For A More Meaningful Sacrament: Watch With Him One Hour

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An Hour to Watch with Him

The author lives in Ica, Peru.

Priest kneeling in prayer at the sacrament table

One day I was preparing to give a talk in sacramentmeeting. I was studying the article “The Atonement ofJesus Christ” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the March 2008 Liahona. In his article, Elder Holland relates a dream Elder Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931) had in which he saw the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane. Elder Whitney described the pain and suffering he saw the Savior bear. Then he wrote:

“Presently He arose and walked to where [the] Apostles were kneeling—fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or scolding, asked them if they could not watch with Him one hour. …

“Returning to His place, He prayed again and then went back and found them again sleeping. Again He awoke them, admonished them, and returned and prayed as before. Three times this happened.”1

As I read this, the spirit of revelation entered my mind. In that instant, I realized that the way I could “watch with Him one hour” was in the way I approached sacrament meeting each Sunday. Since then, I have learned that this is an hour in which we can pray to our Heavenly Father in a more meaningful way. Prayer is fundamental at all times, but the Spirit present in that hour of the sacrament is an opportunity to elevate ourselves closer to Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we focus our thoughts on the Lord, it is, in a way, accompanying Him at the moment of the agony He endured when taking upon Himself our sins. It is a time to acknowledge the pain He suffered for us.

Sacrament meeting means everything to me. For me it is the hour of infinite salvation. It has become a sacred time in which I remember and commit in prayer and in spirit to honor my covenants and to follow the perfect example of my Savior. I know that He lives and loves me. I know that it is only through His sacrifice and His precious blood that was spilt that we can all be saved. I know this is true because as I have worked at “watching with Him,” my understanding has been enlightened, my life has been blessed, and my vision of eternal life in His presence has been deepened.

A Reflective, Reverent Moment

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“[The sacrament] should be a powerful, reverent, reflective moment. It should encourage spiritual feelings and impressions. As such it should not be rushed. It is not something to ‘get over’ so that the real purpose of a sacrament meeting can be pursued. This is the real purpose of the meeting. And everything that is said or sung or prayed in those services should be consistent with the grandeur of this sacred ordinance.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “This Do in Remembrance of Me,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 68.

How Can Taking the Sacrament Change My Life?

In the October 2012 general conference, Elder Don R. Clarke of the Seventy taught, “If we properly prepare for the sacrament, we can transform our lives.” He then suggested “five principles that can bless our lives as we partake of the sacrament worthily”:

  1. 1.

    Have a feeling of gratitude for the Atonement ofJesus Christ.

  2. 2.

    Remember that we are renewing baptismal covenants.

  3. 3.

    Seek to feel forgiven of our sins.

  4. 4.

    Seek inspiration for solutions to our problems.

  5. 5.

    Partake of the sacrament worthily so we can be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Elder Clarke promised: “It will always be a great sacrament meeting if the sacrament is the center of our worship.”2

Letter From President Murdoch, President of the Colorado South Mission To All Members

Some time ago a clever person developed a poster that read, Plan Ahead. But the two words were spaced in such a manner that the letter “d” on the word “ahead” did not fit within the border of the sign. The irony of such a poster caused it to become a cultural icon.

image001

 

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner I invite you to take advantage of the goodwill that accompanies these two special holidays and Plan Ahead to be members missionaries.  As you do so I have faith that conversations about the church will come up and you will be able to successfully invite people to meet with the missionaries.

 

President Kimball taught, “I feel the Lord has placed, in a very natural way within our circles of friends and acquaintances, many persons who are ready to enter into his Church. We ask that you prayerfully identify those persons and then ask the Lord’s assistance in helping you introduce them to the gospel.” (Ensign June 1983)

 

Many years ago a book circulated through the church called, A Member Missionary, Hey… I Can Do That.  (Gary Coleman, 1983).  One of the key aspects of the book was the idea that as members of the church we could be good member missionaries without doing any socially uncomfortable things.  The author postulated that could be done by:

 

  1. Letting people know you are a member of the church.  The author suggests that when people ask, “So, what did you do this weekend?” that you tell them you chaperoned a youth dance, or went camping with the Boy Scouts or spoke in church.  These types of responses will let others know you are a member of the church.
  2. Talk about the church in such a manner that others will know you find joy and satisfaction in your church service. Some will be curious about this type of joyful service and want to know more.
  3. Let others know that you are happy to answer questions about the Church.  If you let people know you are willing to discuss such topics (perhaps at another time or place) you will often find yourself having meaningful gospel conversations.

 

Which brings me back to Plan Ahead.  As you interact with non-members have something you can give them.  Most chapels have stands with church produced Pass-A-Long cards or other church literature.  It would be nice if every member had several of these professionally produce cards in their purse or brief case to hand out when the opportunity arises.  And, it is always a good idea to have a Book of Mormon in your home, car and office so it can be presented whenever the occasion permits.

 

It is my testimony that God lives and He loves us unconditionally.  But, blessings from God are conditioned upon keeping commandments. Finding ways to share the gospel with others is one of the key commandments He has placed upon members of His church.  As you Plan Ahead for missionary opportunities the Lord will bless you with the chance to speak with others about the gospel.

 

  1. Blake Murdock, President, Colorado Denver South Mission

 

 

Elder Bruce Kneeland

Full-time volunteer Senior Missionary

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“When ye are in the service of your fellow being ye are in the service of God”