by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Key Stage 1/2 - Church Schools
To encourage children to think about the importance of telling the truth.
Preparation and materials
- Optional – prepare slides for introductory true/false game.
- Optional – prepare slides with background picture for the story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den, for example: http://www.christart.com/christianbooks/read/4862/8
- Prepare slides for the discussion questions in the Reflection section below.
- Familiarize yourself with the song ‘When You’re Somewhere Strange and New’ by Steve Morgan-Gurr (Spring Harvest, 2005).
- Introduce the assembly by saying that, in the worship today, we are going to be thinking about truthfulness, and that you have got a little true/false game for them to start with. (Display slides, if using.),Tell the pupils three things about you, two of which are false and one that is true, and ask them to try to guess which statement is true. Have three or four sets of clues for them to guess – things like 'my middle name is . . .' when only one answer is correct, or various sporting achievements when you were at school, again, only one of which is correct!
- Comment that you don’t know how many of those answers they got right, but that it was just a game. It was just a bit of fun, and you’re not sure that you are very good at telling lies about yourself, but in the Bible story today some people were very good at telling lies and one person was very good at telling the truth, even though it cost him a lot to do that. Ask them to listen carefully and see if they can work out who told the lies and who told the truth in this story.
- Daniel and the Lions’ Den (display slides, if using).
Daniel was living in a foreign country far from his own home, but he always worked very hard. The king of this country noticed how hard Daniel was working and put him in charge of his kingdom. Some other men who worked for the king were very jealous of Daniel but they could find nothing to accuse him of, so they resorted to plotting and lies instead.
They went to see the king and persuaded him to pass a new law – a law that said that everyone should worship the king, and only the king. Anyone who disobeyed this law would be thrown into the lions’ den!
Daniel heard about the new law, but the next morning he did as he always did; he knelt down by his window and prayed to God, not to the king! The other men reported this to the king and insisted that Daniel be thrown to the lions. The king was very sad because he liked Daniel, but he knew that he could not break his own law. As Daniel was being dragged to the lions’ den, the king whispered a little prayer – a prayer to Daniel’s God, asking that Daniel might be saved.
The king was so worried that he hardly slept a wink that night and rushed to the lions’ den early the next morning.
‘Are you still there?’ shouted the king.
‘Yes!’ replied Daniel. ‘My God knew that I was innocent, so he sent an angel to keep me safe and stop the lions from eating me. I’m fine – I really am!’
The king was so relieved to hear Daniel’s voice and he had him pulled out of the lions’ den as quickly as he could. What’s more, he had the men who had tricked Daniel thrown to the lions, and he passed another new law; this law said that people should worship Daniel’s God – the God who had rescued Daniel from the lions.
Ask the children: who told the lies in this story? And who told the truth?
Time for reflection
Explain that we’re going to have a little think about this story now and what we could learn from it about telling the truth. Ask the children each to turn to the person next to him or her and have a go at answering these questions (display questions on screen one at a time and listen to some answers from each one before moving onto the next one):
Why did the other servants not like Daniel?
Why didn’t Daniel bow down and worship the king instead of worshipping God?
What do you think you would have done if you had been Daniel?
Can you think of a time when you have stood up for the truth in a difficult situation?
Is it ever OK to tell a lie?
Conclude by saying that you think Daniel believed in something so strongly that he was willing to risk everything – even his life – to stand up for that truth. In the story, God honoured him for his truthfulness and saved him from the lions. Suggest that this sets us a good example to try to stand up for the truth on all occasions and (if appropriate) to know that God will be with us in that decision to tell the truth. It might be easier to tell a little lie on occasions, but one lie often leads to another and this can often mean that lots of people get hurt in the process. It would be good to aim to be like Daniel and to tell the truth on all occasions!
Thank you for the example of Daniel.
Please help us to be brave enough to tell the truth on all occasions and help us to know that you will be with us when we find that hard to do.
‘When You’re Somewhere Strange and New’ by Steve Morgan-Gurr (Spring Harvest, 2005)