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5 Spiritual Disciplines for the Highly Distracted Soul

By Ryan McRae

Some of the students in your youth group have a hard time sitting still. When you are going to study the Bible, you can hear their sigh of frustration. They jitter and they try, ever so hard, to concentrate, to be present, but their restlessness takes over.

Your students might fall under the category of ADHD or they might just be continually distracted, battling to focus. They want to study, to practice spiritual disciplines; we are just not great at offering the best options. Here are just five ways to get students moving and help them be contemplative and active in their faith at the same time.

Two Ways to Draw

Supplies: Watercolors, paper, pencil.

Read a portion of scripture and you will draw it out literally on one piece of paper using
the pencil; by making it a storyboard, someone can look over your shoulder and know
what is happening. (Feel free to use stick figures if you lack the skill.) When you are
finished, take your watercolors, and paint it abstractly. What emotions does this portion of scripture mean? There isn’t a right or wrong to this; express what this piece of scripture does for soul on paper.

Carrying Stones

Supplies: ten stones, headphones, MP3 player.

Listen to a recorded piece of scripture, a psalm is recommended. (And if you can record it
yourself and listen back to it, even better.) While you are listening to the piece of scripture, offer prayers around this piece of scripture, and when you do, get rid of one of the rocks. If it is a praise to God, set the rock down. If it’s a burden you want to get rid of, drop the rock. If it’s a prayer for someone else, throw the rock.

Just 10.

Supplies: ten dollars in your wallet.

This week, you are going to have ten dollars to spend on yourself. That’s it. You can’t
borrow money, but you can freely accept what people give you. (But you can’t advertise
this.) Take the time this week to journal about how much you have and what an abundance
is available. Think about what you are grateful for and how you can start giving back more.

Approaching the Darkness

Supplies: a late evening

Call your local police department (non-emergency!) and inquire about doing a ride-along
with a police officer. (Your youth pastor may need to accompany you.) See what is going
on where you live and learn how we can pray for our officers and the people they

Fasting from Your (Social Media) Self

Supplies: nothing.

Sometimes we let social media define who we are instead of who God says we are. And
our souls just need a break from social media, from the constant bombardment of
information. On a Saturday or Sunday, hand your cellphone over to your parents (and any
other device attached to social media.) For one day, just detach from all of it. Read a book. Go for a walk. Reflect on who you are when no one is watching.

Want this as a sweet PDF? Grab it here. Ryan McRae is the creator of the ADHD NERD, a
blog dedicated to helping the terminally distracted be more focused, productive and
successful. He wrote a little manual about the Four Best Apps for Getting Your Focus Back.
You can grab that here.

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