*All quotes from this article come from President Nelson’s April 2018 Conference address, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.” For the full transcript, click here.
In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.
This past General Conference, I listened to our newly sustained prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, exhort each of us “to stretch beyond [our] current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation.”
Like most of us, I have many personal experiences with the Spirit guiding my life. However, I also have had a few experiences when I thought I was heeding the Spirit, but, in retrospect, I think I may have been simply following my own inclinations.
The question for me is HOW? How do I receive personal revelation? How do I know that it is revelation and not just my own desires?
You don’t have to wonder what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust.
Like most of us, I have experienced betrayal—it would be so freeing if I could know who I can safely trust! To no longer be constrained in conversation when I want to freely share the burdens I struggle with. I need to know who I can trust. I need to know where I can turn for strength. Of course, Heavenly Father is always there when I pray and I depend completely upon Him; however, human nurturing is sometimes needed. So, how to prevent another betrayal? Personal revelation.
One of the things the Spirit has repeatedly impressed upon my mind since my new calling as President of the Church is how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will. The privilege of receiving revelation is one of the greatest gifts of God to His children.
God wants to guide me. Again, I hit the wall of myself. How do I get out of the way of personal revelation? How do I receive revelation that is from God and not just my own subconscious trying to satisfy my own selfish wants?
I asked my husband and oldest daughter how the Lord speaks to them. My husband shared that it’s different for different people. For him, he receives revelation while serving others or sometimes during a quiet walk. He’s received thoughts and guidance when he’s turned off the music in his car and just sat quietly. Sometimes he’s received personal revelation through conversations with other people or during a sacrament talk.
Our oldest daughter is an artist and will often sit in her room, listening to classical music while she is creating art. She shared that she often receives personal revelation during these quiet moments of creation. My daughter has sought the Lord’s help in prayer, specifically asking for help in loving others. When she has done this, she has been overcome with feelings of love for the specific person she is praying for. When I pressed her for a specific example, she shared:
“Last year, I fasted about whether or not to take honors versus academic chem. Personally, I wanted to take honors chem. When I fasted and prayed, I didn’t get a feeling really, it was more of a thought that academic was better. I wasn’t really happy about it, but it just felt right … I didn’t want to do it, but Heavenly Father knew what was best.”
I remember this experience! As her mother, I was praying right along with my daughter—this caused her so much stress and anxiety! She has very high goals for herself and taking a regular academic class is not how she defines herself. After she received this revelation, she came to me in tears, she was so unhappy about the answer. I reminded her that if she asked the Lord for guidance, she had a responsibility to act upon His answer. (She was a bit miffed with that response.)
However, after a very challenging junior year in high school, she was extremely grateful she followed this personal revelation. Unexpectedly, one of her best friends was also in the academic class! This class is not one she needs to excel in for her future goals; with the stresses of her many other activities and classes, it was a huge blessing to my daughter that she did not take the honors chem class.
For myself, I have experienced these same personal revelatory experiences, yet I still want more. After all, Nephi received such specific revelation that he built a sea-worthy ship to take his entire family to the promised land. I’m pretty sure at my current level of revelation receiving, my ship would resemble a graham cracker.
The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.
In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
Does God really want to speak to you? Yes!
I want to receive personal revelation. I need to know what the Lord wants me to do as His daughter, as a mother, as a wife, and in every other stewardship I have in life. I am committed to stretching myself beyond my current spiritual ability!
Writing out the list of President’s Nelson’s above counsel, it looks like this:
- Find a quiet place I can regularly go.
- Pray about my concerns, fears, weaknesses, and the very longings of my heart
- Write the thoughts received; record my feelings.
- Follow through with the actions I am prompted to take.
As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
Okay, I’ll take that challenge. This list is not so very daunting that I can’t make space in my life to do these five steps. I’ll begin today and see where the Lord can take me.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.