Dance Ministry – 5 Worship Dance Choreography tips

Sometimes we can feel like we are stuck in a rut with the way we worship dance, sometimes feeling like we are always doing the same thing. God doesn’t think this, He loves all the movement you create. That being said, there is nothing wrong with choosing to explore and push the boundaries of our movement to deepen our conversation with God. Here are 5 simple ways that you can grow your worship dance choreography.

I love association when it comes to teaching. So rather than using boring words I’ve gone for imagery and something to visualise. The Bible and worship are full of imagery anyway so it makes sense to use it to understand and develop your worship dance choreography. So, let’s break these 5 tips down.

Exploring your dance canvas outside.

Painting your canvas

Painters often only have a 2D canvas to work with, but as dancers our canvas is 3D, 360 degrees, often we can forget this. The easiest way to explain this is, imagine there is a giant glass box, bigger than you and you are put within it. Your ‘performance’ space, or area to dance in, is not just in front of you. It in front, behind, to the side, up above and down below. It is everywhere. Not only are you aware that you have all this space as your canvas, but also any observers that see you will recognise a depth in your movement due to the different facings that you focus on.

Golf ball to beach ball

Size plays a massive influence on the movement that you create. Just like painting your canvas it impacts on the visual eye and the energy of the dance, as well as the story. Minute finger movements to large whole-body movements each tell a story. Think through some of the movements that you have done recently, have they all been the same size or have you varied your approach to a movement?

Speed, size and shape explored through worship dance choreography.

Sloth to leopard

Speed can be something that we are afraid of as dancers. However, it is something that creates an ebb and flow in our dance, drawing both yourself and observers into what is happening. What speed naturally dominates your movement? A consistent continuous one? Or do you find yourself picking your moments with which to be fast or slow?  What your body demonstrates with speed engages the dancer and observer on the journey that you are on. Whether that’s taking the same movement and doing it at different speed, or have different movements at different speeds. Scripture poses a great opportunity use this worship dance choreography.

Dancing as a group outside exploring speed and shape with worship dance.

Cricket to fly

I am sure by now you can work out what cricket to fly might mean!! Both are creatures that move and travel about in different ways (and speeds). You’ve got the cricket that travels ground through jumping and clinging to things. Then you have the fly, who flies (!) about chopping and changing direction. Just like when you paint your canvas you change the focus and facing of your movement. Travelling and moving across your space is important. You create patterns and shapes with the movement across the floor and jumping, twirling, sliding, twisting, running and more provide a way to move across that space. Cricket to fly is a fabulous way to immerse yourself in worship dance choreography.

Monkey

My last tip is about expressions, focus, quirks. The extra bits that help tell the story, express the song or reveal the meaning of God’s word. All these other bits are important in worship dance choreography to cement the journey, exploration and performance. Monkeys are great at showing up in different ways what’s needed, bringing in that extra little bit of flare.

Give your whole being to worshipping God.

Applying the use of these tips into worship dance choreography

Not sure how you can build out a sequence? Here are 5 applications from the worship dance choreography tips above –

  1. Look at a piece of scripture (e.g. Psalm 36.5-7) identify different levels, changes and focuses within the verse. How can the things you’ve noticed help you to paint your canvas?
  2. Looking at same scripture, identify the words that connect to size. How can they transpose to movement?
  3. Take the movements you created for size and choreograph two variations of it and different speeds. What do you feel the speeds demonstrate?
  4. In what ways can you lengthen and grow the movement sequence that you have at the moment? Go back to the scripture, what other things stand out for you? How can you add them into the sequence to show travel?
  5. Finally, pause! Think about the worship dance choreography tips AND the scripture. What else can you add into your sequence to show what the scripture is saying. Think about the journey you are showing and the story you are creating from the scripture.
Hold on to Me choreography from the Prayer Dance Trail outside 2021. How many worship dance choreography tips can you spot?

I’ve only skimmed the surface with how you can use these 5 worship dance choreography tips. If you want to know more check out the membership and mentoring options with UC Grace here.

This blog post might also be useful for you – 3 Ways to explore Worship dance choreography with Philippians 3.14.

worship dance choreography tips.

Scripture Prompt – The meaning of Matthew 14.2-4

This blog post is written by Emma Swinden, one of Scripture Prompt contributers.

During Scripture Prompts this week we explore the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4 and how we can apply it to our day to day life.

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 18.2-4
Child exploring puddles

How does the view of a child change things?

Is there something Jesus wants us to learn through the humble eyes of a child? 

Imagine how a child might put on their wellies on a rainy day and approach a puddle?  How might a child see that puddle? As something exciting to jump in and make splashes with perhaps? 

