Sunday, May 25, 2014

WHAT -- 20 Things We can Do to Receive Personal Revelation

Receiving personal revelation takes work on our part. Here are 20 things we can do to receive more of it.  

Here is a post about HOW God speaks to us.  
Here is a post about WHY personal revelation is so important. 

Holy habits that invite the Spirit 

1.    Power prayer. 

“Prayer provides a firm foundation for personal revelation” (Robert D. Hales, Ensign, Nov. 2007).  

2.    Scripture feasting. 

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. "Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ" (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 2011).

3.    Listen to and follow promptings of the Spirit. 
The more we heed and follow promptings the more revelation we invite. "Unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have" (2 Nephi 28:30).

4.    Write down promptings you receive. 

Imagine your child or teenager asking you for advice and bringing a notebook saying, "Hang on Mom, I need to write that down. That was really good. Please tell me more." How would that make you feel?  Now imagine how Heavenly Father feels when we take His messages that seriously. Do you think that would invite Him to want to give us more? A great talk about writing down revelation and receiving more of it is "To Acquire Spiritual Knowledge" by Richard G. Scott.

5.    Gratitude. 

David Bednar said, “Expressing gratitude more often in our prayers enlarges the conduit for revelation” (Ensign, Nov. 2008). 

6.    Obey and repent. 

7.    Fast. 

Robert D. Hales said, "Prepare to receive personal revelation as the prophets do, by studying the scriptures, fasting, praying, and building faith" (Ensign, Nov. 2007).

8.    Holy music.  

“We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer” (J. Reuben Clark Jr., Conference Report, Oct. 1936).
9.    Service. 

10.    Temple. 

Many people find the temple is a favorite place to receive personal revelation, where the noise and cares of the world are left behind and it's reverent and quiet. 

11.    Inner stillness. 

Resist the temptation to overload your time or senses so you have space and quiet to hear the voice of the Spirit. We need the quiet and reverence to ponder and hear the still, small voice. Turn off the car radio to pray and listen instead. Boyd K. Packer said, "Inspiration comes more easily in a peaceful setting" (Ensign, Nov. 1991).

We need to create quiet because "The Spirit does not get our attention by shouldering or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all. ... Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gently feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening" (Boyd K. Packer, That All May Be Edified, p. 336-37).

12.    An orderly home. 

For me thing order precedes thought order. If my home is chaotic and cluttered, my brain and heart feel chaotic and cluttered. Clutter also makes it hard for me to pray, feast on the scriptures, and listen for revelation. Taking time to pick up and have some order in the home is a great investment to invite the Spirit in.  

13.    Hearing other people’s spiritual experiences.

Hearing how others receive answers and personal revelation boosts faith in receiving your own, and coaches you in the different ways God communicates to His children. Testimony meetings each month and the Ensign section "Latter-day Saint Voices" do this for me, as well as conversations with those close to me about spiritual experiences. Of course if the Spirit tells you an experience is too sacred and personal to share then hold it close and don’t share it unless prompted otherwise.

Ask. Ask. Ask. 

14.    Ask God to teach you how the Spirit communicates with you. 

You can explain to Heavenly Father that you really want to improve your ability to receive personal revelation. Ask Him to increase your sensitivity to the Spirit, to please make the promptings loud and clear, and help you discern them more clearly than before. You can practice asking, “What would Thou have me do next?” “Is there anything Thou would like to tell me?” “Is there anything else I should pray for?”

Sheri Dew said, "Ask the Lord to teach you what it feels and sounds like for you when He is speaking to you via the Holy Ghost, and then watch how He tutors you. And, second, if you've never asked the Lord how He feels about you, that is a great question to ask. In time, He will tell you, and as He does, you'll learn more about speaking His language. When the Lord sees that you want to communicate with Him, He will teach you how" ("Will You Engage in the Wrestle?" BYU-Idaho Devotional, May 17, 2016).

Boyd K. Packer said, “No message is repeated more times in scripture than the simple thought: ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’ (D&C 4:7).” (EnsignNov. 1979).

15. Try a 30-day experiment from Wendy Watson Nelson, wife of President Russell M. Nelson. 

“Would you be willing to try an experiment for 30 days? Daily kneel and thank your Heavenly Father for the scriptures. Tell Him the one question you most need to have answered that day. Plead to have the Holy Ghost with you as you read. Then open your scriptures anywhere, and read until you find the answer. Try it for 30 days and see what happens.” (Wendy Watson Nelson, “Becoming the Person You Were Born to Be,” Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults, Jan. 10, 2016)

16.    Ask to be the answer to other people’s prayers. 
Bonnie Parkin gave two great talks about this.  President Packer said, “Inspiration comes more quickly when we need it to help others than when we are concerned about ourselves" (General Conference, Oct. 1979).

17.    Ask what to ask for. 

"The Holy Ghost can teach you to pray and guide you in the things you say (see Romans 8:26; 2 Nephi 32:8). He can help you pray 'according to the will of God' (D&C 46:30)" (True to the Faith, p. 120).

18.    Study it out, make an educated guess, and then ask for confirmation. 
Often when we ask a question, part of our work is to study it out logically and prayerfully, make our best tentative decision, and bring that to the Lord for confirmation to know if it’s right. (See D&C 9:8-9). 

Avoid things that push away the Spirit

19.    Avoid media or places where you can’t feel the Spirit.
This includes music, movies, books, websites, and so on.  For the Strength of Youth says, “Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in anything that presents immorality or violence as acceptable. Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit.”

20.    Avoid dishonoring your body.

This includes immodesty, tattoos, or addictions like drugs or alcohol. Boyd K. Packer said a fundamental purpose for the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation (D&C 89:19). (General Conference, April 1996).  Paul wrote, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” (1 Cor. 6:19).

Here is a short video that likens listening to the Spirit to tuning into a radio station. 

A good summary quote

Boyd K. Packer taught that everyone may receive spiritual guidance in the same way as an Apostle if they will diligently seek the Lord, ask with faith, and obey his commandments: 

“You can learn now, in your youth, to be led by the Holy Ghost. As an Apostle I listen now to the same inspiration, coming from the same source, in the same way, that I listened to as a boy. The signal is much clearer now. ... No message is repeated more times in scripture than the simple thought: ‘Ask, and ye shall receive’ (D&C 4:7 ). I often ask the Lord for direction from Him. I will not, however, willingly accept promptings from any unworthy source. I refuse them. I do not want them, and I say so. 

"Young people, carry a prayer in your heart always. Let sleep come every night with your mind centered in prayer. Keep the Word of Wisdom. Read the scriptures. Listen to your parents and to the leaders of the Church. Stay away from places and things that common sense tells you will interfere with inspiration. Develop your spiritual capacities. Learn to tune out the static and the interference. Avoid the substitutes and the counterfeits! Learn to be inspired and directed by the Holy Ghost” (Ensign, Nov. 1979). 

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