In youth ministry, it can be a good idea to ask for phones at the beginning of a small group discussion. Turning off phones and stacking them on the table next to the group leader helps focus everyone’s attention. No one is overly concerned that their leg is buzzing with a text message or missed call. Some youth ministers even collect telephones and objects that are distracting in a special box until the group time comes to an end.
This isn’t just a youth ministry idea. It’s a strategy employed by those who practice Sabbath, too:
Make a Sabbath Box–perhaps decorate it or adorn it.
Put in the box those things you do not want to use or distract you during your Sabbath time (whether that is an hour, afternoon, or day). Your phone, your car keys, your pocket change (symbolizing that you won’t buy anything on Sabbath), etc. If it won’t fit in the box, put something symbolic in it’s place. Perhaps you can write on paper the kinds of things you are leaving behind when you enter into a time of sacred rest.
A similar idea is to write on paper everything you have left undone. Write out a word or phrase that signifies a worry or concern.
Light a candle and let those things in the box be where they are–in there and not with you for the restful time ahead.