Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:63)
My previous article focused on answering the first of the following four question inspired by this verse:
- How do we draw near unto Him?
- Where and how do we diligently seek Him?
- What should we ask Him?
- What does it mean to knock and how do we go about it?
It also focused on three ways to “draw near” to God – through prayer, scripture study and application, and service.
This article focuses on answering a slightly modified version of the second question:
Where and how do we diligently seek God so that we may find Him?
It builds on the same principles of prayer, scripture study and application, and service, as well as other ways we can seek and find Him.
To understand what it takes to “diligently seek” God, it is appropriate to ask the question, “What does it mean to do something diligently?” Diligence is defined as “having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties,” (See Google Dictionary).
It is also described as, “constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything,” (See Dictionary.com). To seek God diligently, then, could be defined as “seeking Him in a conscientious way, making a constant, attentive, persistent effort to find Him.”
Where and how, then, can we seek God?
20 Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
21 Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
26 But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
27 Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
He Hears Us
Our loving Heavenly Father can hear our prayers no matter where we are calling from. His hearing ability is all powerful and perfect. He also wants to respond to all of our prayers. However, whether or not He will respond is predicated on our willingness to obey and keep His commandments. He has promised that He will extend His mercy towards “thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments,” (See Deuteronomy 5:10).
Second, we can show our diligence and dedication to seeking Him by coupling our prayer with fasting.
Alma the Younger fasted for an understanding of God’s commandments and Christ’s teachings so that he could teach them to his people (See Alma 5:46). The Lord rewarded Alma’s dedication with knowledge given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
The Sons of Mosiah studied the scriptures and gave themselves to much prayer and fasting and were rewarded with the “spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God,” (See Alma 17:3).
Just as these amazing men found God through their committed efforts to prayer and fasting, you and I can do that same if we are willing to exercise the faith and do the necessary work.
Third, we can seek Him in our thoughts. We are admonished to let “virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly.” We our promised that as we do, our “confidence [will] was strong in the presence of God” As we feast upon Christ’s words, and then apply them in our lives, we both feel and see, with greater clarity, God’s hand in our lives.
How many examples do we have in the scriptures of prophets, pondering the virtuous things of God, having amazing visions open before their eyes?
Lehi was pondering on the things of God and was shown a marvelous vision of God and Christ.
As Nephi pondered his father Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life, he was, as he described it, “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord, yea, into an exceedingly high mountain, which [he] had never before seen, and upon which [he] had never before set [his] foot.” There Nephi was shown not only the Tree of Life, but also Mary, the birth and death of Christ, and many other events that would take place hundreds, and even thousands of years later.
In modern times, Joseph F. Smith was pondering the words of scripture found in Peter’s first epistle, which described the Lord’s preaching the gospel to the dead when he was shown the marvelous vision of the dead now recorded in D&C 138.
Of course, these kinds of experiences are not common place. However, we can all have daily occurrences, flashes of inspiration and guidance, if we will live for and look for them.
For example, in D&C 84:85, the Lord teaches that if we will “treasure up in [our] minds continually the words of life, (meaning God’s word), it shall be given [us] in that very hour that portion that shall be meted to every man.” Accordingly, in my own life I’ve spent a great deal of time treasuring up God’s word through study and prayer.
I’ve also continually striven to apply it in my life. As a result, I’ve lost count of the number of times when my preparation met the opportunity to share God’s word and the Holy Ghost guided me in what to say. In this way I’ve found God again and again, through His Spirit, and He willingly kept His promise. As a direct consequence, not only has my own life been blessed, but I’ve also been an instrument in God’s hands to bless others.
Fourth, as with drawing near to God, we can seek Him through service to others. The Lord taught, that “inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Every time, without fail, that we serve others, we are serving God and Christ.
We are finding them by blessing the lives of their children, our brothers and sisters. Interestingly, as we find the Lord through our service to others, we also find ourselves! When we forget ourselves and go to work for the Lord, the bread we cast upon the water not only comes back to us, but it comes back toasted and buttered!
I could go on, but what I’ve written is sufficient.
May God bless us with a burning desire to conscientiously seek Him and find Him. May we desire to yield our hearts and lives to Him. May we, as we turn our thoughts to God, as we fast and pray, as we serve, receive the blessing the faithful Nephites received as described in Helaman 3:35:
Nevertheless, they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
Randall McNeely is a husband, father of five, and author. He is also a singer/songwriter and has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs, and multiple religious hymns. The best known is 'Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind', which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest. He and two of his daughters have also recorded and released the children’s song Everybody Speaks Smile! Randy has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ. He is the light and the life of the world. It is said and written of Him that "He went about doing good." In doing so, He weaved light into the hearts and souls of all with whom He came in contact, both in word and deed. Randy's desire is to have the same said of him. He wants to have the words and lyrics he writes uplift, inspire, and bless others. To read more articles by Randy visit his Pure Testimony website at www.puretestimony.org.