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?

Worship Dance Ministry – God sustaining us through movement

Movement encounters our emotions in whatever form it takes – dancing, singing, sport, cooking – are just a few. They all involve movement and all provide ways to keep sustaining us when it gets tough. God is there to give us more than enough, all the time. But do you recognise that God sustaining us, enables us to share his word better, to love our passion greater and to pause letting our hearts get better? That thing that helps to sustain you, is a passion, it stirs your heart.

Sharing a passion…

This month we’ve been chatting a bit about passion, what it means to us as individuals, and what it might mean for the plan God has for us. I shared this week during my talk, Passion in a Suitcase some of my journey and scriptures that have enabled me to keep going no matter what.

I speak about how passion isn’t necessarily a specific activity it’s something that stirs your heart, it’s something that causes you to want to do more of it. That could be to do with a physical activity, it could be an emotion, it could be your workspace, it could be where you live, or it could be something to do with your family. If it stirs your heart it’s a passion! What’s stirring your heart today?

Today I want to look back on a fabulous dance day in 2014 and draw your attention to a dance that we did called ‘Can’t Stop Singing’. The song itself speaks about how God is more than enough. That God sustaining us, is Gods whole heart. Regardless of circumstances, regardless of what we feel, God is more than enough.

I feel it demonstrates some of that hidden passion inside us. It drew on emotions to explore the words and individually encounter the grace that God gives us. We moved in groups and recognised that moving together and saying that the Lord is our Redeemer over everything can bring so much joy.

The day was titled ‘Sharing a Passion, Generating Creativity.’ It allowed opportunity for God to work amongst the participants and see each of them grow closer to God with their faith.

I led the day with Joe Littledyke from Soul Survivor Watford. Whilst we were planning we had a real sense that the day was all about joy and celebrating. Celebrating that God sustaining us, always has done, will be, and that he is always there.

Bringing out our passion from darkness to light.

Lights on… Lights off… Let’s worship

The venue that we had the privilege to move in for the dance day, was equipped with various lights on the ceiling to change the lighting atmosphere. Normally we all worship with the lights on. But sometimes to bring out our passion, we have to begin in darkness and grow into the light.

During some of our time dancing that day we experimented with different lights. Chasing, jumping, growing and retreating with them. As God spoke to us over the course of the day participants recognised that the lights helped to portray and feel a real sense that God was there.

As we built the dance to the song ‘Can’t stop singing’ we experimented further what the lights could do and the impact they could have alongside the words of the song and the movements that were created.

For many, the moments of darkness put them into a sense of suspense. Suspense at not knowing when they needed to burst out and declare their movement. But suspense that God has called them to step out of the darkness and into the light.

God sustaining us is More than Enough

God will always give us more than enough. That was the key theme throughout the song ‘Can’t stop singing’. It cheers us to keep singing, moving, and trusting that God will give more than enough, to sustain us through the season that we are in.

Think about your season at the moment. How is it going? Are you giving yourself a chance to step out of the darkness and into the light declaring that God is more than enough? What does it mean to you when you say ‘God you are more than enough’.

As I say them I release the things on my heart back to God. Knowing that he knows my heart and what I need. Psalm 347.4 says ‘God gives you the desires of your heart.’ He will always supply what we need and give us more than enough!

I pray that as you watch this video, you will have a sense of the joy and celebration that God sings over your life. May you realise that God is all you need right now to sustain you. That he will carry you through this season, enlarging your territory and strengthening your foundation.

Be blessed!

You can hear the Passion in a Suitcase talk I mentioned at the beginning by heading here to purchase your copy.

What is the cornerstone of your faith? Is a really good blog post that encourages you to root yourself in some key scripture. This will enable us to see God sustaining us through seasons that are hard.

God sustains us through movement - being the light in the darkness.