My 6 year old son has a love/hate relationship with water.   I am reminded of the ear-to-ear grin on my son’s faces as he charges with utter joy into puddles on rainy days.  I am also reminded of how he can thrash around in the bath, resisting the hair wash.

My role as his Mum is to speak encouraging words to him, try my best to be calm when his emotions rage and even sometimes lift him out of the bath to keep him safe until he calms down.  And he does calm down.  We talk about how I’m trying to help him so that he doesn’t get a yucky itchy head and that his part is to surrender so it can be over with quickly. So he can return to playing with his rubber duck.  It’s a team effort!  Then he wraps his wet arms around, saying, “I’m sorry”, in acceptance and love.

There’s something very humble going on when a child needs help with something or when they delight in a puddle. 

Being child like jumping in puddle for Meaning of Matthew 14.2-4.

The childlike faith of Jesus.

Relate these two scenarios to the child-like faith Jesus asks of us when approaching Him and we may ask, how can I be more humble in God’s eyes? 

Now I’m not saying that submitting to something you don’t want to do (even though it’s good for you) or getting soaked in puddles is everyone’s idea of fun. But perhaps there’s an area of your life where you can experience this kind of childlike humility.  Where you let God be in charge of things and take care of you, or where you can choose to see the delightful, perhaps less obvious, adventure He has placed before you.  Where you can humble yourself and relinquish control and find love, acceptance, understanding and delight?  God wants us in a position where we can be His child and become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Putting into action the meaning of Matthew 14.2-4

Thinking about some of these themes why not step out and begin to explore that in movement and prayer. You can try some of the following:

Create a movement or shape with your body which acknowledges a desire to humble yourself, in child-like trust, to God. This might include thinking about levels, the focus of your eyes and the size that your body is.

You can also consider whether there is anything you need to lay at Jesus’ feet and say sorry for today. Talk to God about this and receive His forgiveness, using words, movements or during a time of quiet.

You can explore more about scripture and movement by reading another Scripture Prompt blog – The meaning of Psalm 5.12. You can also check out our Deeper Scripture membership.

Splashing in puddles

Intercessory Prayer – What is intercessory prayer?

Prayer is a personal thing, how each of us do it will reflect our character and the unique way that God made us. In many places the Bible talks about prayer, but today I want to focus on what is intercessory prayer. A phrase sometimes people frown at or misunderstand and consider that intercessory prayer is something some super holy people do. The reality? We are all intercessors! I hope to share with you today how you can be encouraged about intercessory prayer and understand what it is.

Let’s start with prayer itself.

Prayer is our ability to talk to God, to invite him into our day to day lives and express what is on our hearts. It’s recognising that you’re just having a conversation. But this conversation is with someone who not only cares about you deeply but wants the absolute best for you no matter what.

Prayer is something that is also put on a pedestal, and we are led to believe that we need to do it, say it, act it in a certain way. It took me many years to recognise that prayer is about how I live my life with Jesus, not how someone else does it. The Bible gives us the tools we need, most importantly the Lord’s Prayer, as our anchor and springboard to create our prayers. When we can grasp how simple prayer can be in our life, we can begin to understand about what intercessory prayer is.

Two people facing each other joining hands in intercessory prayer.

Do you pray for others?

The dictionary describes the word ‘intercessory’ as having the function of interceding. Interceding is about acting or interposing on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble. Think about when you pray, what do you pray for? Are praying for anyone else at all? Then you are interceding and creating an intercessory prayer!!

Ezekiel 22.30 is a great place to look at this in more detail. It says –

“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

Ezekiel recorded these words from God. God went looking for someone to stand in the gap for sinful Jerusalem. This is a brilliant example of what we can do in our own lives. Do you need to step into the gap when someone else can’t?

I love thinking of this as an image of shields. God’s armour is there to protect and ground us. The shield may offer some protection on its own, but when it joins with others it’s a mighty force. As we step out to pray for others, we are strengthening that shield and choosing to put on God’s armour.

Stop wondering what intercessory prayer is. You are already doing it. Those times you say you’ll pray for someone; you’re stepping in and strengthening that defence. Don’t be disheartened, be encouraged that you are already an intercessor!

A group of dancers reaching with their arms up all close together.

How can I deepen my understanding of what is intercessory prayer?

For this last bit I wanted to help demonstrate ways that you can be an intercessor when responding to scripture.

The Psalms are packed full of references to prayer. As this month we are focusing on the Psalms, I wanted to share some verses that specifically reference prayer and how they could help you be an intercessor!

Psalm 4.1 – Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – comfort to know that God is there, peace and trust that God will carry them through their distress.

Psalm 66.20 – Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!

