There once was a young man named Daniel who faithfully prayed to God — morning, noon, and night. Daniel found favour in the eyes of Darius who was ruler over the kingdom of Babylon. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to put him in charge of the entire empire. The other high officers that the king appointed were jealous of Daniel and began to try to find fault with the way that he was handling the government affairs. Unfortunately, they could never find any fault with Daniel because he was faithful, responsible, and trustworthy in performing his duties. They finally decided that their only chance of accusing Daniel of any wrong-doing was because of his faith in God. The other officials went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! We all agree that you should make a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone except to you will be thrown into a den of lions.” So Darius did as they asked, he wrote the law and signed it. The other officials knew that Daniel faithfully prayed to God. Daniel heard about the new law, but he continued to pray three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. The jealous officials went to Daniel’s house and there they found him praying and asking for God’s help. They immediately went to the king and reminded him of the law he had signed. The king was very sad because he was very fond of Daniel. He tried to find a way to spare Daniel, but the law could not be changed so the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. As the king put Daniel in the den, he said to him, “May your God rescue you.” Then a stone was brought and placed over the entrance to the lion’s den. It was very dark in the lion’s den. Daniel knelt and began to pray for God to protect him. The next morning, the king got up and hurried to the lion’s den. When he got there, he called out, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, ” My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me.” The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be released from the den. There was not a scratch on him because he had trusted in his God to protect him. Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.
“Heavenly Father, we may not face the same kind of lions in our life that Daniel did, but we do face many problems which we need your help in overcoming. Help us to be faithful in prayer and in obeying what you have commanded us to do. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Thank you to Claire Hannington for this week’s Sunday School story.