Jesus for Kids – 4 things important to teaching kids worship dance

Kids love to tell their own story don’t they? There’s elaborations, rabbit holes and excitement, because what they draw from stories and teaching is different to other individuals. I find teaching kids, is often like changing lanes all the time. You don’t know whether that new lane will serve it’s purpose, so you just slip to another lane. Teaching kids worship dance allows scope for you develop your relationship with Jesus as well as theirs. It’s taking a step outside your normal ordered box and throwing things in the air.

Pointing to the nose teaching children dance.

God made each of us unique. That means how we learn, grow and live life is different for each of us. Kids have the innate ability to be one step ahead with their excitement and drive to try something different. For example, last night my children wanted to play in the garden, with their torches, in the dark. I started to set up the music player and speaker, and with awe and wonder they asked whether we were “going to dance in the garden… IN THE DARK”. To which I naturally said “yes, and I’ll do it with you!”. What followed was a crazy 20 minutes of dancing in the garden, in the dark. They copied me, I copied them, we each did our thing and we had a lot of fun! If you want to check out the dance you can do so here.

I wanted to share that short story first as within it, you can identify the 4 ways I mention that are important about teaching kids worship dance.

Share the Fun

Kids LOVE fun, they jump at the chance at something that will make them giggle and smile. Teaching kids worship dance requires you (I really do mean requires you) to be that teacher that sparks fun into the session. That doesn’t mean it’s always about laughing! It does mean you give the kids the time to build friendships and relationships. Making then feel safe in the space you’re in and providing chances for them to see the fun, in the faith that you share.

Dancing with children during a kids worship dance.

Be Engaging

As a dance teacher I am super picky about how I see others deliver and share things which are active. Perhaps, that’s because I am passionate, that if you choose to teach children, you do it because you want them to be engaged in the session. Or, whether it’s because I wouldn’t be teaching and sharing today if it hadn’t been for the dedication of various teachers. These teachers were passionate about engaging me in the content they were delivering. It could however be both these things. Children become influenced not just by what the see, but what they think, feel and do. They all play a part when you take them on a journey.

Engaging children in christian dance balancing on one leg

Delivering a kids worship dance session which is engaging is totally about stepping out of your comfort box. Although they like big and loud, and you might think that’s what engaging means. The reality is, your task is to grab their attention and hold it! These are some key ways I try to engage throughout a sessions with kids –

  • Short, small exercises that change between active and reflective.
  • You create, they create. Recap. Repeat
  • Read scripture or quotes, ask them to also read if they can
  • Share something, ask a question about what you shared. Say it back to them.

This is how I engage. Remember YOU ARE YOU, what ways could you engage with kids?

Being a model in kids worship dance

This is more than being a role model. It’s stepping out and dancing with the kids the whole time and going all out when you do! That might seem overkill, but after 15 years of teaching, the classes I went all out and partook fully, you saw the biggest results. Why?

Kids saw what the movement was meant to be. They saw passion in what God was speaking, and then connected to Gods word as they saw it come alive before them. Kids worship dance, is all about do, do, do. Model your passion for Jesus. Model your energy in the movement. Model your excitement when others join in with it. Take on the children’s uninhibited attitude to just do it!

Sticking tissue paper onto glass jars during craft time at a kids worship dance session.

Be Creative

Creativity weaves through all of the above suggestions, it allows a way to connect Gods word, movement, passion, and kids hearts. I draw upon more than dance in my kids worship dance sessions. I bring in drawing, material, games, speaking, crafting and more. That’s because I feel they offer a way to deepen the theme or scripture that’s being explored that session. Don’t limit yourselves to purely dance. To keep that fun, the engagement and modelling throughout the session, challenge yourself how you could share God’s word deeper with the kids.

Making Noahs boats out lollipop sticks.

Remember God’s got you. So you got this!

If you’d like to read ways you can flags and ribbons with children read this blog post – 5 top tips for teaching children flags and ribbons. Interested in knowing more about teaching children specifically, read this blog post Teaching Children dance and movement round up. It provides some highlights from our training of how you can get started yourself.

