Lily looked up, her eyes wide. “The Ceremony of Twelve,” she whispered in an awed voice. Even the smallest children—Lily’s age and younger—knew that it lay in the future for each of them.
It is a passage form The Giver (Lois Lowry). Looks to me as the verb lay is an incorrect form. If it is Present Tense—it should be it lays. If it is Past Tense—it should be it laid.
Layis also a valid past tense of the the verb lie.
Lowry’s usage lays somewhere between definitions 4,5 and 7:
4 : to have direction : extend
a : to occupy a certain relative place or position
b : to have a place in relation to something else
c : to have an effect through mere presence, weight, or relative position
a : to have place : exist
Besides the literal interpretation of the event having a position in the children’s future, 5c also can be applied because the knowledge of the Ceremony in their futures weighs on their minds even now.