Preparation Day – the Other Forgotten Day

Friday evenings always bring fond memories of Sabbaths at home when I was a kid. We always had our Friday rituals even though they changed from time to time. We would play family games, or go on drives when I was little. Later, I remember we would get all the chores and baths done and groceries bought for the week and then would get a  pizza, and bring it home to enjoy with the family, as the sun went down. In the summer we could get in an episode of “Benson” along with our pizza, before the Sabbath began. Tulsa Adventist Academy, the school I attended, let out early on Fridays so we could go home and prepare for the Sabbath. This was in accordance with the counsel we had been given from the Spirit of Prophecy.

“On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness and that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked and the baths be taken. It is possible to do this. If you make it a rule you can do it. The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight. Parents, explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them share in your preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.

We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their  workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord’s day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.

There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, “confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:16.

Before the Sabbath begins, the mind as well as the body should be withdrawn from worldly business. God has set His Sabbath at the end of the six working days, that men may stop and consider what they have gained during the week in preparation for the pure kingdom which admits no transgressor. We should each Sabbath reckon with our souls to see whether the week that has ended has brought spiritual gain or loss.”  (Ellen White, Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 6, p. 356.)

Later in life I decided that not all of this counsel was practical. Back in the day this was written baths were a lot of work, hauling in water and all. Today you can take a shower just at the turn of the knob, which to me could easily be done on the Sabbath, without causing too much work. Cooking on the Sabbath does not require so much work either I thought.

While that may be a justifiable argument, the fact is, that if we do not make a big deal out of preparing for the Sabbath, then the Sabbath will not be a big deal either. While it may not take as much effort to prepare for the Sabbath nowadays, I think we lose some of the specialness of the day by not preparing more. We rob ourselves of a special blessing when we forget the other forgotten day besides the Sabbath, which is the preparation day.

“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time. Whenever it is possible, employers should give their  workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord’s day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.”  {6 Vol. Testimonies to the Church, P. 356.}

I remember Sabbath evenings before the sun went down Saturday night, my family would have worship as we closed the Sabbath. My mind would wander from the Bible reading to the Tulsa Roughnecks soccer game that we would be going to as soon as the sun went down. Since all secular things had been put away for the day, I was excited to get to the game. Looking back, I think it made both the Sabbath and the game more special. Each had their proper place in my routine. Sure my mind should have been all absorbed in the family worship I was in, while it was still Sabbath, and not the game I would be going to after sundown, but hey, I was just a kid.

Even so, today I log on my computer on Sabbaths to read emails or check my Facebook, and I can’t help but see the game scores on my home page. While I tell myself I can’t help but see, and it is not a sin to just glance at the scores, still, my mind goes back to my childhood when things were more black and white, and I miss those days when Sabbath was a big deal. I am not saying it is not a big deal now, it is. I mean when it was more special because we put more thought and effort into those holy hours. The point of me sharing this is this: While we live in a time where it may be easier to prepare for the Sabbath, and we may argue that maybe some of the old rules do not apply any more – i.e. taking baths before sundown – I think the Sabbath would be more special to us if we would make a big deal out of preparing for it.

The greater the preparation, the greater the blessing. I believe the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are still relevant today. Let’s not just remember the Sabbath day. Let’s also remember the preparation day. If we do, there are some special memories still to come!


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Preparation Day – the Other Forgotten Day — 38 Comments

  1. Your experience sounds similar to mine, almost in every way, except the part about baths being taken. But the buckets of water definitely need to be full on Friday, since we had to carry them from the spring. (In the tropics, baths are taken every day, no exceptions) Thanks for sharing. It definitely brought back memories of Fry-days (we called it), when the fish or chicken was fried, so it could be preserved for Sabbath lunch, since there was limited cooking on that day (only breakfast). As you rightly said, the greater the preparation, the more special the day. As a University student, it became even more special, since the strain of the heavy books and the long study hours was off! Have a happy Sabbath this week.

  2. Thanks William,
    I will take home with me, the copy of your post to be shown to my wife. As she comes from different religious background and the sabbath preparations were very new to her.

    I will take this as a sabbath revival & Reformations.

    God bless.

  3. Happy Sabbath William.
    Your story has brought some nostalgic moments of preparation days at home and college and high school. I wish i could practice the same in my Matrimonial home since i can't do it when my husband can't abide with the same. It feels like war. Only God Himself can help me conquer this war as much as he is also born in an Adventist home. Pray for me. Happy Sabbath again.