Closer to God – My journey of advent prayer dance

If you follow me on social media you will have seen me posting daily throughout advent, an advent prayer dance. As advent comes to an end I wanted to share my journey of where it’s taken me over the 24 days. Prayer dance initiates so many people’s conversations with God. I delighted having the opportunity to be intentional, persevere and draw closer to God during this season.

Smiling with intention in advent prayer dance

Intentionality

In a month when I knew life would be very busy, I knew I had to be intentional about my prayers and communication with God during this advent season, choosing to a advent prayer dance everyday was very special. Prayer dance is something very close to the heart of UC Grace and has been the soul of 2020 as we have kept people moving for Jesus.

This wasn’t just about being intentional with DANCING a prayer, but being intentional about WHAT I was going to pray about. Whilst God gives us the freedom to move how we wish. If there is no intention behind what we are doing then it can be hard to see Jesus at the centre.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Romans 12.12

My intention was to share some of what God was saying during this season, identifying daily different things I could pray for. Which, through sharing with you would encourage, grow and ignite you during this season.

A goal of mine at the beginning of 2020, was to be intentional about incorporating movement into my daily life. At the beginning of the year I didn’t know what that would look like, and I probably should have been more specific – considering goals are supposed to be specific!

But 2020 has brought a new dimension to my movement, as it’s got closer to the end of the year I was prompted to share this with you. The advent dances offer glimpses into how I have been feeling and things God has laid on my heart.

Persevering to Jesus in advent prayer

Perseverance

This year more than ever perseverance has been important. In family, personal, spiritual and work life. Much of what we knew was turned upside down over night with the pandemic. With the majority of stuff still nowhere near what it once was or will be.

Perseverance during #adventdance for me has been about still choosing to move when I was tired, sad, or fed up. Those times that I made the effort to move through the emotions drew me closer to God. At the end of the day we to make the choice – 

To read about Jesus

Learn about how he lives

Ask him to help us in the tough times

Say thank you when we see him in the big stuff

OR

To live Jesus

Demonstrating to others who He is through how we live

Praying continually regardless of circumstance

Seeking joy and thankfulness on a daily basis

Prayer dance often puts you out of your comfort zone, challenging where God is in certain aspects of your life and your attitude towards others. But, it enables you to persevere through all circumstances, and dance when words are not sufficient to talk to God.

The days when I pushed through with advent prayer and still danced, peace reigned!

Kneeling closer to Jesus in advent

Closeness to God through advent prayer dance

Often people say pictures speak 1000 words. There’s detail, emotion, depth, growth and so much more when you look at pictures. But look at movement and you see someone’s heart on display.

You identify what they are feeling at that very moment and there’s an invitation for you to come and take part in what they are experiencing. As I shared these advent dances I was sharing what my heart was going through that day. There were days which were hard, but worship brings such a delight. Instead of letting the day dictate my feelings, I stepped out and followed through with the choice (intention) I had made to still dance (persevere). Through this I drew into God’s presence and stood by his side as I moved.

Reaching the end of my advent prayer dances, I really wanted to share with people something that God was saying I should do over the Christmas season, and that’s smile! Yes, I have a husband deployed and I always knew that this Christmas would be a different one. 

However, it’s now a different one for everyone in the country (little bit of comfort there). Despite many feeling like ‘Christmas is cancelled’. God says smile :-), I am here. Seek me, find me and draw close to me in the way that fits you.

We are all individual and how we choose to draw close to God during this time will be different. My journey is movement… what’s yours?

I’ll leave you with my #adventdance day 24 SMILE

Music – Smile, Sidewalk Prophets.

If you want to read more about prayer dance and how you can encounter it for yourself, head over to read How can I start to prayer dance?

To check out all dances from #adventdance head over to my Facebook or Instagram page.

Pinterest picture of advent prayer dance pictures.

Dance Ministry – 3 ways to explore worship dance choreography with Philippians 3.14

One thing I love doing in my week now is Prayer Dance Bites. It gives me structure, takes me into Gods word and keeps me moving. Recently we looked at Philippians 3.14 and how this could be a prayer in our life regularly. I want to share with you 3 ways using worship dance choreography that we went deeper into the verse.

