Of all the praise dance classes I’ve taught children over the year, this year’s praise dance camp brought me a particular joy. This group engaged with the spiritual content with more depth of understanding than I have experienced before. Their answers reflected that they have been taught to love and worship the Lord at home and that they truly listened and received the lessons God gave me for them.
This week at our house church, a new friend shared with me the story of his falling out with God, with Christianity.
My friend serves in law enforcement. He encounters people in crisis on a daily basis. He often encounters people suffering under mental illness. It was in response to their suffering that my friend had his falling out with God.
You see, when he came into contact with these suffering people, my friend would pray for them, but he said he never saw any hope for them. And so, his faith, which had been integral to his life, became simply something he participates in for the sake of his family, and because it was part of his upbringing and culture. But, for him, it has no bearing on his day-to-day life.
I felt the weight of his story and have been praying for this friend. He entered situations for work where people were suffering greatly and the God he knew seemed irrelevant and powerless to help.
Is Christianity irrelevant and powerful? Is Christ? People want to know. I recently heard these words of an atheist, “If God is all powerful, He cannot be all loving. If He is all loving, He must not be all powerful, because there is too much suffering in the world for there to be a God who is both all powerful and all loving”
In Psalm 62:11 and 12, the Psalmist writes:
One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”
This God is the One who stepped into history and suffered with us. He suffered for us, that the power of sin and death might be broken.
The God of scripture, the Father of Jesus, is both able and willing to intervene. But sometimes He is hidden from people’s view – by the darkness in the world, by our limited faith, even by theologies that do not recognize that His power is available today.
I’ve been praying for this friend this week. This is my prayer for him, adapted from Ephesians 1:18, emphasis mine:
I pray that He would give him a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, that the eyes of his heart may be enlightened so that he may know the hope to which He has called him, the riches of His inheritance, and the very great power for us who believe.
The LORD wants us to knowHis hope, riches, and power. The dictionary defines know as to “be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information” and “have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; be familiar or friendly with.”
People need to observe and encounter the Lord at work in order to know Him. As dancers we can help them both observe and encounter this God. We can be a living picture of His character and nature. Of course, this needs to go beyond the sanctuary and dance floor and out into our lives and theirs, for them to truly know Him. Nonetheless we have the chance to paint a living picture and to usher in the presence of this God as we worship through movement.
I shared a dance this past weekend that reveals the character and deeds of this strong and loving God we know. The words to this song, written by a friend of mine, Douglas C. Eltzroth, speaks about the authority, gentleness, and nearness of this God we know.
I praying it reveals some of who He is that you may know Him better.
Please take a moment to share in the comments if the words of this song spoke to you. Or, share how you have experienced the power and the love of this God yourself.
Veils are a beautiful addition to worship dance. They add beauty, glory, drama and effect to your dance. They help tell a story, and you can use them to communicate emotion when you dance. In this video, you’ll learn techniques for using veils in your worship dances and see several examples of dances using veils in solo dances and also in a group dance.
The teaching from this video comes from the Veils and Dance DVD by Lynn Hayden. There are even more creative ideas for using veils on this DVD as well as an entire choreographed dance for a group of three or four dancers. I took the ideas from this DVD to create an entirely new dance that ministered powerfully to our congregation. You can watch this here and also read about 4 things I learned about preparing a group dance.
The veil used in this dance was made from 1 yard of 42″ wide fabric, cut down the center to form two veils with 21″ width. Then, I simply sewed a hem around the border to prevent the fabric from fraying. Often, at JoAnne’s fabrics, I will look through the remnants for fabric to create new veils. It’s inexpensive and often there are beautiful pieces from which to choose.
I’ve also used these veils as tunics in other worship dances by simply simply sewing a hook and eye on them so they could be attached at the shoulders.
Adding depth and interest to your choreography is simple, but it is not easy. I think each participant at last Saturday’s choreography workshop with Marlita Hill in Pasadena would echo that sentiment.
Going into the workshop, Marlita assured that we would learn how to turn simple movements into creative phrases that fill the space, song, and stage and communicate God’s heart. She also said we would learn how to communicate our choreography to others so that they can easily and effectively follow. We did both of those things.
Marlita walked us through a series of exercises that taught a slice of Laban’s Analysis of Movement in a way that was simpler than anything else I’ve heard before. It made complex choreography teaching accessible. But it was not easy.
We worked hard. Each exercise called us to work harder, dig deeper, and stretch further. The results were very satisfying. Each of us walked away having choreographed a short dance that told a story about who we are.
In addition, one of us had the opportunity to teach her dance to the rest of us. Marlita coached her on how to teach dancers to turn (Who among us hasn’t asked our students to turn, and then stepped back and watched the turns go in varying directions, losing our unity at that point?), travel, and replicate timing in a way that preserved the integrity of the dance and the team unity.
So, thank you to those who prayed for this workshop. We felt your prayers and they were effective. And thank you to each woman who participated, who took risks, dug deeper, and shared their movements with us.
Watch this 3-minute video recap. Just watching this short clip, you’ll get ideas for how to take your own simple movements and add depth, interest, and power.
I love watching dance. I am enamored by its beauty and captivated when God speaks through a dancer who belongs to Him. There are so many dancers whom I admire, whose ministry has blessed me, and whose talent I appreciate. There have been three dancers, though, who, when I saw them dance, I whispered the prayer, “Lord, I want to dance like her.”
