To help the children understand that God is always with them in whatever situation they may find themselves.
You will need:
- Some photos of personal friends (as large as possible)
- A few simple props to help your acting volunteers, for example a crown for King Darius, a card headband with Percy written on it, a rug, etc
Look carefully at the story in Daniel 6 and at the script, noting the places props will be used.
- Show the children your photos. (Those nearer the back could have a closer look later if they are unable to see.) Tell them why you enjoy being with your friends, how they may have helped you when in difficulty and about things you have done together.
- Point out to the children that however special your friends are, they can’t be with you all the time and they can’t always help you.
- Explain that Daniel, a man we read about in the Bible, found out there was only one special best friend who could always be there and always help.
Choose a few volunteers to act out the story as you tell it using the props where appropriate.
A long time ago in a distant land,
many hundreds and thousands of years ago,
there was a man called Daniel,
and a great king called Darius.
Daniel had worked for the king all his life but unlike many other men at the palace he always spoke the truth.
Also Daniel knew that God was wise, strong, loving, the greatest.
Every day, morning, midday and evening he would talk to God like a friend,
tell him about his day,
about problems at the palce,
what sort of mood the king was in,
anything and everything
and God listened.
King Darius admired Daniel and listened to everything he said carefully.
Daniel always spoke the truth
and because God had give him good advice,
he was always having brilliant new ideas.
The king always took notice of what Daniel said
and the other important people in the palace became more and more annoyed.
‘Who does he think he is?’
‘He makes us look stupid!’
‘I hate him.’
And they began huddling together in corners of the palace grounds, trying to come up with some idea about how to get rid of Daniel.
Eventually one man, Percy, came up with a cunning plan. Although King Darius appreciated Daniel’s honest approach, he was very vain and liked people saying nice things about him.
One morning, when Daniel was out seeing to some important business for the king, Percy went into the royal apartments, threw himself down on the Persian rug and said,
‘O Great and Wonderful.
I can hardly bring myself to breathe in the presence of your majesty.
Please allow me to grovel at your feet.’
‘Certainly, dear boy,’ said the king.
‘Your majesty’ Percy continued, ‘the people know you are handsome, strong and very wise.’
The kind smiled. ‘Do they?’ he said.
‘But perhaps they do not know quite HOW WONDERFUL you are.’
The king frowned. ‘Don’t they?’ he said.
Why don’t we make a new law which says the people can only pray to you and to no one else for the next thirty days?’
‘Excellent, excellent,’ said the king. ‘Let’s do it.’
Percy grinned sneakily, bowed and left the throne room.
And so it turned out that by the time Daniel came back to the palace, a new law had been written and sealed by the king and was to be enforced by a whole division of palace guards. Daniel heard about this new law as he reached the palace gates.
The king welcomed him as usual.
He told Daniel of the new law he’d devised by himself without Daniel’s help.
‘Congratulations, my lord king,’ said Daniel. ‘Tell me about it.’
So the king told him about the law and the people having to pray to him alone.
‘Aah,’ said Daniel, ‘and what will happen to those who disobey?’
The king told him that Percy had come up with a good idea.
‘Oh,’ said Daniel.
‘The new law says that anyone praying to someone other than me will be thrown into a pit of lions.’
‘Oh dear, oh dear,’ said Daniel softly.
And he kept saying this to himself as he went home, talked to God and climbed into bed.
In fact he kept on saying this to himself even in his sleep – a sleep troubled by dreams of bright eyes, golden manes and very large teeth.
The next morning, everyone started praying to the king, but Daniel talked to God instead.
At mid day, everyone still prayed to the king, but Daniel talked to God instead.
In the evening when everyone else was praying to King Darius, Daniel was talking to God.
All the people were too afraid to disobey the king.
But Daniel could not desert God, his oldest friend.
Of course, this is what Daniel’s enemies wanted.
Percy and a few friends had sneaked round to Daniel’s house to spy on him.
Daniel made no secret of what he was doing.
He sat by the open window, talking to God, as usual, like a friend.
After they saw this, his enemies went and told the king that Daniel was still praying three times a day. The king looked very serious and sad when they told him what had happened, but had to agree that Daniel had broken the new law. Daniel was arrested and bundled off to the king.
Daniel said, ‘I’m sorry for disobeying you, my lord king, but God is too good a friend to give up.’
The king understood, but Percy reminded him the law had been broken, a law written and signed by the king himself.
The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God rescue you!’ and Daniel was put into the pit where the lions lived.
The entrance was sealed and the king went back miserably to the palace.
All night King Darius walked up and down in his dressing gown.
In the morning the king was at the entrance to the pit at first light.
‘Daniel, Daniel,’ he called ‘Was your God able to save you?’
‘Yes, your majesty,’ said Daniel, ‘God sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths. They did not harm me at all. Isn’t it wonderful? I knew God wouldn’t let me down.’
The king was overjoyed to hear his friend alive and gave orders for Daniel to be pulled out of the pit. The lions roared ferociously but everyone could see that Daniel had not been hurt at all.
The king said, ‘My dear Daniel, it is wonderful. This just goes to show that GOD IS THE BEST FRIEND TO HAVE after all.’
- Talk about Daniel’s feelings when the law was made, when he was in the lion’s den, and when the lions didn’t hurt him.
- Make the point that God is with us, as he was with Daniel. We can trust him to help us if we ask him.