The key themes here that you can pray into someone for are – praise that God had heard their prayers and that God’s love is bigger than they know.

Psalm 141.2 – May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

The key themes to pray for someone here are – that the Holy Spirit will have the freedom to work in the areas that it’s needed and that the person will be thankful with how God is working.

I do hope this encourages you in your prayer life and stepping in the gap for others. Some of these blog posts might also be useful to you.

Jesus for Kids – 5 Top tips for Teaching Flags and ribbons for Children’s Worship

One thing I am passionate about is passing on the joy of moving and dancing with flags and ribbons to children. However, I am keen that they understand scriptural references and know that they are choosing to pick up a vehicle that can be used to talk to God, to communicate, worship and share their heart. In this blog post you’ll find 5 top tips for teaching flags and ribbons as part of Children’s worship.

Indoor group during children's worship using flags.
Moving Rainbows | Guildford

How does using dance and movement with children encourage them on their walk with God?

From a wide-angle perspective dance encourages growth of self-esteem, beliefs, accomplishments and other skills. It also releases children to live their life in a way that they want too and will be of value to them. However, if you zoom in, dance and movement provide a safe space for children to learn to channel their emotions and communicate to God when words maybe difficult. Additionally, it also provides opportunity for children to learn the Bible, resulting in the ability to put movement and actions to words, helping with memory verse remembrance and themes and topics in the Bible.

Children outdoor dancing with flags.
St Albans Holiday Club

Please recognise that you will have your own unique way of teaching – because God made you that way! So, what I put forward are simply suggestions, they are things that I have learnt along the way and have found helpful when teaching children’s worship in particular.

There is too much to say all in this post, so make sure you check out my post about What the Bible says about Flags and Banners to help with any background information you may want to know.

Here are my top 5 tips for teaching flags and ribbons for children’s worship specifically:

1. Have clear intentions and boundaries

Boundaries – However well you know the children you will need clear boundaries in place. These include things like, the flag stays rolled whilst you’re teaching or talking. You put your hand up and count back from 5 when you want the children to be still. They sit down or put their flag down when you’re talking. You make it clear what happens if they continually don’t listen. They understand their dance space and where they can go when they move.

Intentions – This is about letting parents and children know what they are going to be doing during the session. Depending on the context of your workshop or class, this is important. Although it might seem obvious, you will need to say they will be worshipping, praying, reading the Bible and dancing for Jesus. If it’s not a ‘normal’ event i.e. church, Sunday school etc. But more like a youth club, holiday club, you may have some unchurched children there (awesome), we just need to still be respectful of their back ground.

2. The more help you have the better

No brainer with children! When ever you think you have enough you don’t! Regardless of how well behaved you think your children are, they will use a flag as a sword or poke someone on purpose. It’s new and exciting. So it’s best to accept it will happen rather than consider it won’t!

Due to this, extra hands are your best friend as they can help police what the children are doing with the resources. Helpers are also useful when you are teaching, they can dot them selves amongst the children. So, even if the children can’t see you, they can watch a helper (provided you’ve primed the helpers with what you are doing!). Should you split into group work, helpers can assist those groups and children that might be finding the task hard.

Children's worship with flags.
Mothering Sunday | Emmanuel Church Guildford

3. Restrict numbers for some children’s worship workshops

It sounds quite harsh doesn’t it? But honestly, when you are teaching flags and ribbons you don’t want a packed hall. Not only will you have to fight above the noise to capture attention and teach safely. But the children won’t be able to enjoy the full effect of moving and dancing with a flag or ribbon if they don’t have the space within which to do it.

If you do have to do a big group, my suggestion would be to split the group in two when ever it comes to actively moving as a smaller group can access the space more effectively.

Therefore, when planning your numbers think in realistic terms about how many bodies you can get in your space to effectively delivery an excellent children’s worship workshop.

4. Demonstrate, teach, practise, repeat in chunks

Chunking is something that I will talk about in another post. But essentially break down what ever you want to teach them into small sections and then do this:

Demonstrate – the children WATCH you do the movements

Teach – you TALK through and DO the movements with them

Practise – you go over what you have just done – with a partner or another helper

Repeat – constantly go back and re do what you have just done.

All children learn differently, all children learn at different paces. Doing it as above, will allow children who learn differently to still be able to access what you are doing.

5. Pick one song and memory verse they know.

With children, less is more. Don’t over plan. Pick something simple, that will allow them to be TAUGHT something and then allow them to CREATE something. That’s primarily why children love to dance and move with flags and ribbons. There is a freedom they don’t get in other activities.

