points/questions:
a. Was God with Daniel only when things were going good?
b. How do you think Daniel felt when he heard he couldn’t pray without getting into trouble?
c. Do you think Daniel trusted God? Why?
d. The Bible tells us Daniel prayed regularly. When should we pray?
e. What is the main or most important part of this story? Why do you think that?
Remember to accept all reasonable answers, especially to the questions that don’t really have a right answer! Younger kids will do better with fact recall type questions (What was the King’s name?), but try and encourage them to think deeper into the story, beyond “right” answers.
4. Clean up! You will need to allow for cleanup, journaling and closing. I suggest that clean up start no later than 10:30-10:35. Involve all kids in clean up so that you will have plenty of time for the closing/sharing.
At 10:35 AM ask the shepherds to pass out the journal page and pencils/markers.
Prompts for journal writing: Draw your favorite scene from this play. If you were Daniel in the lions’ den what would your prayer be?
Prayer: suggestion Dear God, thank you for listening to our prayers when we are in trouble or afraid. Help us to remember to pray regularly like Daniel did. Amen.
Script (copies if you are using it with older kids or plan on having younger kids read it)
Year One Lesson Sets from St. Elmo’s Choir, Daniel and the Lion’s Den
Children’s Illustrated Bible, retold by Marjorie Newman, World International Publishing Limited, 1989
DANIEL IN THE LIONS’ DEN
Narrator 1: King Darius, king of the mighty Medes and
Persians, needed someone to be the chief ruler in
Narrator 2: The other rulers were angry. They couldn’t believe that a foreigner had been chose over them! They worked out a trap to catch Daniel.
Ruler 1: What are we going to do? We can’t let Daniel get such an important job.
Ruler 2: We’ll get rid of him! Let’s go to King Darius and get him to make a law that will make Daniel do something wrong.
Ruler 1: What sort of law should we suggest……I know, something to do with Daniel’s religion and his God.
Ruler 2: Yes! That is a great idea! Let’s go!
Narrator 1: The Medes and Persians worshipped many gods, but Daniel worshipped only the God of Israel, the one true God.
Narrator 2: The jealous rulers knew that Daniel prayed often to his God. So, with fast-beating hearts, the rulers went to the king.
Ruler 1 & 2: O King, live forever!
Ruler 1: All the rulers have agreed you should make a law saying that for thirty days no one should pray to any god or man except you.
Ruler 2: And if anyone disobeys the law, they should be thrown to the lions.
King Darius: Oh, what a nice thing to suggest. My rulers must think I am a great king if they want this law. Of course, I am a pretty good king. Yes, I like that idea.
Ruler 1: This law should be written down immediately!
King Darius: (Nodding head) Very well, I will write it down.
Narrator 1: Happily the rulers watch King Darius write down the law. They knew that once a law of the Medes and Persians was written down, it could never be changed.
Narrator 2: The law was then told to everyone in the land. As soon as Daniel heard it, he knew it as a trap set for him. He must either give up his daily prayers to God, or be thrown to the lions.
Daniel: What am I going to do? I can save my life by not praying to God for thirty days…I could save my life by praying secretly in my head…. I know, I could find a hiding place and pray there!
No, I know what I must do!
Narrator 1: Daniel went into his house. Upstairs he went, to the front room where he
always prayed. He opened the window
which faced towards
Narrator 2: Daniel prayed to God to help him with this problem. Daniel did not try and hide his prayer, but prayed just like he had before the new law.
Ruler 1: Look! Daniel is there in the window. He appears to be praying, just like usual.
Ruler 2: Yes, our plan has worked! Quick, let’s go and tell the King.
They rush off to tell King Darius.
Ruler 1: King Darius, live forever. Did you not make a law saying that anyone who prayed to any god or man except you these thirty days should be thrown to the lions?
King Darius: Yes, I did. You were the ones who suggested that I make such a law.
Ruler 2: Well, Daniel, who is one of the Jews
captured and brought to
King Darius: How did this happen! I must find some way to change the law. Daniel is one of my favorite leaders! I must put an end to this law.
Narrator 1: All day King Darius tried to find a way to help Daniel, but it was no use. King Darius himself had written the law down, and it could not be changed.
Ruler 1: King, it is now evening and you must decide what to do about Daniel. You must carry out the law as you wrote it.
Ruler 2: Yes, Daniel must be punished to show others he has broken your law. He must be taken to the lions’ den.
King Darius: I have no choice. Daniel is to be brought to the lions’ den.
Narrator 1: So Daniel was brought to the edge of the lions’ den. The hungry lions
paced backwards and forwards, roaring.
Narrator 2: Bravely, Daniel waited. Then the men threw him in.
King Darius: Daniel, may the God to whom you are so faithful save you!
Narrator 1: Then, hardly able to watch, Darius watched as the huge stone was rolled into place over the entrance to the den.
Narrator 2: Then King Darius had to seal the stone with his own ring, so that everyone would know if the stone had been moved in a rescue attempt. Then King Darius went back to the palace.
King Darius: I cannot sleep or eat. I am so worried about Daniel. What have I done!
Narrator 1: At the first sign of morning, he hurried back to the lions’ den.
Narrator 2: But he stopped just before he got there. What would he see? Had his friend been torn to pieces. Fearfully, he called out….
King Darius: Daniel! Has your God saved you?
Daniel: O King, live forever! I am safe. God did not let the lions harm me!
King Darius: (Speaking to the rulers) I order you to get Daniel out!
Ruler 1: What! He isn’t dead?
Ruler 2: How can this be?
Narrator 1: The men who had thrown Daniel into the den now lifted him out. Sure enough, he was completely untouched by the lions.
Narrator 2: After a joyful greeting, King Darius issued another order….
King Darius: You rulers there! You have accused Daniel and now I accuse you. You shall be thrown into the lions’ den!
Rulers 1 & 2: No……
Narrator 1: And so the rulers who had tried to trick Daniel and the King were themselves thrown into the lions’ den.
Narrator 2: Even before they touched the floor of the den, the lions sprang on them and tore them to pieces.
King Darius: Tell all the people in my kingdom I have a new law. I command that everyone should respect Daniel’s God. For this God is truly great, and will last forever.