“When we’re discouraged, we work against our faith.”

Rick Warren

What I wanted people to grasp during this session was how, God is always there. How we strive to get there, where our focus is and what we expect at the end. Is down to how we choose to press on with our faith.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3.14

Looking at a verse and transposing it into movement can be daunting but here are 3 worship dance choreography tips that can help you.

Start worship dance choreography by creating an action movement

Every verse in the Bible will have some form of descriptive, emotive or factual words in it. Look at the words and pick out those that stand out to you. For this Philippians verse I picked out ‘press on’, ‘prize’ and ‘heavenward’.

Using one of the words consider what that word looks like visually.

What does pressing on look like for you? Do your emotions and habits play a part in how you move forward, break through situations and get closer to God? Think about 3 -4 movements that you could create and connect together to demonstrate ‘pressing on’.

This is really simple way to begin looking at scripture and moving to it. Once you’ve picked your movements, it’s good to go over them several times. They start to sink in, become a habit and a prayer as you search the verse deeper.

Pressing on and forward in movement and worship dance chorgeography.

Think about your eyeline and focus

Philippians 3.14 in the NIV uses the word goal, as what you are pressing on towards. Goal can seem quite a sharp word, alternative words used instead of goal could be invitation or purpose.

Considering other words can help you see the verse from a different perspective and see where the focus is. I would always recommend looking up different versions and seeing what words are used there.

In worship dance choreography to move on from your set of pressing on movements, ponder where your eyes were as you did each of the movements.

We can’t move forward it we’re not looking where we are going, if we don’t acknowledge the pathway that there is in front of us. Add into your movements deliberate choices about your eyeline and what you are focusing on.

Does changing your focus change how your movements feel?

Raised arms and flags, eyes on the Jesus as King.

Imagination in worship dance choreography

A final way to explore worship dance choreography for any verse is using your imagination and seeking Jesus! Choosing to put Jesus within and at the end of your movement prayer. By saying Jesus is within and calling you through your movements, how does that make you feel? Hope? Joy? Excitement? Relief?

If your movement is building up to that how does it change?

With Philippians 3.14, think about these other questions too. What other word could be used instead of prize? If Jesus was at the end of your movements what would you do?

Leaning on each other and encouraging on the journey.

Imagine you in the journey of the verse…

You are pressing through that which gets in your way, breaking down walls. You’re pressing on because you have been invited to receive what God is offering – that is where your focus is. As you receive what God gives you, he is right there with you.

Want to know more about prayer dance bites you can head here. There is also the blog post How can I start to Prayer Dance? Which is a good starting place if you are new moving.

pinterest graphic. eyes on the king during worship dance choreography.

Types of worship – Three things that can impact dance to worship

The interaction of worship is different for each person. Everyone’s understanding of drawing closer to God in worship will be different. Part of this is recognising the types of worship that people connect with are individual to that person. I want to share 3 things that have impacted me using dance to worship.

It’s all in the MOMENT. God gives each of us ‘moments’ in our lives. Moments to be ‘in’ and respond to.

How did it start?

I am often asked how I started to use dance in worship. The simple answer is, as a child I had the freedom to copy someone else and was encouraged to grow and explore with movement. Adults are such role models to children – watching and doing provided a way for me to draw closer to God – my faith grew beneath the surface.

Think about a seed and its roots, often we wait a long time for the seed to sprout. Underneath the surface things must happen first. Roots are crucial to the seed for it be anchored in the soil, they also help to obtain the right nutrients and conditions for the seed to flourish. For many years roots were anchoring within me, ready to give me the nudge when I needed it.

From an early age I realised that people connected with worship in different ways – through singing, playing an instrument, writing poetry, doing art, moving their body and much more. Some people assume that worship is just singing in church, it is so much more. Everyone has the chance to explore types of worship that suit them.

Two worship dancers holding hands exploring types of worship.

What is dance to me?

Dance for me is a way to connect, engage, share and journey with people in their faith, a stepping stone to something deeper. God always amazes me with the way he shows up and ministers to people during workshops and dance days. He cannot be put in a box and you have to be willing to expect the unexpected.