Children also love to realise that they know the answers already. So, whatever song or scripture you pick try to ensure that it’s already used as part of the children’s worship in the groups or at school. Familiarity encourages children to bloom and will help breed confidence. If you’re asking questions about topics or themes they may already know this will do just that.

Children's sitting down listening to teacher explain scripture.
Family Advent Fun

Let me know how you get on with any children’s worship workshops.

There will be more hints and tips on teaching children and why we should invest in them. So, make sure you check back regularly.

If you’ve got a heart to teach children but don’t feel you have the skills and confidence to move with flags and ribbons yourself, why not get in touch about running a training day at your church. You can get in touch with me here.

These blog posts might also be useful for you –

If you want to be the first to heat about any teaching children’s worship resources I create. Head here and sign up.

Children's worship pictures, holding flags and ribbons in different workshops.

Dance Ministry – Prayer Dance Trail FAQs

Prayer dance trail logo

Got a question about the Prayer dance trail? Then check out the questions below. If you still have questions then please do get in touch.

How long are the sessions?

Online sessions will last between 60 and 90 minutes, this will provide flexibility needed for discussions.

The in-person session will be 2 hours.

What happens if I miss an online session?

You can catch up afterwards as the recording will be uploaded into the learning portal.

What will we cover during the first online session?

This first session will be introducing the trail, what it looks like, how you will do it and laying the foundations of creating your own trail. We will begin to unpick how to pick a topic and what you need to think about relating to that topic during the course of the trail.

The trail will be challenging, so we will also talk about some of the challenges and excitement that it can bring.

I will share ways you can start movement and what can inspire you during your journey. Between the 1st and 2nd weeks you will encouraged to start creating some movement yourself as well as firm up the finre details about the trail that you are going to take.

What will we cover during the second online session?

This session gets exciting as we dive deep into what movement on the trail looks like. I will share a topic and how I have developed it – this will be available for everyone to use if they wish.

You will also find out ways that you can document your journey with the trail. Between the 2nd and 3rd session you will be encouraged to actually do the trail, and not just once! Always coming back to how God can impact you through this trail and your prayer dance journey.

What will we cover during the third online session?

The final session will offer a time to draw together how your prayer dance trail went and the impact that it has had on you.

Reflection, praise, worship and moving forward will al feature.

Are we supposed to be dancing outside during the online session?

Not at all! You will need access to notebook, bible, pen and workbook during the sessions. Of course if you want to do the session outside you are most welcome, but we won’t be moving for the whole session. Don’t get cold!

What do we do between each of the online sessions?

At the end of each online session Anna will explain what you will need to do between then and the next online session. You will be encouraged to complete that so you can maximise your experience and learning during the course.

If we want to listen to the session again will we be able to access it?

Yes of course. All online sessions will be recorded and uploaded into the learning portal for you to watch again at your own pace.

Will I need to record myself moving at all?

No. You will not be required to provide ‘evidence’ of your dance trail. But equally if you wish to record and share with us, you are most welcome.

If I wanted to record some of my movements and share them how would I do that?

Recording – The easiest way to do this is with two devices. For example, I use my tablet or computer to play the music I want to dance to and I use my phone to video my movement. I have a tripod to help me with recording but propping it up against something works just fine too!

Sharing – if you have the recording on your phone, you then have the ability to share into any whatsapp groups, upload to facebook/ social media or email. Most videos would be too large to attach to an email directly. So a file transfer service like www.wetransfer.com works well for this.

What is the learning portal?

The learning portal is an online space where everything is uploaded for you to access. It’s main address is https://community.ucgrace.co.uk/ . If you have previously brought the 40 day dance and movement devotional, you would have purchased it here. Just log in as normal. Can’t remember your password? Then request a reminder.

Hope this has helped. Don’t forget you can find all the other details and how to book here. Don’t forget there is also the blog post Creating Prayer Dance Trail that gives a more in depth idea of what is involved.

Intercessory Prayer – What is prayer movement?

Have you ever been asked to do prayer movement? What have you thought about it? How did you respond? Sometimes hearing those two words together can raise an eyebrow, but the reality is everyone who prays already uses prayer movement. Let me take a few moments to explain what I mean by this.

How do you come to pray?

Often when we come to pray there is certain things we always do as we come before God. That might be closing our eyes, opening our Bible, bowing our head, going on our knees, opening our arms out, raising our hands and so much more. They are all things that people do for prayer to come into the presence of God. To draw closer to him and be ready, and they are all movements.

Just take a pause here and think about the last time that you prayed. Think about how you readied yourself. How you took yourself through that moment and how you drew closer to God. Write it all down or remember all the little things that you did. How you did it, what did you respond to the most, what is really important when you pray?

prayer movement kneeling

Everyone moves when they pray.

