Here are a series of 5 scripts to retell the story of Daniel and his friends – ideal for use with puppets (with a human narrator):
Narrator: The usual way to start off a story is with the words, ‘Once upon a time’. That’s the usual way to start if a story is made up – but the story you’re about to hear isn’t made up – it really happened! It happened a long time ago, in a land far away, and it happened to a man called Daniel.
Now our story starts a long time before Daniel was born. God made a special promise to a man called Abraham: He promised Abraham that his family would be very large and very great, and that everyone in the world would be blessed through Abraham’s family, who were known as the Israelites.
Later, God sent a man called Moses to lead the Israelites. Moses, and Joshua after him, led the Israelites into a special place called Israel. God said that they could stay in this special land as long as they worshipped and obeyed only Him.
But the Israelites didn’t worship God and didn’t obey God and God couldn’t allow them to stay in the special place He’d given them. So soldiers from Babylon came and took the Israelites away from their homes and their special land and their special city, Jerusalem – they were living in exile in this strange new land of Babylon.
But God still loved His people and He didn’t forget them.
The king of Babylon in those days was a man called King Nebuchadnezzar (phew!)
BRING NEBUCHADNEZZAR OUT
Nebuchadnezzar: I need some new servants. I want some young, strong men – no-one ugly, please! I want them to come and serve me and learn all about Babylon and our language.
Narrator: And so it was that four Israelites were chosen for this new job – their names were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. (BRING THESE GUYS OUT) Daniel and his friends names had special meanings that reminded them of God (Daniel, for example, means that ‘God is my judge’).
Nebuchadnezzar: Hmmm… I don’t want anyone to worship God – and I don’t want their names to help them remember who God is… I know! We’ll change their names! Daniel can be called Belteshazzar and the other three can be called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego! And I think that from now on, these people can eat the same food as me! It’s lovely special food – my god wants me to eat stuff like this!
Daniel: Yes, it might be special food – but it’s the wrong food for us! God has said that there are some foods we’re not allowed to eat, and we’re not allowed to eat food that’s been cooked in the wrong way.
Shadrach: Yes, we want to do what the living God says, not what Nebuchadnezzar thinks his false god says!
Narrator: Daniel and his friends wanted to obey God’s laws so Daniel had a plan…
Daniel: Please, can my friends and I just eat vegetables and drink water?
Nebuchadnezzar: NO!… well… I suppose it’ll make you a bit cheaper to feed. But if you wind up scrawny and unhealthy, you’re dead!
Narrator: So that’s what they did. And God made them healthy even though they weren’t eating all the king’s fancy food. In fact, they were the healthiest and the cleverest of all the men and the king chose Daniel and his friends to be his special servants.
God looked after Daniel and his friends – but the story doesn’t end there… you’ll find out what happened next week!
Narrator: King Nebuchadnezzar had it all – he had palaces and an army and probably lived in the lap of luxury. However, he had a problem which I’m sure many people here have had from time to time: he was having bad dreams. During the day he was very worried, and at night, he could hardly sleep – he kept dreaming the same dream and it worried him.
Nebuchadnezzar: Bring me all my wise men and magicians! BRING IN SPARE PUPPETS (THOSE WHO AREN’T D, S, M and A) I want to know what this dream means – but, I also want you to tell me what I have been dreaming!
Wise Man: How can we tell you what you were dreaming, your majesty?
Nebuchadnezzar: Well, you’re the wise men! You should just know! If you can’t tell me, I’ll have you all killed!
Narrator: The Wise Men were very worried – they didn’t know what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed, let alone what it meant! But there were some wise men in the palace who could help – their names were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (REMOVE WISE MEN AND BRING UP D, S, M and A and NEBUCHADNEZZAR) Daniel went to see the king…
Daniel: I can’t explain your dream – but God can! I will ask Him to help me. (DANIEL RETURNS TO HIS FRIENDS, NEBUCHADNEZZAR LEAVES). Let’s pray to God…
Narrator: God told Daniel what the dream was and what it meant so Daniel went back to see the king… (REMOVE S, M and A and RETURN NEBUCHADNEZZAR)
Daniel: Your majesty – people couldn’t tell you what your dream was and what it means, but God can! God told me that in your dream you saw a huge statue – its head was gold, its chest and arms were silver, from its waist to its knees, it was bronze, and the bottom of its legs were iron. Its feet were a mixture of iron and clay. In your dream you saw a huge stone hit the feet of the statue and destroy it. This dream tells the future – your kingdom may be big and brilliant but it will end one day – but God’s Kingdom will come one day and it will never end.
Nebuchadnezzar: WOW! Your God must be the God of gods, and the Lord of lords and the revealer of mysteries because He revealed this mystery! Daniel, you will now have an even more important job – you will be a governor and be in charge of all the wise men!
Narrator: Once again, God had rescued Daniel and had showed everyone how wonderful He is!
Narrator: Let’s go back to Babylon and see what’s going to happen with our friends this week – can anyone remember their names? They were members of God’s special people, the Israelites, even though they were living far from home. Can you remember what happened to them before? What was the name of the king?
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego worshipped God – that means they loved God and put Him first. What can we do to worship God?
