I was asked to speak this Sunday in sacrament meeting. I knew it was probably coming soon because my husband recently had to speak without me. But, there is always a little bit of that, “Why did I answer the phone?” kind of feeling when you get asked to speak.
I really don’t mind speaking that much, because in recent years, I’ve written down my talk practically word for word, and I find that helps me to ease the nerves. However, the worst part for me is just figuring out what I want to say, and organizing my thoughts. So, when you get asked to speak, where do you start?
My first step is usually to think about the topic for a couple of days (if you are given one). This time, I was asked to speak for 15 minutes on either, the forgiveness aspect of the atonement, or how we can apply the atonement in our lives. So, it is a pretty broad topic and I kind of feel like the sky is the limit. I hate topics that are so broad.
That is where prayer comes in. Obviously, we should always take a moment to pray, and ask to be led by His spirit to know which direction to go. This will help clear our minds, and help us focus on what He really would like us to share. Sometimes, the direction we think we should go isn’t the direction we should go at all!
Next, I usually turn to the scriptures. Researching the topic via the scriptures should always be our first step. There are usually a lot of talks, books, and stories out there on whatever topic we may be given, but starting with the scriptures is another great way to focus on what the Lord would like to teach us and those we are speaking to.
Last, I will turn to supplemental resources to add to what I’ve already learned on the subject. There is great inspiration to be found in quotes from the prophets and apostles. Relying on personal stories is a great way to give our talk a more personal touch.
The most important tool to remember is to rely on the Spirit. If you do that, you will be sure that you are giving the talk that the Lord wants you to.
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