Use this children’s Sunday School lesson about Daniel in the lions’ den to teach children about God’s protection.
Needed: Bibles, soft balls or paper wads, drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils, (optional: yarn or puff balls for lions’ fur, glue)
Intro Activity: 3X Prayer part 1
Tell students that you’re going to have them try something today. They’re going to pray like someone in the lesson. You’ll ask them to pray silently three times throughout the lesson, and you’ll give them ideas of what to pray each time. For this first time, have students pray to thank God for things He’s done for them or things He’s taught them. They can also praise God for who He is.
Intro Game: Despite All Obstacles
Set up an obstacle course with two mirror paths. Divide the students into two teams. One student from each team runs the obstacle course at a time while the other team members line up along the length of the obstacle course. When they’re not running, the members of the opposite team throw soft balls or paper wads at the runner from the sidelines.
If a student makes it through the obstacle course without being hit, they score a point for their team and return to the sidelines. If they are hit, they go to the sidelines to throw but not run again. After each pair runs the course, gather the balls or paper wads again for the next two to run.
The game ends when all the students have run the course. The team with the most points wins.
Afterward, explain that we have to do the right things in life even when it seems difficult. There might be things that get in the way of us doing the right thing. There might be people who try to keep us from doing the right thing, but we have to keep doing what we know is right.
Say, The two kingdoms of Israel and Judah had been conquered. God let the Assyrians and the Babylonians conquer Israel and Judah because the people of Israel and Judah had done so many bad things. They had believed in and worshiped fake gods instead of the real God, and they had done all the wrong things that God didn’t do want them to do. So, God let the Assyrians and the Babylonians conquer their kingdoms and carry the Israelite people back to Assyria and Babylon.
(Read Daniel 6 with your students, or read the following story as a summary.)
When King Darius took over the kingdom of Babylon, he made Daniel one of the rulers of the kingdom. And Daniel did such a good job that King Darius was going to put him in charge of all of Babylon!
Of course, that made the other rulers jealous. Daniel was about to be promoted over them. He was going to be their boss, and they were jealous of him because they wanted to be promoted to be the boss instead. So, they tried to think of ways that they could get Daniel in trouble with King Darius. The problem was that Daniel never did anything wrong, so the other rulers never had anything to tell him on about.
Then, they had an idea. They could get Daniel in trouble if they made up a rule that went against what God said. So, they went to King Darius and said, “King Darius, may you live forever! We all agree that you should make a law that no one is allowed to pray to anyone else except you for the next 30 days. If anyone does pray to anyone except you, they will be thrown into the lions’ den for the lions to eat them.”
King Darius thought this sounded like a good idea, so he made it a law that no one could pray to anyone except him for a whole month.
What was the rule that the other rulers convinced King Darius to make? (The rule was that no one was allowed to pray to God or any fake gods except King Darius for 30 days. If they did, they would be thrown into the lions’ den for the lions to eat them.)
Are we supposed to pray to other people, or only to God? (Only to God.)
Do you think Daniel will follow the rule to stop praying to God and to pray King Darius instead?
When Daniel heard about the new law, he went home, opened his window, and prayed to God, just like he did every day. In fact, Daniel prayed to God in front of his window three times every day.
Why do you think Daniel kept praying to God when it was against the law to pray to anyone except King Darius? (Daniel knew it was more important to listen to God than to listen to the king.)
Why do you think Daniel prayer three times a day? (He wanted to make sure he was remembering God all throughout the day, not only when he was eating or before he went to bed.)
Activity: 3X Prayer part 2
Have students confess and say they’re sorry for anything wrong they’ve done.
Then, the other rulers went to Daniel’s house and found him praying to God. They went and told King Darius. Now, King Darius liked Daniel, and he didn’t want to arrest him and throw him in the lions’ den, but the other rulers had tricked him into making the law, so he had to do it.
He threw Daniel into the lions’ den and said, “Daniel, I hope your God will rescue you!” Then, he rolled a stone in front of the lions’ den and went away.
The next morning, King Darius came back to see if the lions had eaten Daniel or not.
Do you think the lions ate Daniel?
King Darius told his servants to roll the stone away, and he called, “Daniel, did your God rescue you?”
Daniel answered, “May you live forever, King Darius! Yes, God rescued me. He sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions. God knew that I never do anything wrong against Him and I’ve never done anything wrong against you either, my king.”
Then, King Darius told his servants to lift Daniel out of the lions’ den and to throw the men who tried to get Daniel in trouble into the lion’s den.
Why didn’t the lions eat Daniel? (God sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions so they couldn’t eat him.)
God knew that Daniel had done the right thing by not praying to King Darius instead of God, so God protected Daniel. Do you think God can protect you too? (Yes.)
God is the strongest person in the whole universe, so whatever problems we have, God can protect us. If we love God and do what is right, then He will protect us, just like He protected Daniel from the lions.
3X Prayer part 3
Have students ask God for anything they need and for God to help other people who are on their minds.
Game: In the Lions’ Den!
Divide students into two teams. Choose one student on Team A to be Daniel. The rest of the team members are Angels. Team B is the Lions.
The Lions try to tag Daniel, but the Angels try to tag the Lions. When the Angels tag all the Lions or when the Lions tag Daniel, the round is over. Switch roles and play again.
Remind students that God sent His angels to shut the mouths of the lions so that they wouldn’t hurt Daniel.
Craft: Draw It!
Have students draw Daniel in the lions’ den. If you have the supplies, you can also have the kids add fur to the lions. Remind students that God protected Daniel from the lions because Daniel loved God and did the right thing.
Father God, we thank You for Daniel’s example. Help us to follow You no matter what other people say. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Hope in Exile.