  4. I so agree that the more preparations for Sabbath, the greater the Sabbath blessing. In our family we have a certain meal that is our Friday night meal- tacos-which makes Sabbath extra special. My advice to parents with children still at home - do all in your power to make Sabbath extra special with meals and activities. As they leave home they will not forget those special things that were done. Sabbath keeping can be such a blessing if done in the correct spirit.

    • I have been truly blessed by all the comments so far. My parents made it very special by preparing a very special meal before sunset. We looked forward to sabbath all the time. Be blessed saints.

  5. William, thank you so much for your advise and hope to abide by them. May Almighty God richly bless you. HAPPY SABBATH.

  6. February 18, 2012

    Brother William Earnhardt, Happy Sabbath Day to you. I was so happy reading your post about the conscientious Sabbath observance. With regards to this, please, if possible, share to me your email address because I would like to refer something to you in my study of God's word, both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. I am also an SDA and prayed to be prepared, together with all SDAs for His coming. God bless you and your family...

  7. Thank you for reminding me to make my children involve in the Sabbath preparation and preparing a special meal to remind them that Sabbath is a special day.

    The other forgotten day - The day of preparation. Wow!

  8. Memories of my childhood days come back when I read your article about the preparation day which is almost forgotten. Of course I have not forgotten that Friday is the final preparation day for the Sabbath because even now I am doing it but not for my family but for the hospital dietary that I am task to manage. Friday is always the busiest day for me since I have to see that everything, particularly the supplies and staffing for the Sabbath is ready before the sun sets on Friday. I only wish that I could leave the office earlier so that I could welcome the Sabbath together with my family.

  9. Thanks for your thoughts William. In the early part of your 'preparation day' account I had to go back and check to see that it wasn’t written by one of my own siblings such were the similarities. When I was little Friday was very much a preparation day for us too. After coming home from school and completing all our chores one of which included 'combing' the carpet, with an actual fine tooth comb (my father was a tailor and so much thread became embedded in the carpet over a period of a week it was too much for a Hoover, lol). With so many siblings we all had to have our baths before Sabbath as well. In fact often time a lot of our preparation was done on Thursdays; especially in the winter as Sabbaths arrived so early on the Friday. I think it’s really important for parents to make a big effort not only to prepare for Sabbath but also to make it ‘special’. I remember in particular coming home from school on a Friday and mum would have I nice pot of soup with dumplings or maybe some hominy corn porridge. A little later we would all settle down for family worship. Now as a kid I never always enjoyed the seemingly endless rounds of hymns, or the fact that we had to go through all the Sabbath schools lessons starting with the Adult and working down, but we all came alive for the bible quizzes at the end.
    But Sabbath at home as a kid was a very long time ago and now married I struggle to establish that pattern or discipline of preparation in my own home, and the harmony of my home I believe has been negatively affected as a result. With modern appliances like rice cookers or bread makers where all you have to do is pour in the dry ingredients, press a button and the next day, Sabbath morning, you have a nice fresh loaf of bread, makes it seem like preparation is not necessary. I remember saying this to my mum and she reminded me that it’s not so much about how long these take to do, but more about the fact that you sought to honour God by making the activities of Sabbath different from the other days in the week. God gave the children of Israel a practical demonstration of how they should prepare for the Sabbath when they were instructed to collect manna in the wilderness. They could collect it every day of the week, a double portion on Friday, but none on Sabbath. That for me is a simple but powerful way God chose to illustrate how the Sabbath should be different.
    I have not yet managed to get back to the routine of Sabbath preparation I experienced when a child but I am striving towards it. A really big factor in preparation which hasn’t really been focussed on yet is mental preparation. The idea of a period of time when we suddenly down tools and ‘do no work’ is an easy concept to understand and embrace but it’s the other part of ‘not doing thine own pleasure’ that can mess us up. I went through a period of time when I cut out secular media, TV, movies etc, and replaced those influences with spiritual ones throughout the week; reading my bible, sprit of prophesy and the like. A strange thing started to happen. When Sabbath came it wasn’t such a shock to my system, because in a way I’d been walking closer with God all week, so the idea of putting aside my weekly concerns wasn’t so difficult. I was no longer fighting the images or scenes from the movies or sitcoms that would play just behind my eyelids whenever I closed my eyes to pray and I was no longer impatient to run out of Sabbath at the other end and would choose rather to linger a little. For me the Sabbath then became a celebratory crowning to a week long experience of walking with God rather than an inconvenient artificial obligation that was simply putting a big gap between me and the more exciting entertainment I was itching to get back too.

