Daniel and the Lions’ Den

October 9-November 6, 2005

Antioch Arcade


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)


Offering:  Peacemaking



  • God is with us in good and bad times.
  • God listens to us when we pray.
  • God wants us to pray regularly, like Daniel.
  • Like Daniel, we should trust God even when it is hard.



  • Older children will be able to find the book of Daniel in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that this story is in the book of Daniel.
  • The children will learn the sequence of events and details of the story.
  • Children will think about the challenges they face, and will be encouraged to pray and trust God when they are afraid.



Welcome and Introductions:  (10:00)

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name tag. Make sure the children are wearing name tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.

2.      Open with a brief prayer (optional, as they have just prayed in Great Hall).

3.      Explain the purpose of this workshop. Today we’ll hear the story of Daniel in the lions’ den and play a game to see how well you know the story.


Scripture/Bible Story: (10:05)

1.      Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. Help the students to find the book of Daniel. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)

2.      If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether Daniel is in the Old or New Testament (it happened before Jesus so it’s in the Old Testament). Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the Old Testament. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. Daniel comes near the end of the Old Testament, so it’s in the part after Psalms. (Some of the older children should know the books of the Old Testament. Encourage everyone to learn them.)

After they’ve found Daniel, help them find chapter 6. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at the top of every page.

3.      Read the story from the CEV or review it using the summary below as a guide. Either way, be dramatic! Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks are:


  • Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Variation for older kids: Use the timer in the supply bin (or just use a watch with a second hand). First child starts telling the story. After 15 seconds, second student picks up the tale, even if in mid-sentence. Keep going around the circle until the complete story is told.


  • Tell the story back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you. (Especially fun for the younger ones -- but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation.)


  • Photocopy the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up, and see if they can put it back together correctly.


Note: If you read directly from the Bible, be prepared to define unfamiliar words. Also be prepared to comment on the brutal end of this story if kids bring it up. Not only the bad guys but also their wives and children are thrown into the pit of lions. You might explain that in those times very cruel punishments were common, and it was also common to punish a person by killing members of his family. Note that such practices would contrast with Jewish law. “An eye for an eye”, etc. would limit the punishment to the offender and also limit the punishment to fit the crime rather than imposing the death penalty for a minor offense.


Story Summary

This story happened after the army of Babylon had conquered Israel and taken the Jewish people back to Babylon as captives. Daniel was a Jew who grew up in Babylon and was an assistant to the Babylonian king, Darius. Daniel did a good job and King Darius trusted him and planned to make Daniel the boss of all the other assistants.

The other assistants were jealous of Daniel and tried to figure out a reason to complain about him to the king. But Daniel hadn’t done anything wrong, so his enemies set a trap for him. They persuaded King Darius to sign an order that people could pray only to the king. Anyone who disobeyed the order would be thrown to the lions.

But Daniel worshipped God, not the king, and the king’s order did not stop him from praying to God. Three times a day he went to his house, where the upstairs windows were opened to face Jerusalem, and prayed. His enemies went to his house and caught him praying and told the king. The king was very upset, but according to the law he had to carry out his order , so he reluctantly commanded that Daniel be thrown to the lions, saying, “May your God deliver you!”.

The king was so upset he stayed awake all night. The next morning he hurried to the lions’ den and called, “Daniel, did your God save you?” And Daniel answered, “God sent an angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not hurt me.”

The king was overjoyed. Daniel was freed unharmed from the lions’ den and King Darius wrote a message to all the world saying, “In all my kingdom people shall fear the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring for ever. He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”


Application: (10:15)

1.      Divide the class into several teams of three to five players. The teams will take turns spinning the game wheel and answering questions about the scripture. Have the shepherd keep score on the white board.

2.      Line the teams up and let the first person in line for the team spin and answer a question. Let the player consult his team if needed, but he is the only one who can give the answer. If he answers correctly, award his team the number of points he spun for. No points for a wrong answer.

Grades 1-2: Use the multiple-choice answers provided with the questions. Especially if it is early in the rotation, call out the questions in the order given, in order to reinforce the sequence of events.

Grades 3-5: Give the team a chance to answer the question, but offer multiple choices if they’re stumped. If the class seems to already know the story well, you can mix up the order of the questions.

3. After his turn, the player goes to the end of his team’s line. Go to the next team and continue until everyone has had a turn.

 4. Alternatives:

  • Consider covering over the “bankrupt” and “lose a turn” sections of the wheel. They deprive the spinner of the chance to answer and make scoring seem more important than the story.
  • If a team is taking too long to answer, give them a one-minute limit and get the shepherd to time the game using the timer in the supply bin or a watch with a second hand.  Adjust the time limit if it turns out to be too short/too long.
  •  (Older kids) If the player answers the question alone, his team gets the number of points he spun for. If the team helps him, they get half the points.
  • (Younger kids) Let the rest of the team, but not the player spinning, use their Bibles.




Reflection Time: (10:30)


Gather the class in a circle and discuss:

When Daniel heard about the law that required him to pray only to the king, what did he do? He went home and prayed to God as usual.

I wonder how Daniel was able to be so brave? Accept all reasonable answers but emphasize that Daniel trusted God to be with him no matter how bad things got.  

Did God listen to Daniel’s prayers? Yes and God listens to our prayers too. Sometimes God doesn’t give us the answer we want or expect, but God always listens and answers.

I wonder what we can do to be more like Daniel. Accept all reasonable answers but make sure these are mentioned: pray regularly, do the right thing even when it is hard; trust God to be with you always, even in bad times.

Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. "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


Journals (10:35): Pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste on their page as a reminder of the workshop.