I watch people and they say I’m not a dancer and I’m not a mover and that’s fine I hear you, everyone is different. However, everyone moves when they pray and that’s really evident probably from the things that you have written down. Or through observations as you see others come to pray.

How often do you just pray without ANY change in the state of your body? Or put another way, how often do you talk without any expression? Not often hey! Even as I am writing this (or speaking into a microphone) I’m moving my hands and making facial expressions.

Very rarely can we come before God and pray (or worship!) in a bland way putting no expression, no motion, no movement in it. The reason is because God created us, he created us to live and move and have his being. To respond to him.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17.28

In many places in the Bible it talks about laying hands on people when they pray. Why? Because God moves! As we choose to use movement and prayer together, we are acknowledging that God will move. That the atmosphere will change.

At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.’ Luke 4.40

pausing in prayer sitting on a chair

How can I be more conscious about my prayer movement?

As we come before God we use our whole body. Every single bit of us because it takes our focus, because we have an intention about what we are creating. We are creating a conversation, an open door, an opportunity for change.

I talk a lot about intention within dance and intention with prayer movement. At the end of the day if you don’t have any intention with what you were doing it’s not going to reflect your true heart.

Here are 3 things I want you to consider as you go onwards with your prayer movement:

1. What do your hands do when you pray?

2. How is your body when you pray?

3. Where is your focus?

As you become more aware of answers to these questions you can begin to think about what you are wanting to declare through your prayer and what that could look like with movement. For example, if you are praying about someone’s heart and mind. You can place your hands on your head and then hands on your heart. Alternating between them as you feel led whilst you pray.

Raising hands lifting up a prayer.

In conclusion, can prayer movement be defined?

Yes! But how you define it, comes down to you and the impact it has on your life. For me, and UC Grace this is my definition…

Prayer movement is your body’s reaction to drawing closer to God. The external display of an internal feeling and preparation for a conversation. It’s nuances that only you and God know. Fleeting moments when you choose to acknowledge your connection and conversation with God. The reality of moving through life sometimes 100 miles an hour but still always doing the same thing when you choose to pray. To have that conversation and allow intention into the time of response with God.

Going forward…

Will you realise where movement fits into your prayer journey? Keen to explore it in a more informal way? Consider joining prayer dance bites that allows short, focused sessions looking at scripture, our reaction in movement and our prayer from it. You can find out more here.

The following blog posts are also good starting points –

Most of all, relax and enjoy where your prayer movement takes you.

Don’t forget you can also join the mailing list here to keep up with all that happens with UC Grace.

A picture for pinterest about What is prayer movement?

Dance Ministry – Creating a prayer dance trail

I’m excited to bring this ‘how to’ blog to you today. Many of you will be familiar with prayer walking. Choosing to go out in a specific area to pray for things as you pass different locations. Whether that is to do with the location directly or to offer a springboard for prayers on other topics. I’ve been sharing a lot recently about how prayer dance can impact our prayer journey. So today I want to share with you how creating a prayer dance trail can help build another way to journey your prayers and conversations with God. I will offer a simple outline that you can apply to different topics and situations as you wanted, giving you limitless possibility to move your prayers outside.

I highly recommend a notebook as you work through this, so you can write down any bits that you need to. However lots can be gained from doing this spontaneously as well.

Resting in an outside space praying.

Step one – Discover what you want to pray for.

Praying with a purpose gives you a greater focus and will help with creating a prayer dance trail that fits with what’s on your heart at the moment. Use the following things as an impetus to begin to note down things that you want to pray through.

  • Person
  • Circumstances
  • Emotion
  • Place

Whatever you pick, this is known as the topic. Write down everything about that topic you have picked. Think about all aspects of it and any impacts that there are.

Step two – Creating a prayer dance trail route.

Begin by choosing 4 areas or stops within walking distance from your home or at a location you visit frequently. Or simply an area that you love! Assign one of the following themes to each of the areas –

  • Head and Heart
  • Relationships
  • Pause and rest
  • Encouragement

Learn the order that the topics appear on your route. Each of these 4 areas, with their relevant theme assigned will act as stopping points along your route. At each of these stopping points you will focus on the relevant theme and how you can pray into it with the topic you picked at the beginning.

Creating a prayer dance trail what the journey could look like.

Step three – Begin to create some movement.

Now start to look at all the things that you have written for your topic. Find one word (or a phrase if you need to) that could sum it up. This is to be known as your capital letter and full stop and will be the foundation blocks for creating a prayer dance trail.

Once you have identified your word, you need to create a simple and short movement that you can do for it. This movement will be used at the beginning and end of your time in each area that you stop at along your route. This is why I have called it a capital letter and full stop! You could also think of is as the bread in a sandwich!

