Have you heard the story of the First Vision? How did it affect you?
It’s amazing the power that the story of the First Vision can have. When you first hear it, your heart either rejoices or your mind clouds over and can’t see the possibility of its truth.
For me, I didn’t recognize its power until I shared the story for the first time with a friend who was not a member. I remember the doubting look on her face while she tolerated my story; but what I remember more is how the words made my entire body burn with peace and happiness. My mind and soul seemed to wake up in awe of the wonder of such an experience. My friend never joined the church, but I was certainly converted that day.
I think that experience also speaks of the power of our words. We can think through many things. We can reach a decision or worry through a problem, but when we open our mouths and say what we are feeling or thinking out loud, there is power in it.
For Joseph Smith, the time he spent in the grove was the first time he had prayed out loud. His prayer had the power to alert Satan and prepare him to see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
When my testimony needs to be strengthened, I need to hear my own voice declaring my beliefs. Giving voice to the things of my heart invites the presence of the Spirit. It lends strength to both the speaker and the listener. True, sometimes it’s scary or uncomfortable to testify of Jesus Christ. Satan doesn’t want that pathway of truth opened up, just as he didn’t want it opened for Joseph Smith.
When I desperately need a blessing, I need to pray to my Heavenly Father out loud as if He were in the same room. When you only open your thoughts and feelings to the Lord in the quiet of your mind, it becomes easier to forget that He is a real, loving Heavenly Father. Likewise, it becomes more difficult to separate His words to us from the tumultuous thoughts of our own minds.
He is our Father and He hears us. May vocalizing your beliefs in testimony bring the Spirit into your own life as it has in mine.