Grades 3-5: Give each child an extra slip of paper along with the journal page.

Read the prompts out loud and offer suggestions if needed. A “lion” can be someone who upsets them, something happening at home or at school that upsets them, an illness or health problem that they or someone they love is having; feeling unhappy, or anything else that makes them afraid, sad, or upset.

If they don’t know how to spell a word, write it on the white board.

Grades 3-5: In addition to writing their “lion” on the journal page, have them write it on the slip of paper, fold it and give it to you. Don’t read the papers, just put them in an envelope.


Those who finish their journals early can turn the page over and do the activity on the back.


At 10:45 ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly.


Closing: (10:45)

Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to Peacemaking.


Prayer: Grades 1-2: Tell the children you are going to have a moment of silence for them to offer their problem to God in a prayer. End with a short prayer. Suggestion: Thank you, God, for listening to our prayers and being with us when we’re afraid. Amen.

Grades 3-5: Seal the envelope and tell the children you'll give it to one of the pastors, who will read each prayer slip privately and offer a prayer for each. (Remember to follow up and actually do this!) Offer the contents of the envelope to God in a prayer. Suggestion:  God, we are giving our problems and fears to you. Help us to trust you the way Daniel did. Amen.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask the children to help collect Bibles, pencils, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.


Extra Activity if time permits:


Grades 1-2: Ask these questions and as you offer the choices of answer, point to a corner of the room for each answer. Let the children “vote” by going to corner of their answer.

If I had been in the den with the lions, I would probably have:

a) been scared                         b) not been afraid at all           c) been afraid just a little bit


When I heard about the new law saying I could only pray to the king, I would have:

a) prayed to the king               b) prayed to God anyway       c) stopped praying


When I'm scared I:

a) hide                         b) talk to a parent        c) pray             d) other:_____________


Of these three things, the scariest to me is:

a) A haunted house     b) Being lost in a strange place           c) Being in a lot of pain


Grades 3-5: Play a few rounds of "who can find the passage first." Call out verses for the students to search and read when they find them -- do this in pairs if you wish. Suggestions: Daniel 6:16; 6:21; 6:26


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Read the scripture passage and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Workshop.

2.      Read Daniel chapter 6 to familiarize yourself with the details of the story. Be sure you know the meaning of unusual words such as “satrap.” It’s helpful to read the preceding 5 chapters also, for better understanding of context and of Daniel’s history and standing in the court. The whole story of Daniel is interesting.

3.      Practice telling the story.

4.      Prepare opening and closing prayers.

5.      Ask one of the pastors beforehand if they are willing to read the children’s prayer slips and pray for them. Arrange to deliver the envelope after each workshop.

6.      Room set-up (must wait until after Total Life Center closes on Friday). Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.

7.      Optional: Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, meditative music for Reflection time. A boom box is located in the Puppet workshop cabinet.

8.      Display the memory verse in the room.

9.      GAME WHEEL: The game wheel is kept in the room beside Antioch Arcade.


Supply List

Extra Bibles

Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)

Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)

Journal pages

Blank slips of paper

Envelope for prayer slips



Storytelling ideas:

Game Questions


The king’s name was:

a) Daniel

b) Satrap

c) Darius


True or False ­

Daniel was the king’s favorite assistant. (true)


At the beginning of the story, the king wanted to:

a) Put Daniel in charge of the whole kingdom

b) Make Daniel marry his daughter

c) Throw Daniel to the lions


True or False ­

The king’s other assistants liked Daniel and were happy for him to be their boss. (false)


True or False ­

When Daniel heard that praying to God had been forbidden, he stopped praying because he didn’t want to break the law. (false)


True or False ­

When King Darius found out that Daniel had broken the law, he said, “No problem, I’m the king, so I’ll just change the law.” (false)


Daniel’s enemies got the king to sign a decree. It said:

a) That people could pray only to the king.

b) That all Jews should be thrown to the lions.

c) That all lions should be kept on leashes.


How often did Daniel pray?

a) Three times a week

b) Three times an hour

c) Three times a day


Where did Daniel go to pray?

a) To his house

b) To the temple

c) To the king’s palace


What was special about the place where Daniel prayed?

a) The Ark of the Covenant was there

b) The upstairs windows were open to face Jerusalem.

c) The walls were covered in gold


How did the king feel when he found out that Daniel has broken the law by praying to God?

a) Distressed and upset

b) Happy and excited

c) He didn’t care


What did the king say as Daniel was thrown to the lions?

a) “Goodbye, Daniel, I’ll miss you!”

b) “Forgive me Daniel, I didn’t mean for this to happen!”

c) “May your God deliver you!”


How was the opening of the lions’ den closed?

a) With an iron gate

b) With a stone

c) With a padlocked door


After Daniel was thrown to the lions, King Darius :

a) went to a party

b) went home but didn’t eat or sleep all night.

c) prayed and sang hymns all night.


After Daniel spent the night with the lions, what did the king do the next morning ?

a) Got up and ate a big breakfast.

b) Left for a vacation in Egypt.

c) Hurried to the lions’ den to check on Daniel.


How did God protect Daniel?

a) Sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths

b) Gave Daniel a slingshot to kill the lions

c) Sent an earthquake to open up the den so Daniel could escape.


How did the king feel when he found Daniel was safe?

a) Angry

b) Overjoyed

c) Puzzled


At the end of the story, what did King Darius say about God?

a) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

b) “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.”

c) “He is the living God, enduring forever...He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders...”


In what book of the Bible does this story appear?

a)      Genesis

b)      Matthew

c)      Daniel