I remember clearly my first experience with the sacrament. I had just been invited by the missionaries to attend church for the first time. Unfortunately I didn’t know anything about how the sacrament works or what it symbolizes, so the girls I was sitting with had to explain the whole process while it was happening.
Looking back on this experience has made me realize that it would have been helpful if I had tried to learn a little bit more about the sacrament beforehand on my own, but I was fortunate that the girls I sat with on that first day were more than willing to explain everything to me in the moment. Since then, a lot has changed in my life—including my knowledge of the gospel and the meaning of the sacrament.
There have also been many changes during the past general conferences. When President Russell M. Nelson closed the October 2019 general conference, he revealed some revisions to the questions asked in a temple recommend interview, and as he reiterated question 8, “Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?” (emphasis added).
I was struck by the word prepare.
I’ve realized that the sacrament isn’t something you prepare for just moments before the bread and water are passed. You can prepare for the sacrament throughout the week to help you feel the Spirit strongly and a sense of renewal every Sunday.
Since then, I’ve started preparing to take the sacrament throughout the week by:
Studying my scriptures through Come, Follow Me and thinking of ideas I can share with others and in the next Sunday School meeting.
Packing what I need for church on Saturday night for meetings in the morning (the joys of working the night shift!). I make sure I pack my scriptures and a notebook to take notes during sacrament meeting, and I pray to find answers during church about how I can improve myself throughout the next week.
Listening to spiritual music on Sunday morning before I attend sacrament meeting also helps me feel the Spirit and get in the right mindset.
Reading over the hymns we will sing in sacrament meeting and looking up the scriptures they refer to. This helps me fully realize the message and meaning behind the hymns and helps me ponder these things throughout the meeting.
Lastly, thinking about the reason for the sacrament before it’s passed. I remind myself that I need to always remember the “why” of the sacrament and its importance throughout the week—the Savior.
The purpose for the sacrament is to remember Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us (see Matthew 26:26–28). The sacrament also invites us to renew our baptismal covenant and to deepen our commitment to become more like Him, to remember Him, and to become better disciples. It also allows us to start the next week spiritually refreshed.
I’ve learned so much more about the sacrament since that first day at church. And I now feel so much joy every week as I walk into sacrament meeting, knowing that I am about to remember my Savior’s sacrifice for me and be more diligent in keeping my covenants. Preparing makes a positive difference in the Spirit you feel throughout the meeting. Before the sacrament was in my life, I often felt empty—like something was missing. I never knew that the missing piece of my life was an ordinance that is so simple, but so powerful at the same time. An ordinance that helps me deepen my love for the Savior and appreciate all He does for me.