Do your kids love to put on some tunes and just dance? Then change up your family prayer time by dancing your prayer!
David danced before the ark of the Lord “with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14), the Psalms exhort us to praise the Lord with dancing (Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4), and in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the return of the prodigal son is greeted with music and dancing (Luke 15:25).
Although the Church does not allow dance in the public liturgy of Western cultures, dance has a long tradition as a joyful response to God’s love, and the Church recognizes it as a form of popular piety. Children are especially receptive to dancing their prayer. To try it, follow these tips:
Find some danceable Christian music. SpiritandSong.com features plenty of contemporary Catholic music, both liturgical and popular, including free downloads. Seeds Family Worship (seedsfamilyworship.net) offers danceable music with lyrics taken directly from Scripture. You can find more possibilities at pbgrace.com, or search the Internet for “Christian children’s music.”
Set expectations in advance. Tell your kids in advance how long you’ll be dancing for, in terms of minutes or number of songs. Set ground rules as necessary (“No dancing on the table!”).
Save dancing for special occasions. Gaudete Sunday, Laetare Sunday, Easter, or other joyful feasts and observances (such as a child’s baptismal anniversary) might be a good time for a little dancing prayer.
Provide some context. Talk about why it’s an appropriate time for such joyful prayer, briefly explaining the occasion for the celebration.
The prayer of praise
A lovely reflection by Pope Francis on dance as connected to the prayer of praise.