There was something about the way they danced that spoke deep in my heart and called to me. Mixed with a talent they had honed was an expressiveness to their movement, an ability to tell a story with their movements that drew me in and made me want to understand and remember the story or the heart of their message. Continue reading “I want to dance like her!”
I was blessed to participate in the When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert at Victory Baptist Church this past Sunday. It was an awesome evening and such an honor to be a part of. Thanks to Valerie Toliver and her team from Highest Praise Dance who organized the evening with excellence, the perfect blend of order that comes from careful planning, and freedom that comes from humbly being open to the Spirit of God. You made space for Him, and He came and blessed all who were there.
I want to share with you four ways where I saw His fingerprints on the event and to share the video of the dance we shared.
Many of us have to learn to say, “No,” to turn down something good in order to focus on what we are truly called to. We need to learn that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. We need to make sure we don’t just say “Yes” to please people or to avoid guilt. We need to make sure we don’t commit to something we aren’t able to follow through on. There is a time to say, “No.”
But there is also a time to say, “Yes,”to give our wholehearted assent and to venture into something new and risky, be it a large risk or a small one. Saying “Yes” is what I want to talk about today, because saying “Yes,” can lead to open doors and can expand us in ways we can’t even anticipate when we let that word slide out of our mouths.Continue reading “Doors Open when we say “Yes””
When and where is it appropriate to minister through prophetic dance?
Every time we are ministering through dance, having prayed over the dance and received inspiration from the Holy Spirit about what to do and how to do it, our dance is prophetic. In addressing the question above today, however, I’ll focus on the aspect of prophetic dance in which we direct our focus to individuals, bringing a word from the Father to them. We make eye contact with these people and deliver a message through movement especially for them. To minister through prophetic dance in this way, we need permission both from the leadership and from the person.
Strongholds are anything that hinders the will of God in our lives. They can be long standing patterns of behavior or thought, even things that seem to be woven into the fabric of our personalities that keep us from doing God’s will or abiding in Him.
There are strongholds in families, strongholds over cities, institutions, and nations. They manifest in relational conflicts, in addiction, in injustice, crime, illness, and more. The outward symptoms are physical and material, but the root of the problem is in the spiritual realm.
The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 that God has given us authority in Christ to pull down these strongholds:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Our greatest weapon in pulling down these strongholds is prayer, and when we pray according to His will, we know He answers. As dancers, we intercede not just with our words, but with our movements.
In this 4 minutes video, I share movements you can use in your prayer and devotion to break down strongholds in your life, in the lives of your loved ones, and in your community.
This teaching comes from the DVD Weapons of Warfare/Movements of Breakthrough. The Weapons of Warfare/Movements of Breakthrough DVD contains four basic sections. In the first section, Pastor Lynn teaches out of the Dance, Dance, Dance! book on the Hebrew words associated with power movements.
In the second section, we learn how doing movements like circling, marching in procession, whirling, and shaking can bring deliverance by pulling down strongholds.
In the third section, Pastor Lynn gives four scriptures that describe the Lord bringing victory and deliverance through praise, and she gives movement ideas for each of these scriptures. She goes on to develop 8 counts of punch-kick movements that you can use in your own workout or to lead a group of dancers.
And, finally, in the fourth section, she demonstrates how to put all this together into a 20-minute time of movements in which a group of dancers can do spiritual warfare while also getting a cardio workout. Each section builds on the previous section, equipping the dancer with movements for intercession.
I love this DVD. One of my primary callings as a dancer is to intercede in my own prayer time and to equip others to intercede through movement. This DVD gives me strong movements for warfare (where my natural bent is towards fluid, gentle movements) and a strong biblical basis for using them.
Whether you purchase this DVD or just incorporate the movements for pulling down strongholds into your devotion (and create more movements of your own), I pray that you are encouraged and equipped by these in your prayer time.
Please share your thoughts in the comments:
Did you find this helpful?
How have you incorporated dance into your time of intercession?
Strength, flexibility and balance are all critical for dancers who want to improve their technique without risking injury. In fact, they are all invaluable to lifelong health. Many people, Christians included, are looking to Yoga to gain these benefits.
Years ago, I took yoga, with the mindset, “I’m here for the physical benefits and not the spirituality.” I put on my Jesus filter when I walked into the studio. The physical benefits I experienced were undeniable. My balance improved. My posture improved. I grew stronger and more flexible. And I felt better physically. Honestly, it helped me prepare for natural child birth more than any class I took at the hospital. I was grateful for that.
But I always had nagging questions in my mind about engaging in yoga, because of its roots in eastern religion. And as a runner and dancer, I found my workout plate too full to take another yoga class, so I never developed a regular practice of yoga.
Several years ago, as I found mentors in worship dance, those I respected the most warned me to stay away from yoga unequivocally. The reasons they described resonated with the unease I had felt in my spirit. So, I decided to listen to their warnings and make a decision to purposely (not just because I didn’t have time) skip yoga, even “Christian yoga” (by the way, this article is not a case against Christian yoga, just an attempt to tell my story). For me, it was a “When in doubt, leave it out.” Continue reading “Strength, Flexibility and Balance without Yoga”