I find having a simple movement such as this helps you to frame each section and provide you with focus, both as you begin and as you end.

You then have the choice to leave the space between the capital letter and full stop at each location empty. Then to fill it with spontaneous movement each time. Or to think about each theme and location and some movements that might work best to that theme.

The biggest thing to remember is providing God with the space to move, speak to you and respond to your movement. After all whatever it is that you are praying about is important, so you want to know what God might have to say about it!

Dancing with a pink ribbon outside

Step four – Prayer dancing the trail.

Before you step out and begin your trail. Pause and ask God to lead you. You have spent time laying the foundations creating a prayer dance trail layout. Now, how your trail works is really up to you. Here are some suggestions about how you could approach working your way through the trail:

  • Use music to inspire you as you walk.
  • Allow God’s silence to fill the space you walk.
  • Move to a specific scripture at each stop.
  • Move to the same scripture at each stop thinking about how the theme assigned to that location impacts it.
  • Take ribbons, material, flags or something else to inspire you along the way.

God can speak through whichever way you do it. There is no right or wrong. My prayer is that these instructions will offer up a chance for you to explore and see what works best for you.

Praying against the ruins of Waverley Abbey.

Step 5 – The challenge

Often, we forget that praying for something can take patience, perseverance and consistency. Now you’ve taken the time creating a prayer dance trail. The challenge would be completing it consistently over the course of the month with the same topic, locations, and themes. See how God moves and what he says.

Over the space of a month work your way through the trail as often as you can. Sometimes it might be that you feel only part of the trail needs completing but respond to what God is saying to you each time. Refer to all that you wrote down about the topic at the beginning.

Some other things to consider when creating a prayer dance trail.

Doing it with others – creating a prayer dance trail with others can be even more fun than doing it on your own. You have the chance to be unified in what you are praying and support each other as you do it. This could be through you all prayer dancing to the same topic or you each have your own topic but you work your way through the same route together.

Do the trail at different times of day – we all know that we can be more tuned in to God at certain times of day. Why not see whether different times of day affect how you approach the trail and how God speaks.

Other influences – such as music, weather, scenery or scripture that could inspire you as you pray and move.

In May 2021 we will be running a prayer dance trail for you to join in with. Keep an eye on the Events page for further information. If you want to know more about prayer dancing read this beginners blog – Encountering God through prayer and movement.

Would you like to be part of the UC Grace journey? Then head here to sign up and be kept in the loop with what we are doing.

Closer to God – 3 ways to explore how God loves us through 1 John 3.1

During prayer dance bites last night we entered into a great conversation about whether we truly recognised that God lavishes his love on us. I just want to take a few moments today to share 3 insights that came out of our discussions. We looked particularly at the scripture reference 1 John 3.1:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

There is so much depth in this verse and so much that we can learn, apply and trust God with. In the whirlwind of life, how deep God loves us often gets lost. Take a moment and think about what the word Lavish could mean, and what it means to you.

God loves us so much it invades it.

God’s love is like an invasion.

How do you like to feel love? Or how do you show love to others? We have a generous God that continually pours out his love to sustain us. But God knows the way to love us that speaks to us the most. If you’ve not heard about the love languages, they are certainly worth looking up (see link at the end). The Love Languages identify the way that you receive love best, this can help you in your various relationships. God loves us in such a way that He doesn’t have to think about how to give us love, He knows. Often we have the decision about whether we choose to receive that love.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us.

Consider the image of an invasion happening, when a winning side arrive on the scene to complete the invasion, they consume the area they are aiming for. They take it over completely. That’s the love God has for us. A love that overwhelms, releases the floodgates and crashes into us. God loves us with such a depth it’s overpowering.

There is no argument, God loves us.

This sense of overpowerment causes us to pause and recognise that we are called children of God. Children have an innocence and need to know they are loved, to feel compassion. As God calls us his children, he makes a clear statement that brings no argument.

…that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

Think of it like this – God loves us, lavishes on us, because we are children of God. As children of God we need to receive that with an open heart that enables us to stand firm with all God has for us.

We need to brace for impact.

Is your heart really open to all that God has for you? Are you ready to receive it? Chris Tomlins song Impact has a line in it that says:

Brace for the impact

The first time I heard it I did a double take. Why do we need to brace? What are bracing for? As we talked during prayer dance bites it dawned on us all. That how much God loves us is an overwhelming, tidal wave surging, storm crashing impact. By that I mean if we truly receive the words of this verse. Recognising that God loves us lavishly as we are his children, love will invade us with such force that we need to brace for the impact because it will be all consuming.

