Preparation: get an assistant to either flash a light or make a small noise to distract you as you begin. Tell them to start out subtle before becoming more obvious to everyone.
Gather the children to you. Welcome them and start to tell them about the gospel story today. Prompt your assistance to start the light or noise distraction. As you start talking, fade off,lose your place, etc as you are distracted by the noise or light.
Say, “Wow I really want to focus on this Bible story but it’s hard, I keep getting distracted. Anyone else distracted?” Have the kids point out to you the distraction and then invite your assistant to join you. “This is like our bible story today. Jesus’s visiting sisters Mary and Martha. Martha is making dinner and trying to get this ready to be welcoming to her guest. Well she gets distracted by her sister Mary of helping her and she gets upset and tells Jesus to help her get Mary to come help. Jesus knows Martha is distracted by her worry and frustration and tells her that Mary is focusing in on Gods word and has also chosen a good thing. Jesus wants Martha to remember what the main focus is of being welcoming and that is to show care for others in Gods name.”
“Do you ever get distracted? What kinds of things distract you?” (Take answers, be prepared to prompt… Could mention the movie “Up” where the dog is always distracted by the squirrel or electronics, etc.). “Many things that are good and things that are not so good can distract us from remembering we are to focus on Jesus words and live our life based on his words and promises, even our thoughts and feelings can get in the way. I think I need that reminder to focus on Jesus and that many of us do. What are ways we can do this?” (Take answers, mention prayer and worship and reading scripture. If you use the inserts or other daily devotional in your congregation this is a great time to show it and teach again how to use it.)
Centering Prayer option: “All of these are good ways. And sometimes it good for us to take a little God time out. It can even be really short. It’s a time when we can just let our mind be open to listen for God. To do this we have to get pretty quiet, do you know how to be quiet? Let’s try. Good. Now I am going to set this time for just 30 seconds and we are going to try together to do a centering prayer. This means all we are going to breath in and think the word “Jesus” and breath out and think the words “Loves Me”. If other thoughts come just take a breath and remember your words. Let’s try together once and then we will set the timer.” Practice this together and see how it goes!
Set up a centering prayer/meditation area. Put out some pillows to sit on or chairs that are set a part from the worship space. Or simply provide the resources in the pews. Provide card with different kinds of centering prayer. You can write some simple ones like the example of “Jesus loves me” or “Come Holy Spirit” and/or print up some other resources from here: Contemplative Outreach