Using dance to engage with one’s faith is about putting an action to a thought, feeling or word. Allowing God to move through you and speak to you through that. It is the language I use to deepen my conversation with God, respond to the Holy Spirit and reveal Jesus to others.

Therefore, for me, dance and faith are one. I feel Jesus, experience him, and get carried on the wind by him.

So how can fusing dance and faith together act as one of the types of worship?

Fusing dance and faith together ignites a passion, brings a purpose to your faith and a freedom to the journey you have with God.

Passion…

Can be such a big word and mean so many things, but when you worship you are choosing to share in something that is powerful and special to you. I have this phrase ‘Passion in a Suitcase’. For quite a while my circumstances meant I had to move around with where I lived and the things that I did. Each time my passion was not lost but put into a suitcase. How I unpacked it when I arrived at my new destination always depended on God.

Our passion can be used in different ways, it is the ignition to what will come after which often provides the act of choosing to bring out something that is within. Dance and movement offer that opportunity and an interaction to explore how dance can bring passion to types of worship.

Purpose

Is choosing to put use dance to communicate with God using the solid foundation that comes from the Bible. Just as our faith needs to be rooted in the Word, so does our movement.

The Armour of God is an amazing symbol of the ‘equipment’ that God gives us to worship and follow him. By choosing to raise our arms whilst singing in praise and worship, kneel in response to the words of a song or bow our heads to pray. We are making movement and putting purpose into our journey.

Dance in worship need not be flamboyant or to a professional standard. Instead it is strong and contagious and part of our everyday actions. Just like worship is part of our day when we praise Him for the glorious skies, thank Him for our safe journeys, cry out to Him in pain. We are all already dancers in our own right. God created us to move (Acts 17) and we all move in our own individual way.

Using the word ‘dancer’ might be too strong for some of you. So instead consider a phrase my husband likes to use ‘I don’t dance, I move well’. For him having the association of being a dancer is too strong. But he will happily say that he moves well and enjoys doing so when he does. Perhaps for you, this is the preferred way of looking at it; moving well and moving with God.

Single lady worshipping with a yellow and blue ribbon.

Freedom…

God gives us freedom to demonstrate our journey how we need to. He also gives us the Holy Spirit, to enable us to grasp a deeper understanding of walking with Jesus. Faith and dance stimulate a different perspective on your relationship with God. Offering a safe way to explore other types of worship.

A simple exercise you can try is to think about ‘passing on the fire inside’. Think about a ball of light that is inside you wanting to grow, a tiny little flame. Flames are not always big to start with, they grow. As you imagine this flame glowing and growing inside you, how does it encourage you to start moving your body in reaction to this?

The Holy Spirit is always inside us, sometimes it is a still small flame, other times a raging fire, but we’ve got to be willing to let the fire grow and move in our lives as God would want it.

Group of dancers using ribbons in worship.

I want to leave you with a testimony from a dance day. It’s from a gentleman who is musical and plays in a worship band, who bravely came on the dance day having done no moving before. He had been feeling for a while that he wanted to move and do something much more in worship…

“It was very moving to dance as I wanted to worship music, meeting with God, moving my body freely for the first time without fear of judgement. Like strolling in long grass beside a river with God. It made me cry as I felt free to use my body to bring glory and praise to God for the first time.’

If you’d like to understand more about how worship dance can impact your life have a read through 1000 Reasons to dance for the King. There also opportunities to engage in our events, head over to our events page.

Don’t forget you can also join the mailing list here ?

Getting closer to Jesus – Hebrews 12. 1-2 Running the race getting close to Jesus

Getting closer to Jesus is always at the forefront of my mind, scripture allows us to do that very thing. During a recent Prayer Dance Bite session we dug deep into Hebrews 12. 1 – 2 getting closer to Jesus by exploring running the race for Jesus, choosing to step out and move through things that might be slowing us down or we need perseverance for. Often we reach those points where there is something in between where we want to go and the only way to get through is to have grit and resilience.