  10. The essence of Sabbath Preparation should be taken from the story about Jesus, Martha, and Mary. The main thing is that nothing should steal away your time and concentration as you fellowship with the Lord.

    While Jesus was fellowshipping with the others, Mary took the time to get involve by forsaking the other household duties (at the time of fellowship) and listen to Jesus. Martha on the other hand, was still involved in those same duties while Jesus was fellowshipping with the others. Martha asked Jesus for clarification as to what Mary should have been doing at that moment. Jesus confirmed that Mary was doing the right thing and Martha was not.

    Anything (mental or physical) that would distract or steal away the time (5 min, 10 min, etc) from having fellowship with God is breaking the Sabbath. What is fellowshipping with God? It is doing those same activities that God pointed out to Moses as to who God is: acts of mercy, benevolence activities, praises and adorations to God, long suffering, forgiving, etc. Even helping others that are less fortunate which involves physical labor is doing good. All these are godly, but if the acts are self-centered – for pleasure and for gain (money or fame), then they are ungodly.

    True Christians should prepare for the Sabbath both mentally and physically – they are to let no activity steal away their fellowship or concentration with God and His purpose for their lives.

  11. Hi,
    I like this post on preparation day. The only thing I would suggest is the checking of email and Facebook. Unless it is something really important for the Sabbath, it can wait until the Sabbath is over. You can also try separate email accounts for church matters and other matters. Thanks for the article.

    • Visitor
      Your comments are indeed correct. There is nothing urgent or important enough on social media networking that warrants interference into Sabbath. Same is true of the news paper.
      The last few lessons have renewed in me an awareness of how easily and often subtly the world and its worries can impede the rest and refocus our Savior intended us to experience on the Sabbath.

  12. Thanx for the stories that reminds me that years ago Sabbath day was prepared in time from its beginning till the end. Its been my wish to also keep it that and pass the information to my kids as well. Pray for me!

  13. Brothers/Sisters in Christ! I really enjoyed reading the beautiful experience each one of you have had in life observing the greatest day of the week. I wish I could live a little bit of that, but the more I try the more disappointed God is with me as I fall deeper into worldly activities. May the blessings of our almighty God continue to flow all over you as well as your families. Please pray for me.

  14. Thank you William for the reminder that Friday is not just the day before Sabbath, but a day of preparing for a Sabbath in honor of our Creator and Friend, Jesus Christ.
    I too recall the smells and preparatory work on Friday so that Sabbath meals were all but ready to serve when we arrived home from church.
    How I wish my marital home reflected the preparation and honor of Sabbath that my childhood provided, but I am married to a non-Adventist who bristles at any mention of Sabbath being God's day (not the Jews or SDAs).
    It is indeed a challenge to closely guard the edges of the Sabbath but I certainly try.
    Many of the cautions I earlier disregarded about being unequally yoked and the ease with which Sabbath can become a burden instead of a restful blessing, I now understand oh so well.
    May God contiue to bless each of us as we draw closer to His rest on His Sabbath.

  15. Your post was a blessing to me William. Like many others who have commented here, Fridays were very special days of preparation at my home which I believe made the Sabbath day itself a delight as in it we could get up a little later than usual because there was very little to do in the mornings.

    I remember my grandparents ran their household like an enterprise. All their children had their huts on the same compound as them and we worked together in the fields and on the homesteads. We were organized into teams with us the girls working with a particular aunt and the boys with an uncle to carry out the different duties that were necessary for the household to function. It was a rural setting in Zimbabwe and everyday from Sunday to Friday had its fair share of labor.

    But as a kid I always enjoyed the Fridays. We all came back from the fields earlier than other days at around mid-day. those who were on the water fetching beat would make sure that all the drums of water were filled up (There were ox-drawn and donkey-drawn carts for that and for fetching firewood). The yard sweepers would make sure that it was swept clean and all stuff in it's rightful place.Those in charge of the clothing ironed and pressed everybody's clothing and polished the shoes ready for Sabbath. The food preparers went to the fields and brought in the crop in season to be cooked for the Friday meal and the Sabbath food.