BRING OUT SHADRACH, MESHACH and ABEDNEGO
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a problem. They wanted to worship only God, but in Babylon, people liked to worship all sorts of things – like statues and that sort of thing.
Nebuchadnezzar: I’ve had an idea! I want a new statue to be built! A lovely golden statue for everyone to worship! Whenever some special music plays, everyone is to bow down and worship the statue – if they don’t, then they will be thrown into the fiery furnace!
Shadrach: Oh no! We’re in big trouble! We can’t worship this statue because we must only worship the true and living God! But if we don’t worship the statue, we’ll be put in the fiery furnace!
Narrator: Suddenly, the music started and people everywhere started to bow down to the statue…. but Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego didn’t! They chose to worship only God, not a silly statue!
Nebuchadnezzar: LOOK! Those three aren’t worshipping my statue! If you don’t worship my statue then you will be thrown into my furnace – no God can save you there! HAHAHA!
Abednego: We will trust God – if He wants to rescue us from the furnace, He will!
Narrator: The three friends were tied up and put into the furnace…
Nebuchadnezzar: Wait a minute! And they’re not tied up any more! They’re walking around! The fire isn’t burning them! We put three men in but now there are four men in there! That fourth man looks like a God! Get those men out of there!
Narrator: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out – and they weren’t burned! They didn’t smell like fire, and their clothes and hair weren’t even singed!
Nebuchadnezzar: Praise Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s God! He has sent his angel and rescued them! They were willing to die rather than disobey God and God has rescued them! Give these men important jobs!
Narrator: Once again, God had saved His people! Next week we’ll find out how Daniel’s been getting on…
Narrator: Welcome back to Babylon – God’s people have been brought here, out of their own land – but God still loved them and still helped them, especially whenever the king caused trouble for them – does anyone remember the name of the king?
Well, God showed Nebuchadnezzar that He is the one true God but, over time, Nebuchadnezzar died and his son Belshazzar became king. But Belshazzar hadn’t learned any of his father’s lessons…
Belshazzar: I don’t want to worship the Israelites’ God – I’m going to hold a party and worship gods made of gold and silver and wood and stone…
Narrator: So Belshazzar held his party and many people came. In fact, he was so rude that he even used cups that were taken from the temple where the one true God was worshipped! That’s like someone stealing from our church and using the things in a bad way!
Suddenly, a hand appeared and wrote some words on the wall – Belshazzar was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his feet gave way!
Belshazzar: Bring me my wise men! If they can tell me what these mysterious words mean they can have an important job in my kingdom and fancy clothes and jewellery to wear!
Narrator: The Wise Men came in but no-one could explain the words. However, the queen remembered someone who probably could explain them – Daniel! (BRING DANIEL IN) Daniel looked at the words.
Belshazzar: If you can tell me what these words mean you will be the third most powerful man in the kingdom!
Daniel: Your majesty, these words came because you refused to worship God! These words mean that God thinks you are not fit to be king. God will take your kingdom away!
Narrator: Daniel thus became the third most powerful man in the land… and that very night Belshazzar died! Darius the Mede took over as king… and next week Daniel finds himself in his biggest challenge to date!
Narrator: God’s people were living in the land of Babylon. One of these people was a man called Daniel. (BRING DANIEL OUT) Daniel was a very important man in the land, but he also loved and obeyed God. He also prayed to God three times every day without fail! He prayed in front of the window in his room.
(BRING OUT THREE MORE PUPPETS) Meanwhile, there were some people who were very jealous of Daniel . They hoped that Daniel would make a mistake and that they could get him into trouble with the king…
Man 1: This is hopeless! Daniel is too honest! He does whatever the king asks – we’ll never get him into trouble with the king!
Man 2: I know! Look! He prays three times every day – let’s use that to get him in trouble! (REMOVE DANIEL, BRING KING OUT)
Narrator: The men went to the king…
Man 2: Your majesty – we’ve had an idea! For the next 30 days, why don’t you make a new law? You should say that people can only pray to you! If they pray to anyone else, you should throw them to the lions!
Darius: Good idea!
Narrator: So that’s what happened – a new law was passed and if anyone prayed to anyone other than Darius, they would be thrown to the lions and killed! (BRING DANIEL OUT) But this didn’t stop Daniel praying to God! He knew it was wrong to pray to anyone other than God so he kept on praying at his window.
(BRING ON MAN 1 and 2)
Man 1: Haha! Look! Daniel’s still praying to his God! Let’s tell the king!
(BRING ON THE KING TOO)
Man 2: Your majesty! Daniel has been praying to his God and not to you! You must have him thrown into the lions and killed!
Darius: You tricked me! Daniel is a good worker! But the law must be kept… (regretfully) Put Daniel into the lions’ Den…
(REMOVE ALL APART FROM DANIEL)
Narrator: Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den…
(REMOVE ALL – BRING KING BACK)
Narrator: All night Darius couldn’t eat or sleep – he was so worried about Daniel. Next morning, the king ran to the den and found… DANIEL WAS STILL ALIVE! (BRING DANIEL OUT). God had rescued Daniel again! He closed the lions’ mouths!
Darius: Daniel’s God is the living God! His kingdom will last forever! He rescues and He saves and He performs signs and wonders – He has even rescued Daniel from the lions!
Narrator: And he was right!