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12.1-2

Pausing in worship dance on knees getting closer to Jesus.
Worship dancer lying face down on the ground getting closer to God.

You are surrounded by witnesses

Day to day we find ourselves surrounded by people who we can witness to, who we can share in some form about our faith. That might be a worship dance, it might be prayer, being open to sharing you’ve been to church, telling someone that you are praying for them. Opportunities are all around us, but it can be hard to step up and step out. Is there one person or situation you won’t/ can’t/ shy away from to share your faith?

Write it down, make a note. God’s desire is for us to share our joy, our joy in choosing him and the fun and laughter that brings, even if there are times when life is tough and you don’t like what’s been put before you, there is always a way of getting closer to Jesus.

Are you ready to run? What do you need to run well?

This question prompted lots of chuckles during the prayer dance bite session, with some ladies explaining how running was not for them. But what did come out of our discussion was that if you are runner, it’s all about the shoes and the place your head is in. To make the running more comfortable a solid shoe with ‘bounce’ will help cushion and protect your knees as you move. In our faith we can lean into Gods word, putting on the armour of God – shoes fitted ready with the gospel of peace – so we can be equipped to move forward (or run!).

In any race there is always a finish a line, or a point which you are striving for. As Christians our eyes are fixed on Jesus to help us run the race, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle with all the bits in between! What do you need perseverance for at the moment? What might you need to push through and see that you are getting closer to Jesus? Write it down.

Worship dancers jumping across the space, or resting and receiving getting closer to God.

Getting closer to Jesus by running your race

As movers and dancers we deepen our faith in a visual way. Here is a visual way I encouraged the Prayer Dance Bite participants to challenge themselves to persevere and move forward with their race.

  • Visually mark points A and B in your mind or on the floor – a space that you need to move from one place to another.
  • The space between the two points is the thing that you want to persevere through
  • Close your eyes
  • How do you get ready to move? How can you cross the space? Begin exploring.
  • Waiting at the other side is Jesus. Cheering you on, His eyes are on you, He has faith in you, and He knows that you can do it. Fix your eyes on that and see how you cross the space.

All aspects of life take perseverance at some point, we will always feel our emotions take over and lead but, but pausing to see that Jesus is cheering you on through whatever it is makes us stronger and push us to keep going, seeking, resulting in us continually getting closer to Jesus.

New people are always welcome in our Prayer Dance Bite sessions. You can find out more about them here.

Jesus for Kids – Priniths excitement at stepping out to teach children Worship Dance.

In 2019 Prinith joined a UC Grace training day that focused on teaching children dance and movement with your faith. It provided tools and tricks to enable an encounter of Jesus for kids using worship dance and movement as the stimulus. I caught up with Prinith to find out the impact that this training day had on her teaching children and engaging them in worship dance and movement.

One Big Rainbow feather fun – UC Grace

Q – Why was it important to develop your skills in teaching children dance and faith?

“I am a Tots Helper at my church, which is great because it means there is no pressure to be in charge, but I am allowed to lead little bits as I wish. I’m also really encouraged to dance at my church. One of my friend’s kids, before she knew my name, knew me as the ‘dancey lady’. Therefore, you have an impact by modelling it and I wanted to be able to equip our kids because dance is a natural way for them to engage in worship.”

“I’ve done Movement in Worship’s training the trainers course and within the Springs Dance Company apprenticeship there was a teaching module. But to adapt that for children, was interesting and what I really wanted to learn through attending the Jesus for Kids – teaching dance and movement training day.”

Q – What did you learn through attending the Jesus for Kids – Teaching Dance and Movement training day?

“Just how to create activities so they would learn through having fun. But also thinking about things, like how can a warm up lead me to the end point. The big thing that I learnt was the idea of exploration, like ‘here you go, let’s do this, let’s go through this’, whichever age you do it with, it will work for. They explore. But then you get to the end goal, having done all this exploration. That’s the key learning that I’ve taken from UC Grace – let’s explore this, let’s play and then we’ll get to the end point eventually.”