    We had no refrigeration and the climate was hot most of the year but our Sabbath food never spoiled. My most favorite time of year was January to April when there were fresh maize, pumpkins, sweet canes, and much more from the fields. Sabbath was the day when we ate really special food, prepared in a special way.

    My memories of sabbath now that I think of it felt like Christmas day came by every week. We always cooked more than we would need and invariably there were always strangers to entertain and share our food with every Sabbath. We wore our best clothes in it and above all, I enjoyed the singing that we did. Friday evenings was time to sing together as a family and from among us as a family, several singing groups emerged which gave special items of music at home on Friday evenings as well as at church.

    Even if we may not have understood everything about the Sabbath as kids, we certainly looked forward to it and today no matter where I am, when the sabbath approaches, a special feeling comes and reminds me that I ought to get ready to rest and meet with my God.

    Thanks for reminding me about preparation day. I still have my kids at home and by God's grace from now onwards, I will make a big deal out of preparation so as to make the Sabbath a memorable delight for my kids.

  16. Wow Nomusa that is amazing about the food never spoiling. We have a wonderful God. Sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful family growing up, and now I am so happy you can share wonderful memories with your kids. God bless!

  17. I found the lobster liberator story quite irritating. The lobster liberators are not a bit extreme, they are absurd to say the least. People are starving to death in many parts of the world and these liberators have the luxury to pollute the world even more by flying a lobster in a helicopter back to the ocean. You can probably feed at least 100 starving humans one day for what it cost to fly that lobster in the helicopter. How about feeding and caring for intelligent beings before flying lobsters in helicopters? Not that we shouldn't care and prevent damage to the environment, but the pollution from flying that helicopter will probably kill more lobsters in the future. here's a great example of how "helping on one side is detrimental on another".

  18. It has been said many years ago that those who prepare for the Sabbath well, are more likely to prepare for Christ coming with one hand holding onto their crown and one hand on the plow. Revelation 3:10-13.

  19. Preparation Day is still important for us to pass on to the next generation. The discipline of learning to prepare before Friday night is a lesson that will help in other areas of our lives as well. It will also help us appreciate our Sabbath rest, which will become a sweeter more welcomed day. I also reflect on the parable of the ten virgins, the 5 who were prepared and the 5 who were not. I rather be like the 5 who took the time in advance to gather the oil for their lamps. Similarly we should be preparing for Christ's return.

  20. Thanks William for the timely reminder. Its true that we all have good memories of how preparation used to be. I remember how, when in the university I longed for Friday so I could keep off all the books and assignments and head to the Friday vespers. I know, and do believe, that its possible through Christ Who strengthens us, to reform in this and definitely our Sabbath rest will be wonderful. May God help us.


  22. "Mommy, Is Today Sabbath?" is a book for children that talks about the preparation day. It's available at Adventist Book Centers as well as online stores like and

  23. Was there a preparation day for the Old Testament yearly and other special Sabbaths, or was that just for the weekly Sabbath?

    • Jim, that is an excellent question! And this is a very good place to ask it. :)

      Although I have not done a thorough study of this particular subject myself, I just recently read the conclusion from someone who had studied the matter: He concluded that the seventh-day Sabbath was unique in that it was preceded by a "preparation day." I'll have to find the source again, but perhaps someone else can help out.

      With the lack of evidence to the contrary, it seems the burden of proof would lie on someone who said that the sabbaths connected with various festivals were also preceded by preparation days. In my personal Bible study I have not run across such evidence.

  24. Very timely post brother William. Practical ways of preparation can be listed such as: Buying gas to avoid buying and selling on His holy day (Neh.13:15-22), Having our Sabbath clothes washed and ready to go, and a host of other things. The main thing is to avoid any normal work or worldly business that we would do on the regular "work" days, the 6 days of the week. Then we have the spiritual aspects such as not speaking our own words(Isaiah 58:13-14), meaning talking predominantly about the Lord and what He has done for us during the week. The ballgame or politics should and must be avoided if we are to receive His blessings as outlined in the above Isaiah quote. Often I have found at our church lunches I must steer the conversation around because they want to talk about all kinds of things under the sun and not the things of the Lord. The way I look at it is that we have 6 full days to do our worldly business and conversations, let us give Him back ONE day that He requests, and do it His way.


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