People call dancing for the Lord a number of different things. Some may say it is praise dance; others may say it is worship dance; some may call it interpretive dance or expression; while others call it prophetic dance. None are wrong or incorrect. Prophetic dance, however, can take on many different looks or have different interpretations. In my book, "Prophetic Dance," I uncover many facets of this marvelous method of ministry. Below, is just one small excerpt.
"See, Hear, Feel"
Habakkuk 3:6 - "He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations and the everlasting mountains were scattered. The perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting."
Ways - Halijkah - walking, or marching in procession; move as in a caravan.
There is power in movement. God looked and startled the nations. Not only were the mountains scattered, but hills even bowed. His ways are everlasting. God's movements are so powerful (when He moves in a procession) that even the mountains respond to His glance. How powerful against the enemy is our movement when the all powerful God is resident within us?! Other references: Ps. 68:24, Proverbs 31:27 (the goings or ways).
Do we not speak with our bodies through the dancer's language of movement? We can tell a story with our bodies even if there is no music at all. As Spirit filled believers, our bodies can speak divinely inspired utterances. We can call those things into existence that be not as though they were.
Even as someone with the gift of prophecy can hear from God about an individual or situation and deliver it through word or song, so can a dancer with the gift of prophecy hear from God and deliver a message through movement. There are several ways through which this can be accomplished. These will be discussed throughout the book.
The following is an excerpt from my Dancing For Him book (referenced from several years ago). However, for clarity's sake, it bears repetition. Probably, the most pure form of prophetic dance is when the minister expresses the heart of God, through dance, by interpreting, (acting out or dancing out) a vision, word, or impression given by the Lord. I have done this many times, but the clearest example that I'd like to share, is when I was called upon (without any preparation or notice) to interpret what the Lord would say through the music that was about to be played prophetically. Talk about being stretched…. The leaders said they had never done this before and I was the one who was called upon to act on faith and present the interpretation. I hesitantly walked up on the huge, empty stage, and said "Lord, help."
The minute the prophetic anointing was released, the Lord was faithful to show me a vision. The whole stage had turned into a furrowed field into which I was to plant seeds. Just like when we receive a prophetic word or vision, from the Lord and He only initially gives a small portion of it, if we are faithful to bring it forth, He is faithful to give us the rest. I acted on faith, and began to dance out the vision and plant the seeds. It was then, that the Lord gave me more. I began to make motions as if I were watering the plants, and motioned for the sun to shine on each one (there were four). Once the indication was made that they had grown enough to be sent out (as if to evangelize) by the wind of the Spirit, they were to later bring in a harvest themselves.
The worship leader then interpreted in song exactly what I had just demonstrated in dance. Then, the musicians and I went back and forth to the point where neither one knew who was interpreting whom. At times, it sounded like the music was following my lead or interpreting the dance, and at other times, I was interpreting the music. It was a beautiful demonstration of symbiotic harmony.
Since that experience, the Lord has stretched me (many times) even further. Another example was when we were in a store front church in Chicago. The young keyboard player did not have professional music training, but could play well enough to carry the worship time. The important thing was that this boy was anointed! The moment he touched the keyboard, the presence of God was powerfully evident. Because this prophetic anointing was so strong, it ignited something inside of me like I had never experienced before. I could actually hear God giving me the dancing instructions that would bring freedom to the people. First He said to play in the river, as if to splash around. When I did, there was such an overcoming joy that it could not be contained. Among other things, He told me to scoop up some of the water and splash the people! When I did, the whole half of the congregation kind of blew backwards, as if they had been drenched. Then He said to splash the other side of the church. They had the same reaction. Finally, He said go on the platform and splash the Pastors. Though it only seemed like a blink of an eye, I did not realize that I had been dancing for several hours! Everyone was blessed and the anointing was so strong, that no one wanted to leave. It is because of these type of experiences that I am so compelled to impart it to others.
Therefore, since I had experienced getting an impression, vision, or word, many times, it was then my turn to stretch others. I began teaching a very small portion of prophetic dance during workshops. I used to think, "let's just save this prophetic dance segment until the last half hour of the workshop and if we don't get to it - oh well!" The good problem was, that since there were such dramatic ministry results, the time slots expanded. People were consistently going through deliverance and experiencing deep inner healing, during those short workshop intervals. Now, I can't wait until that segment and usually allow an hour to an hour and a half to give people an opportunity to fully experience the anointing.
As I began teaching prophetic dance more prolifically, people wanted to know how to see, hear, or feel? Years ago, I used to think, "I'll never be able to prophesy like those seasoned prophets…". However, the Lord encouraged me through wonderful mentors. Being in the environment of a prophetic anointing helped, too. So I asked the Lord to help me and I began to practice.
I had been getting visions when I prayed anyway, but didn't quite know what they were or what to do with them. By God's design, I was blessed to have the most precious fifteen minutes of private teaching time with a famous prophetess from England, and she enlightened me as to how to "prophesy the vision". She told me how to say what I saw, so others may be blessed, by simply describing what I saw, in fashion that would be clear to the hearer, almost like telling a story, and trust Holy Spirit to fill in the blanks. It seemed so easy when she described it, but I was still VERY cautious, as I really wanted to be sure I was hearing from God. My eyes were then opened.
