Daniel and the Lions’ Den

October 9-November 6, 2005

Praising Puppets



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



      Like Daniel, we should trust God even when it is hard.                               


Objectives:     Children will focus on times in their lives when it might be difficult or unpopular to follow God.  They will see that being a follower of God is not always easy and it might involve more difficult choices than we sometimes expect.  Children will learn that Daniel is an example to us of faithful prayer and trust in God even when it is dangerous to do so. 



Welcome and Introductions:

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.

  1. Explain this is the puppet workshop.  Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to see that following God may not always be easy.                           
  2. Start with a prayer, such as thanking God for this day and asking the Holy Spirit to be with us and teach us as we learn about this story.


Bible Story:

  1. Ask the children to think about this situation—A new law is in effect that says if anyone prays to God they will go to jail.  Ask, “What would you do in this situation?”  Take several minutes to hear the children’s answers. Mention this was a choice Daniel had to make. 
  2. Ask the children to find Daniel 6 in their Bibles, if they brought them.  You may have to help them locate this by giving tips (it is about 2/3 to ¾ of the way through the Bible, the books right before it are Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel, and the books right after it are Hosea, Joel and Amos). You can hand out stickers to any who remembered to bring their Bibles (optional).
  3. Before you begin the Bible story you can provide some background for the story.  Daniel is a book in the Old Testament, which means this story happened before Jesus was born.  This particular story is about Daniel, who was a Jew.  The Jewish people are also called Hebrews and Israelites.  They were chosen by God to be the first people to have a very close relationship with God.  Now all peoples are included in this relationship with God.  Many of the stories in the Old Testament are about the Jewish people.  Before this story in Daniel, the Jewish people were living in Canaan, also called the Promised Land and later called Israel.  Their capital city was Jerusalem.  The Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took many of the Jewish people back to Babylon with them.  Daniel was one of these people who were captured and taken as slaves.  But Daniel was so smart and such a good worker that King Darius noticed him and kept giving him more important jobs until he was governing his whole kingdom.
  4. For the first week or two of the rotation, at least, you will need to read the story to them.  You can limit the reading to Daniel 6:4-23. (Whole passage from the CEV is attached.)  You may also use the summary version for the younger classes (attached), if you like. If you read, ask them to try to follow along with you, even if the words are slightly different in their version.  As the rotation continues and the children have heard the Daniel story in other rotations, you may skip the scripture reading (your choice) and review the story by asking several questions (don’t feel you have to cover all of these), such as, “Something happened in Babylon where Daniel lived that made him make a tough choice—what happened?” A new law was passed that prevented Daniel from praying to anyone other than King Darius. Daniel loved God and faithfully prayed 3 times per day. He also prayed in front of his window where everyone could see him pray because he was not ashamed of God. “What choice did Daniel have to make?”  Stop praying or be thrown in a pit of lions, which most probably meant he would be killed.  “What choice did Daniel make?” He chose to pray to God, to obey God not other men.  “What happened to Daniel because of the choice?” Although the King really liked Daniel, he had to follow his own law and ordered that Daniel be thrown to the lions.  “Do you think this was a hard choice for Daniel?” Children will probably say yes, but there are different points of view on this.  Death is scary for most people, although believers in Christ know we have eternal life.  Faithful people sometimes don’t even think about disobeying God.  So for Daniel, he might not have been interested in staying alive if he had to live without praying to God.  “Do you think Daniel might have thought about not praying to God and just praying to the king instead?”  This is personal opinion.   “Was Daniel killed by the lions?”  No, God rescued him by sending an angel to protect him from the lions.  “What happened as a result of Daniel’s faith in God?”  King Darius saw how God rescued Daniel and believed in God and announced to the whole world how awesome God is!  Focus on the choice that Daniel made to follow God even though it was dangerous.  After you feel the children have a basic understanding of the choice that Daniel made, move on to the Application section.



  1. Read the section below entitled, “When and How to Do Puppet Practice,” and if practice is needed with this group, perform that now.
  2. Ask the children to divide into groups of threes (or you can divide them.) 
  3. Tell them you will be giving them a modern day situation that involves a choice that they might have to make.  Prepare index cards ahead of time with a different situation on each card.  You will need enough situation cards for each group.  Examples of situations for the classes to do are:                                                                   

¨      There is a new student at school who does not have many friends yet.  Your friends tease you for being nice to the new student.  Will you stick with your old friends or try to make friends with the new student?  Are there other things you could do?

¨      Your mom asks you to give some of your money to Pennies for Hunger but you had planned to spend it on something for yourself.  What choice will you make?

