I have never taken dance lessons which I nimbly demonstrate by my obvious lack of style; but I do practice dance steps. I don’t practice ‘old man dancing’ as that seems, sadly, to come quite naturally but at barn dances where I can ‘strip the willow’ or ‘do-se-do’ like the best of them. I can do this because at barn dances the caller helps you learn how to promenade, how to right hand star and lots of other steps so that you may enjoy rather than endure your evening.
At barn dances I know for sure is mastering one step is not enough. If a barn dance was three hours of only doing a right hand star, it would be amazingly tedious even if at the end we were all experts at right hand stars. This is why I’ve spoken so much about ‘The 7 dance steps of prayer’ because to pray in this quiet style means that we use all 7 steps.
Quiet prayer isn’t about ‘mastering’ (which is totally the wrong sort of word) a technique (an even worse sort of word) but of learning to keep in step. To be quiet is to be willing to listen to Jesus is to be willing to follow him and to walk in his footsteps. This is why we are to dare to experiment in quiet prayer as he speaks to us in different ways depending on which step we take.
It is ok to choose to focus on one of the 7 steps for a while so that you become more attuned to its particular dynamics and the questions it raises in your heart or the worries that trouble you deep within. Or you may choose to have a weekly pattern you repeat again and again week in, week out that your praying, your listening, your loving, your worshipping may gain a depth God yearns for you.
Whatever you do, the 7 dance steps of prayer is an invitation to us to follow. They invite us to discover places in knowing and loving God we’d never imagined before. They invite us to take the dance floor with God, for him to lead, for you to follow and to discover what comes next.