I was also blessed to be able visit a strong prophetic training church, where I taught various forms of dance for a number of years (during their arts conferences). It was there that I got more intense training by observation, being in the environment, and being under their prophetic mantel. I learned many of the "activation" (stirring up the gift and learn by doing) exercises for prophesy there. Then the Lord showed me how to turn them into movement or dance.
It is not to say that everyone needs this kind of exposure to hear from God, though it has certainly helped. A strong relationship with the Almighty should be sufficient.
The following exercises and directions are what I usually do, during a workshop, to activate worshippers into prophetic dance. I usually begin by giving a brief explanation and preparation. So people are more relaxed, I basically say that prophetic dance is simply expressing the Father's heart. In other words, what does our Heavenly Father want to say to an individual or group in this day and hour? Then we start a series of practice exercises.
MINISTERING TO INDIVIDUALS
Beginning with ministering to individuals, break up into pairs. This is a good one to "break the ice", so to speak.
Each person, in the pair, ask their partner for permission to minister to each other. Once they have agreement, they close their eyes and pray in the spirit. Encourage them that those who don't have their prayer language to simply pray with their understanding.
After a short period they should go silent and LISTEN to hear God's voice, or LOOK to see a vision, or FEEL to sense an impression for that other person.
Once they have obtained something special from the Lord, they should (one at a time) dance out through simple interpretive movement, what they heard, saw, or felt. When one person is finished, and with out talking, the other one then should begin to interpret what they received from the Lord (for their partner).
Once both partners have finished "dancing it out", they then whisper to the other one about what they meant by their interpretation. It is important to whisper, so they do not disturb the others, in the room, who are still receiving ministry.
This same exercise may be done through song, where the partners sing their prophesies (with or without music).
It is amazing to see the immediate ministry results, even in the very first exercise. Though, often, people will have never done anything like this, God is faithful to touch their hearts.
Another exercise for individuals, where EVERYONE gets blessed, is what I call the "Final Blessing". The only reason I coined that term is because it was the last exercise and a positive way to end a complete day of intense, ministry workshop training. With upbeat music in the background and the knowledge that everyone would get a word from the Lord, the excitement built and people always went home blessed.
Start by placing people in single-file lines. The amount of time left for the exercise, should determine how many lines to create. Have all the people facing the front of the room. Then, have the lead person in each line turn around and face their respective lines.
The exercise is for the first person in the line to go up to the lead person (who just turned to face their line) and bless them with a one, two, or three phrase expression of edification, exhortation, or comfort. If it is called a blessing, then people are not so intimidated about giving them a "prophesy".
They are not to lay hands on the person, stay there to pray for the person, talk to the person, stand there and think of something, or say a long prophesy to them. They simply go up to them, say those quick couple words of encouragement and run to the end of the line (Example: prosperity; new levels; breakthrough; healing; expansion; new doors, etc.). While they speak their phrase, they motion with an interpretive movement, again, keeping everything very simple and to the point.
The purpose for not taking time to "think about it" is so that they get used to allowing God to work in them, through bypassing the intellect and working or speaking by faith.
The next person in line, then goes up to the leader and does the same thing. Once that person is finished, they, too go to the end of the line. Each person remaining in the line, also does the same thing.
Once everyone has had a turn, the blessed leader, also goes to the end of the line so they may be a blessing. The next person in the remaining line, then becomes the leader, who becomes blessed.
This whole cyclical process continues until the entire line has received ministry. Once a line is finished, then they stand and clap to the music to indicate to the facilitator that they are through.
Usually, when all the lines are finished. Everyone dances a "follow-the-leader-rumba-type" dance around the room. With a shout of praise, the meeting adjourns.
Sometimes, there are young people (both chronologically and spiritually) in the room, so it is good to comfort them. This all may be VERY new for a lot of people, so to make them feel more relaxed, tell them to bless their partner (if they didn't see, hear, or feel anything from God-which is rare). Giving the other one edification, exhortation, or comfort is all good, even if it is done by faith. This way, everyone feels like they are included.
Remember, that because this is a training environment and totally experimental, make sure no one prophesies babies, geographical moves, or marriage. This should be left up to seasoned prophets.
Also, it is a good idea to set a couple of guidelines like: don't go back to your hotel rooms or the parking lot to experiment with prophesy (unsupervised). This could cause much difficulty for the recipient and the hosting ministry. Imagine if one of your friends pulled you aside in the parking lot and gave you a "parking lot prophesy". If it were way off, it could send that person on a grueling path of confusion or despair. Not to mention the fact that the person who received this "bad advice" could tell others, "oh, I received this prophesy during such and such meeting at thus and so's ministry or dance team practice time". Ouch!
Also, aside from pure experimentation, in a supervised setting, if you happen to receive a prophetic word that has been tape recorded, be sure to write it out and bring it to your Pastor or overseer. This is so they may pray about it and give you wise counsel.
Whether you see visions, feel God through impressions, or actually hear His voice, they are all wonderful ways to minister the heart of God to individuals. One of the responsibilities of a worship leader is to express the heart of man to the heart of God as well as express the heart of God to the heart of man, through music. Likewise, a prophetic dancer's impetus is to not only express the heart of man to God, through worship, but also to express the heart of God to the heart of man, through their creative language of movement, thereby becoming a live instrument of worship and ministry.