¨      You really want to do well in school, but you did not study for a test. You sit next to the smartest kid in the class.  Will you do your own work or will you look over at the other student’s work for a little extra help?

¨      You and your family are spending the night at your church as you host homeless families (Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network) but you were asked to a friend’s house for a sleepover. Where will you choose to spend the night?

¨      Your family always says a prayer before a meal.  You are having a friend for supper.  Will you say the prayer as usual or will you ask your mom to forget it this time?

¨      You heard something about another kid at school that is not very nice.  Will you tell someone else what you heard, even if it is not nice and maybe not even true, or will you just keep it to yourself?

¨      A friend of yours is teasing a younger kid on the bus.  Will you tell them to stop teasing the kid, go along with the teasing, or stay out of it?

¨      Feel free to write other situations that seem better to you.         


  1. Tell each group to think and talk about their situation and how they might react to it.  Give them a few minutes discussion time.  You and any other adults can walk around the room listening to and making suggestions to each group.
  2. If you have not done so already, pass out the puppets.  It does not matter which puppet goes to which child. Tell each group to use their puppets to demonstrate their situation and the choice they made.  Although they may write something down, they do not need to.  Everything can be done orally.
  3. Allow the children plenty of time to demonstrate their situation and their choice. 
  4. If time permits, allow a group or two to share their skit with the class. However, it is more important that the small groups have had time to understand the choices that God wants us to make rather than perfecting a skit to show to the whole class.  It may be better to work in groups than for any group to perform for the class.  This is the workshop leader’s choice.



  1. End the skits about 10:35 to allow time for discussion. Ask the children to return the puppets to their storage location and to sit down quietly. 
  2. Talk about making choices that are consistent with what Jesus has taught us in the Bible.  Sometimes it is dangerous or unpopular to show our love of God.  Remind them that when we are tempted to make the easy choice rather than the choice God would have us make, we can remember Daniel and how he chose the right thing and how God was with Daniel during the process.  Remind them that we can learn from Daniel and that he serves an example to us.
  3. See “Life Application for Kids”** below for additional discussion questions and comments. 


Reflection Time:

  1. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers.  Ask younger children to draw a picture of Daniel or of themselves doing something God would want them to do—praying, helping others, etc.  Ask older children to copy the sentence ”Daniel trusted God even when it was hard” and write any words, thoughts, pictures, ideas they have related to this.
  2. Ask the students to close their journals and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer: End with a simple prayer thanking God for Daniel’s example.  Also ask God to help us do what is right in our lives even if it is difficult or unpopular.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up.  Put pillows behind stage area. Put away boom box, workshop bin, etc.  Turn out lights and close door.


When and How to do Puppet Practice:  If a group has never attended a puppet workshop (first graders, early in the year) or perhaps has attended only one puppet workshop, they will need to practice with the puppets before completing the application.  Do these warm-up exercises for 5 minutes, if necessary:

  1. Tell the children that they will each receive a puppet and will practice moving their puppet in ways that help the audience understand what the puppet is doing.  You will give them guidance on what to do with their puppets. 
  2. Ask the children to divide into pairs. If there is an odd number, a group of three will be fine. 
  3. Pass out the puppets to one child in each pair.  It does not matter which puppet goes to which child.
  4. Have one of the pair do the action or emotion that you suggest and the other person watch.  (If it is a group of three, let two of the children do this at one time.) Instruct the “watchers” to make any needed suggestions such as, “make bigger movements with the puppet” “do not turn the puppet’s head so much”, etc. Examples of things you can practice with the puppets are:                                           

·         “Show how your puppet looks when it is speaking quietly.”                              

·         “Show how your puppet looks when it is speaking loudly.”                   

·         “Show what your puppet does when it is listening.”                               

·         “Show your puppet praying.”                                                                  

·         “Show how Daniel might have felt in the lions’ den.”                                        

·         “Show your puppet being happy when he was safe from the lions.”                              

  1. After one child has had a turn, trade parts and let the other child try.  Spend as much time as you think the children need to feel comfortable manipulating the puppets.  This may be enough for one lesson.  If you have additional time, you may “pick and choose” activities from the Daniel lesson above. You will need to put the puppets away at 10:35. 


**The Life Application for Kids:--from Hilliard Presbyterian Church Summer Sunday School

It takes strength and guts to believe in God and obey God's commands and be a role model to others. Believing one thing and doing another is wrong. Being two-faced or hypocritical is wrong. Saying you love God but not obeying God is wrong.

