General Conference is once more just around the corner. And once more, I can hardly wait. The spiritual power available at Conference has been increasing over the years. If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait to access that increasing spiritual power in your life.
Of course, we can receive that strength and guidance more readily when we prepare ourselves to receive it. Like many other applications of the gospel, preparation can be very individualized. How I prepare for Conference may be quite different from how you prepare.
That said, some principles remain constant across applications. Three effective guides can help all of us to prepare ourselves more effectively for the spiritual feast that is General Conference. When we seek to follow the Spirit, our leaders, and our own experience, we can position ourselves to receive added spiritual strength during General Conference.
Let the Spirit guide
The first and most important guide for us in any endeavor is the Spirit. So it makes sense that we should seek the promptings of the Holy Ghost as we prepare ourselves to receive spiritual direction during Conference.
Recently I’ve directed my scripture study towards fasting. I remember reading an intriguing book on fasting some years ago, and I want to confirm for myself the conclusions of that author who is a friend of another faith.
My study is still ongoing, but I’ve made some interesting discoveries. One that pertains directly to preparing for Conference appears in Jeremiah 36. The prophet Jeremiah sent Baruch to read his words to the people in the Lord’s house on a day in which a fast had been established.
It occurred to me while reading these verses that fasting could help me prepare for Conference. We know from scriptures like Alma 17:3 that fasting invites the Spirit. And the Spirit can guide us in any endeavor, regardless of the path we travel.
I’ve determined to follow the promptings I’ve received from the Spirit and include fasting in my Conference experience this weekend. I invite you to follow whatever promptings you have from the Spirit as you determine how you will prepare.
Let your leaders guide
In addition to the Spirit, our leaders provide counsel regarding how to prepare for Conference. The Church website has some excellent suggestions made by our leaders in this regard.
One such suggestion is to come prepared with questions you want answered. Start by writing down your questions. This shows the Lord that you want to know your answers enough to make sure you don’t forget them. Then during Conference, listen for the answers to your questions. A related idea is to keep a general conference notebook in which you record the questions and answers you have every six months. Perusing this record of past experiences with revelation can offer great benefit.
I really love that the Church provides something for everyone. For example, links to past Conference addresses about Conference appear on the page. I found this 2011 Ensign article about Conference given by then President Uchtdorf very helpful. There’s also a separate page devoted to activities for children and ideas for helping them learn something during Conference. And there are resources for learning about the leaders who will address us during Conference.
Let experience guide
Ultimately, whatever experiences we have will tell the final tale regarding what works and what doesn’t work for each of us. We should not expect to have the perfect approach to Conference all at once. Rather we should expect to refine our own individual approach through many iterations.
That iterative process describes very well my own journey as I develop my own approach to Conference. I remember years ago when I decided to experiment with taking notes during Conference. The result was an overwhelming experience as I confronted a list of improvements that I needed to make in myself spanning six pages. I vowed never to do that again.
But I learned from my failure. Six months later, I refined my approach to look just for the one or two items that most need my attention during the next six months. My experience was greatly improved over what I had previously. That aspect still comprises a key part of my approach to Conference today.
However we determine to prepare for General Conference, we can position ourselves to receive the answers and strength we need when we make the changes we need to make in our individual approach. We can follow the Spirit, our leaders, and our experience in determining what will work best for us. In so doing, we’ll find ourselves best prepared for Conference. And that will bring more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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