Some people think God doesn't speak to them because they don't receive answers in big ways, like angels, visions, dreams, or a physical burning in the heart.
Those are not the common ways God communicates to His children. The most common way is the still, small voice that comes to us through thoughts and feelings. Here are 20 ways God speaks to us. See if you can think of any more that I didn't include.
Here are 20 reasons WHY personal revelation is so important. Here are 20 things WHAT we can do to receive more personal revelation.
1. A positive feeling.
“It feels right” (D&C 9:7). You feel to do something, feel settled, feel peace, joy, or an urgency to do something. Satan can counterfeit many good feelings, like love with lust or joy with pleasure.
One feeling he cannot counterfeit is peace.
The peace only Christ can give. (See D&C 6:23 and John 14:27). "[You] can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits -- it will whisper peace and joy to their souls" (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Juvenile Instructor 8, 19 July 1873).
2. A negative feeling.
Feeling unsettled, tense, anxiety, troubled, warning, restraining. Feel a change in direction. A pull, draw, leaning, or urging toward or away from something.
"When your heart begins to tell you things that your mind does not, then you are getting the Spirit of the Lord" (Harold B. Lee, New Era, Feb. 1971). Joseph Smith described this saying, "When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas..." (Teachings, 151)
4. A feeling or confirmation that something is true.
It's only by the Spirit testifying to us that we can know God is real, the gospel is true, the scriptures are true. We can't gain a testimony of these things through logic. It's only through the Spirit.
5. A thought, idea, or concept.
“I will tell you in your mind and in your heart” (D&C 8:2).
6. Suddenly remember something.
A commitment you forgot, a scripture, quote, truth, or prompting you learned earlier. I rely on this one A LOT. Like this morning when the Spirit reminded me it was my turn to teach young women just minutes before church started. Sometimes when I feel a prompting, if I can’t do it or write it down at the moment (like when I’m driving) I’ll say a silent prayer, asking Heavenly Father to please remind me of that later when I can do it or write it down.
7. A stupor of thought.
Forgetting the thing you were deciding. “If it be not right...you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong” (D&C 9:9).
8. A call to repent and specific ideas of how to do better.
Voice -- heard or unheard
9. Voice of the Spirit, words not heard.
Once while driving to a group where I would be public speaking, I asked Heavenly Father what He wanted me to teach them. The answer came in words unheard, "Inspire them to action."
10. Audible voice.
My ancestor was on a mission in England and was about to return home on a ship to earn more money. Three times he heard a voice tell him not to get on the ship. He obeyed and later discovered the ship had sunk and everyone on it had died. My mom has shared that story many times, and likens the prompting our grandpa heard to a radio frequency. She believes others could have heard the warning voice too, if they had tuned in. Perhaps others did tune in and were also saved.
Words from scriptures or people
Scripture study is like a personal Liahona giving us personal revelation according to our need, heed, and diligence in following the direction we already have.
12. Prophets or other leaders.
It's a great idea to take a question to General Conference and pray that you'll receive the answer during the talks. Then take notes, not only of what you hear, but more importantly of what the Spirit tells you.
13. Other people.
When I was fasting and praying to know if I should marry Mike, three different people said something that pricked my heart to help me know it was God’s will to marry him.
Dreams, visions, angels
17. Physical warmth in chest.
Bosom shall burn (D&C 9:7-9).
18. Goose bumps or something similar.
19. An instrument like Liahona or Urim and Thumim.
20. Light can be like a light switch, a sunrise, or little packets of light.
David A. Bednar said we can receive personal revelation suddenly like turning on a light switch, or slowly like the sunrise. We can also receive enough light to know it’s there to see through fog, but just enough to take a few steps into the fog. (See “Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation” video below.)
The light and answers usually come to us "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little" (2 Nephi 28:30). Richard G. Scott calls them "packets of light" (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 2011).