I'm sure Daniel thought about giving-in and hiding the fact that he was a follower of God. But Daniel decided to stand up for his belief in God, even if it meant death. There are times when even kids have to stand up for their beliefs--when they see someone treating another badly-- when they hear gossip--when they have the tough choice of sleeping in or going to church--when it's time to pray and they'd rather play--when others speak negatively about church--when there are things distracting them away from worshipping God.  Distractions and lion's come in all shapes and sizes!


Questions for Discussion:

·         Is it possible to say you love God but not obey God? How do you show that you love God?  How can you say you love God and believe in God's commandments but not follow them?

·         Is prayer worth it to end up in prison or being killed? Can you be faithful to God without praying or talking to God? Can you love someone and never talk to them?

·         Why didn't Daniel 'fake it' and act like he was praying to King Darius? 

·         What's so important about praying only to God? (Possible answers: Daniel knew he was an example to others. Daniel felt his faith in God was too important to lie about it.)


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.      Pray for the Holy Spirit to be with you as you prepare and teach this lesson.

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

3.      Prepare an opening/closing prayer or plan to use the ones included in this lesson.

4.      Write your memory verse on a white or poster board and post in the room each week.

5.      Prepare index cards with your situations that the children will act out in their groups.

6.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. Bring a CD or tapes music for background music while you are gathering, meditative music for reflection time.



Daniel 6:1-28 (Contemporary English Version)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Daniel in a Pit of Lions

   1Darius divided his kingdom into a hundred and twenty states and placed a governor in charge of each one. 2In order to make sure that his government was run properly, Darius put three other officials in charge of the governors. One of these officials was Daniel. 3And he did his work so much better than the other governors and officials that the king decided to let him govern the whole kingdom.

    4The other men tried to find something wrong with the way Daniel did his work for the king. But they could not accuse him of anything wrong, because he was honest and faithful and did everything he was supposed to do. 5Finally, they said to one another, " We will never be able to bring any charge against Daniel, unless it has to do with his religion."

    6They all went to the king and said:

   Your Majesty, we hope you live forever! 7All of your officials, leaders, advisors, and governors agree that you should make a law forbidding anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days. Everyone who disobeys this law must be thrown into a pit of lions. 8Order this to be written and then sign it, so it cannot be changed, just as no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed."

    9So King Darius made the law and had it written down.

    10Daniel heard about the law, but when he returned home, he went upstairs and prayed in front of the window that faced Jerusalem. In the same way that he had always done, he knelt down in prayer three times a day, giving thanks to God.

    11The men who had spoken to the king watched Daniel and saw him praying to his God for help. 12They went back to the king and said, " Didn't you make a law that forbids anyone to pray to any god or human except you for the next thirty days? And doesn't the law say that everyone who disobeys it will be thrown into a pit of lions?"

   " Yes, that's the law I made," the king agreed. " And just like all written laws of the Medes and Persians, it cannot be changed."

    13The men then told the king, " That Jew named Daniel, who was brought here as a captive, refuses to obey you or the law that you ordered to be written. And he still prays to his god three times a day." 14The king was really upset to hear about this, and for the rest of the day he tried to think how he could save Daniel.

    15At sunset the men returned and said, " Your Majesty, remember that no written law of the Medes and Persians can be changed, not even by the king."

    16So Darius ordered Daniel to be brought out and thrown into a pit of lions. But he said to Daniel, " You have been faithful to your God, and I pray that he will rescue you."

    17A stone was rolled over the pit, and it was sealed. Then Darius and his officials stamped the seal to show that no one should let Daniel out. 18All night long the king could not sleep. He did not eat anything, and he would not let anyone come in to entertain him.

    19At daybreak the king got up and ran to the pit. 20He was anxious and shouted, " Daniel, you were faithful and served your God. Was he able to save you from the lions?"

    21Daniel answered, " Your Majesty, I hope you live forever! 22My God knew that I was innocent, and he sent an angel to keep the lions from eating me. Your Majesty, I have never done anything to hurt you."

    23The king was relieved to hear Daniel's voice, and he gave orders for him to be taken out of the pit. Daniel's faith in his God had kept him from being harmed. 24And the king ordered the men who had brought charges against Daniel to be thrown into the pit, together with their wives and children. But before they even reached the bottom, the lions ripped them to pieces.

    25King Darius then sent this message to all people of every nation and race in the world:  "Greetings to all of you!  26I command everyone in my kingdom to worship and honor the God of Daniel.  He is the living God, the one who lives forever. His power and his kingdom will never end.  27He rescues people and sets them free by working great miracles.  Daniel's God has rescued him from the power of the lions."  28All went well for Daniel while Darius was king, and even when Cyrus the Persian ruled.