“I found it really useful on the training day, that we actually put into practice what we were learning and started using it straight away. For example we had a theme and we worked in pairs, came up with an idea and then delivered it.”            

Family Advent Fun – be a role model. UC Grace
One Big Rainbow exploration time (under 5s)

Q – How have you put into practise what you have learnt since then?

“I remember talking to my CDFB regional coordinator and she really encouraged me to put it into practise as soon as possible, which was a really helpful tip. If you do Anna’s workshop, you need to put it into practise as soon as possible, to cement what you’ve learnt and keep it fresh.”

“I led our tots session on the parable of the lost coin, it was great fun because we ‘sparkled and shone’, we ‘whistled while we worked’, and we hunted for it to James Bond music, which the adults loved music wise but went over the heads of the tots! What was also really good was, we have a little boy with Downs Syndrome, who decided that the craft activity (which was rubbing coins), was not for him. Instead he played ‘lets hide the coin, lets find the coin’ under the sofa. Which just proved that teaching children through movement taught them the story. He knew that we were looking for the lost coin.”

Q – What impact has it had on the children in your church?

“My church is a multi-site church, so there are children that don’t go to the same site as me, but they still seek me out to dance when we have our meeting together. There was one little boy last autumn that sought me out, and wanted to dance in the worship with me, because he’s known me and he’s seen me teach them, he’s seen me model it. He’d watched too much strictly, there were all kinds of moves, including slides across the floor! Then more recently, there was girl that was watching me dance. I had taught her movement at the church weekend away,but didn’t think she’d taken anything in, but she came and followed all my dance moves perfectly and danced with me, it was amazing, I have a huge soft spot for that little girl now!”

Drama, Dance and Craft. UC Grace

Q – What is one golden nugget that you go back to every time?

“Exploration!”

“Teaching children is probably the most exciting workshop I have ever done, and I’d encourage anyone who wants to grow in their teaching skills to seek training from UC Grace.”

Prinith de Alwis Jayasinghe leads the Movement in Worship Birmingham Base and goes to Churchcentral West in Birmingham.

Moving Rainbows session with youth helper

How can I find out more about Jesus for kids – Teaching dance and movement?

There are several options to learn more about sharing your faith using dance and movement with children. We regular run in person training days – full details available here on the website.

By the end of the 2020 there will also be the chance to do an online course. Additionally a comprehensive written manual is due for release in 2021. If you wish to be the first to hear when our online course launches, the written manual is available, as well as other events in our Jesus for Kids training then head here to let me know your details.

Creative activities painting
Creative Prayer and craft activity time at Little Rainbows – under 5s.

Worship Dance – 5 Scriptures that Inspire Movement

God’s word is an amazing book to dive in to, each chapter and each verse will bring up different things for different people. I love the fact that what will jump out to me will be different for you. As I sat to write this, I realised how hard it is to just select 5 scriptures! The biggest passion of UC Grace is bringing God’s word alive using dance and movement, so the whole Bible inspires movement for me, inspires me to worship dance. However, just like you have favourite words or sayings, there will always be scriptures that stand out more than others. The 5 that I share here, don’t even skim the surface, but they do encourage me to dance, move and pray.

Joshua 1.9

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

In Joshua we learn about how God knows every place we set our feet (verse three). He knows when we need courage and when we need to know that He will be with us where ever we are. This can bring strength and depth to our worship dance movement.

Psalm 139.1-6

You have searched me, Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

This whole Psalm is packed with the promises of how God made us, how individual we are and the care that God has for us as we do our journey. It serves as reminder when we might be struggling with self-image, acceptance and knowing our individuality.

Isaiah 40.29-31

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young me stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

How often in life are we exhausted and feel like there is no strength left to keep moving? Exploring that feeling of weariness and loss, followed by strength with our bodies, allows us to physically recognise the impact of emotions and knowledge that will support us through it all. Worship dance brings out so many emotions it is important to pause.

Jeremiah 29.12-13

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me with all your heart.