How can we respond to this?

If you’re a mover and dancer you can explore how God loves us by dancing to the song Impact by Chris Tomlin. Think about these 3 words –

  • Invade
  • Firm
  • Impact

What can these look like in movement? How do these words make you feel when you think about the depth that God loves us?

This video highlights what was shared during our Prayer Dance Bite session as well as some further thoughts and movement from me.

Further information

You can find out about the Five Love Languages here.

Not sure what Prayer Dance Bites is but would like to know more? Head here. Would you like to be part of the UC Grace journey? Then head here to sign up and be kept in the loop with what we are doing.

Lets brace for the impact of Gods love.

Types of Worship – Creativity in Worship is naturally part of what you do.

Creativity surrounds us, wherever we look, people, landscapes, businesses, things that go, plants, food, music and so much more each have an element of uniqueness about them. If, creativity is around us all the time, that must mean that it has some influence on how we live our day-to-day life. If God inhabits our day, one must assume that creativity is part of our day too. This week I want us to consider how creativity in worship is naturally part of what you do. How can creativity, worship and our conversation with God blend into our everyday?

What’s the deal with Creativity?

You just need to look around you and see with amazement the things that God has created. He takes great care with what he makes, being specific and knowing every detail, creativity in worship shines through everywhere.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, Genesis 1.14

This act of creation shared with us, means we see stunning clouds and sky by day and amazing stars at night. Each one deliberately put there. Part of Gods plan when He ‘created’.

The English word create stems from the Latin word creare which means to make, bring forth or produce. Everyday each of us will do those things – make, bring forth or produce.

Take a moment now and write down everything you have done with your day so far.

Drawing and Pausing close to God.

Creativity allows the possibility to explore something different. It challenges your perception about what you see and do, and how it could be done differently. It isn’t one size fits all. It’s the willingness to explore and acknowledge even the little things.

How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139.17-18.

The little things such as the grains of sand and ALL our thoughts were important when God created us. He took the time to lean into those small details. Think about the small details that occur day to day for you, do you recognise them and thank God for them?

Let’s look deeper at worship.

How do you worship? What is important to you when you worship? What does it involve? Spend a few moments noting down the answers to those questions.

I have always seen worship as part of my everyday routine, as I begin conversations with God, I am entering into a time of worship. An acknowledgment that what I am doing is for him. Often worship is only considered as singing, or time together on a Sunday morning. But it is much bigger than that. This verse in John sums it up well.

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4.24 (emphasis mine)

In a nutshell according to this verse, entering into a conversation with God in any form is connecting with his spirit. Connecting with his spirit is part of creativity, resulting in creativity in worship. It’s like a perpetual cycle, one thing cannot happen without the other.

Forgiveness at the cross in worship

But how does creativity in worship go hand in hand?

As we draw to the end, I want to take some time to share and help you recognise that what you are doing already in your journey is using creativity in worship. You might also find some other things that you want to try.

Put a pause in.

Let’s look right back at Genesis again and remember that even through all that God was creating. He recognised the good bits, stood back to look at them and paused. This was a specific action that he put in at the end of every day. He chose to pause.

‘God saw all that He has made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1.31

Perhaps for you, the biggest challenge in your creativity in worship might be putting in a pause, a full stop. To see what God has done or is doing. As you read on in Genesis God talks about how he chose to rest and bless that day.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2.2-3

Sitting in Gods creativity by the sea.

For me this verse isn’t talking about ensuring there is a full day of rest in your week, although lets face it that would be lovely! It’s talking about how God made the active choice that to connect with his spirit and what he had done he needed to pause. And choose to bless what has been done.

Day to day putting in a pause (however big or small) and choosing to acknowledge God will enable you to draw closer to him. As you build confidence, your conversations, movements and actions during that moment of pause will become more intentional.

Write it down, draw it, move it out.

God made us all unique, that means how we choose to record our journey will be different.

You could write it down in prose, poem, song, story. Draw it in intricate detail, or any way you like. Or, move and dance what ever is stirring on your heart. That could be as simple as standing still, kneeling down or raising hands. It could also go deeper and involve a complete movement dance.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29.2

In our worship give God glory. What that looks like for you will be different to your friend. For example, although I love to move, part of my worship is also creating this blog post. It’s cutting out material patterns, it’s eating food! They are all things that can remind me of God’s greatness and how He is part of my conversation daily.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12.1

As I remember those things I acknowledge what God is doing, I praise Him and thank Him and chat with him. This grows my creativity in worship.

Growing plants outside as part of creativity in worship.

Create delight in the mundane.

This is a favourite of mine. It’s about the intentional choice to involve God in those things that you have to get done day to day.