God hears all the prayers we say, whether we whisper them or shout them. Choosing to reveal our heart to him will instil hope, create calm and cause us to pause.

Matthew 6.9-13

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation but delivery us from the evil one.

The Lords Prayer. Simple and effective. A prayer that encourages us to be drawn into Gods word, to pray for others and lead by example. One of my favourite and effective ways to introduce people to moving to Gods word.

If you would like to learn more about moving and dancing to scripture, why not join us on one of our prayer dance bite sessions, that will give you a taster. More information available here Prayer Dance Bites.

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

Worship Flags – 3 Steps to Guide You

Worship flags resound with people in different ways, everyone will have different preferences, whether you are a seasoned worship dancer with flags, or someone new exploring and curious to see what it’s all about.

During this blog I want to share just 3 steps that can help guide you when using worship flags. If you want to find out more detail about why flags, dance and worship go together and what the Bible says about it, check out Flags and Banners – What does the Bible say, for more info.

UC Grace Summer Tour - St Neots. Nakai flagging

Make and Model

There are many different styles of worship flags and you can get very technical with it. But let’s look at it simply.

MAKE

The shape and weight of fabric will create a different ebb and flow when you dance with it. The type of stick that you use also affects this.

For example, I teach with rod dowelling sticks, and rectangular size metallic lame of varying sizes. I use this style as it’s the easiest to teach beginners with and offers a ‘safe’ start which every participant can connect with. It also enables further skills to develop and be practiced as your knowledge of dance and movement in worship grows.

However, wing (or rounded edge flags) which tend to semi circular in size and often fitted with some form of flexi rod poles, are lighter in weight, but need more co-ordination and skill to master movement in continuous flow due to their size and shape.

The type of fabrics used for flags varies, but is often one of the following – metallic lame, silk or organza. Each fabric has a different weight and therefore the effect created with movement alters.

Sue with Fan Veils at Going Deeper 2019

MODEL

Model refers to the “look”. Different colours can create different meanings. When you choose to step up and dance with worship flags you will be drawn to a colour, colour combination or picture.

There are generalised meanings attached to colours (see below). But remember, God speaks to us all individually and therefore the reason you are drawn to a specific colour might be different to someone else.

Worship flags are spectacular is size, shape and colour. What would be your ‘ideal’ size and shape?

Holy Spirit fire Flag

Move with your WHOLE body

Your body is your vessel, you know its limitations and the movements it loves to do the most. When a worship flag is picked up generally one of two things happen.

The first being you stand still on the spot and wave, creating patterns in front of you and above you with your arms and the flags, perhaps with a little ‘bop’.

The second being, you ‘move’ across the space as you would normally without the flag.

Neither option is wrong, thats the beauty of how we come before God. Individually made, created for a purpose, letting God lead our hearts.

Dancing Free 2020 - flag workshop

For you created my in most being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139.13

But my encouragement to you would be to move with your WHOLE body. Look at your worship flag as an extension of your arm. This is a hard concept to grasp initially as it can seem very awkward to do.

When I first teach newbies to flag the main thing that I want them to recognise is that their body already knows movement, the flag is an extra layer to share more about God and go deeper into worship. As your body already knows movement, let it lead you. Let it find the rhythm, hear the lyrics and see what others do.

Pause with your worship flag

Pause, to breathe, to acknowledge the reason why you are stepping out with a worship flag, to ask God to lead you with your movements. Pausing is good, whether, before or during movement.

It allows you to ask the Holy Spirit to lead you in your conversation with God, to pray a blessing on others through the movement that you share and to enter into the time of worship with your whole heart and not just a portion of it.

If you would like to explore more ways of using worship flags then reading Adapting Choreography to flags in worship dance, maybe useful for you.

Drone footage from UC Grace Summer Tour 2020: St Neots

If you’ve not joined the UC Grace journey yet, we would love to have you join. There is lots happening even through this time of change we have experienced. Get in touch for more info, or look on the website.

Holding a flag high. An image to use for pinterest.