Yep, you’ve guessed it! The cooking, cleaning, packing, folding, washing, drying and more that can encapsulate the majority of life. The stuff that has to get done and often we don’t want to spend time doing. So why not bring God into the occasion?

  • Listen to a sermon or song as you iron, wash dishes, fold clothes etc.
  • Pray for someone every time you make yourself a drink – you have a list up on the wall.
  • Give God praise as the kettle is boiling. Remember that God wants his passion to bubble up inside us.
  • As you clean focus on the sin Jesus washed away, what do you need to say sorry for?

I could make a big list of things. This is all creative, it’s all worship. Action and intention creates a reaction.

As a starting point for you, why don’t you list, things that you know you have to do day to day down one side of the paper. Then on the other side of the paper write one way that you can interact with God through it.

This is your personal way to grow your creativity in worship! Let me know what you create!!

lory to God - dancing outside with a silver flag worshipping God.

You are creative!!

A final note to finish with, is a reminder that you are creative. What ever it is that you do there will ALWAYS be creativity in it. God is all around us, so he’s all around your creativity and what you create. Cheering you on, giving you your best.

Whether that’s –

  • Writing blog posts, reports and documents.
  • Folding clothes
  • Creating dance and movement
  • Sewing
  • Washing up
  • Playing with children
  • Teaching children!
  • Building, drilling, or cutting something
  • Planting, growing and sowing things.

There is creativity within you. You can make the choice to include it in your conversations with God.

Would love to know how you’ve got on with this. If you fancy reading more about movement and worship I recommend you reading this post 4 Ways of Worship bringing intimacy with God and Three things that can impact dance to worship.

Not part of the UC Grace journey? Jump on board, we would love to have you. Sign up here.

Pinterest graphic with beach view and field dancing showing creativity.

Closer to God – Encountering God through prayer and movement

Following on from my blog post How can I start to Prayer Dance, I wanted to take the time to be more specific about ways that you can begin moving and encountering God through prayer and movement. What’s important to remember is that all movement day to day can be a part of your prayers. It’s the intention that’s behind the movement when you do it.

I want to break it down into 3 easy movements for you to explore at your own pace – stand, sit or kneel and lie down. Each of these are postures that can be made before God, during your worship and prayer time. The reason these movements work well is because it encourages a 3-dimensional view of your prayer. Looking forward, behind, around you and up above, it changes your perspective to what you are praying for.

Let me break it down a bit –

Standing and praying to God.

Standing

Standing itself is an action, think about all the different ways you can stand and whether they are always static. For example, we very rarely stand completely still. Often, we are swaying slightly, shifting from foot to foot or walking/ moving forward.

The intention behind a standing prayer is the decision to look forward to what is to come. Accepting what’s happened behind and choosing to seek God with the future or ways to move forward. It’s noticing what happened before to get you to where you are now and striving forward to see what will come.

Kneeling and praying

Sitting (or kneeling)

Sitting often requires an acceptance of the situation or moment that you are in. It might also involve an exhale of breath and the release of tension.

The intention is pausing in the current whirlwind to see where you are. Allowing yourself to be in the present, notice things around you. People, conversations, God. To choose to take big breaths for that moment.

Lying down encountering God through movement.

Lying down

Lying down forces, you to look upwards, to lift your face to what’s coming down, receive, accept and look at all the areas you couldn’t see from the other perspectives!

The intention is surrender, turning your face to God to receive his spirit, to listen to his voice and give to him the things that you have been holding onto.

But how will these movement help me with encountering God through prayer?

Let’s put it into practice…

Before we add an intention to your movements, get familiar with the movements and the space you’re in. Work your way through the different postures making note of what you see and how you feel. Often there is one that feels more comfy.

Now decide what you want to pray for…

Sometimes, if you’re a pen and paper person it can be useful to write down the things that you might want to pray for in each of the different postures. Or you can wing it!

Then move it…

You can work your way through the different postures speaking out your prayers in each place, pausing to listen to God.

Or if you are a mover and dancer then you can step out the things you have written into some simple movements or hand gestures.

Remember

The intention that you bring a movement can make it a prayer. So even if you’re washing up and scrubbing something clean, you can choose that movement for example to be a prayer…

  • About removing bad words said against you or someone else.
  • For new things to come when old stuff has gone.
  • To see the goodness amongst the craziness of life.

Intention in the action creates the prayer.

Praying with God outside.

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If you’re interested in learning more about prayer, dance and movement then there’s a free PDF download you grab here.

There is also weekly prayer dance bite session, where we look at scripture and how that reflects in our life at the moment and adding movement to do. More information about this can be found on the Prayer Dance Bites page on the website here.