Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WHAT, HOW, and WHY of Receiving Answers from God



WHY. 20 Reasons personal revelation is the most important skill we can gain here. 





HOW. 20 Ways God speaks to us here.







WHAT. 20 Things you can do to receive more personal revelation here.





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). 



HOW -- 20 Ways we Receive Personal Revelation


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. 






Feelings


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. 

3.   Enlightenment. 

"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 conf
irmation 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.  

Thoughts


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  


11.    Scriptures. 

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  


14.    Dreams.


15.    Visions.


16.    Angels.


Physical sensation 


17.    Physical warmth in chest. 

Bosom shall burn (D&C 9:7-9)

18.    Goose bumps or something similar.


An instrument 


19.    An instrument like Liahona or Urim and Thumim.

Light 


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).



        

WHY -- 20 Reasons WHY Personal Revelation is so Important


At 8:51 this morning a thought popped into my mind.

I was rushing to prepare for 9:00 church. "You're teaching young women today." Yikes! I had completely forgotten it was my turn to teach after being out of town all week. Good thing I have loved studying this topic for years and had a file full of articles, including a collection of my favorite principles and quotes about it. I thought I'd share some of them with you.


20 reasons WHY personal revelation is so important


HOW -- Here are 20 different ways God speaks to us.
WHAT -- Here are 20 things we can do to receive more personal revelation.










1.    It’s the most important skill we can learn in this life.  


Of all the skills I can teach my children before they leave our home, of course I want them to learn how to read and cook and communicate, but this one tops them all. This one helps other skills fall into place. Julie Beck said, “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life” (Ensign, May, 2010).  

Gerald Lund said, "One of the most important—if not the most important—challenges in learning how to come unto Christ and to be perfected in him is to learn to hear, to recognize, and then to follow the voice of the Lord" ("The Voice of the Lord," BYU Devotional, Dec. 2, 1997).

2.    We need it to survive spiritually in the last days.  


Boyd K. Packer said, “These are sobering times...you won’t survive spiritually unless you know how to receive revelation. ... It’s a noisy world, and you’re going to have to learn personally, and privately and individually that revelation will come when the Lord can speak to our feelings. ... Learn to receive revelation. ... Learn that in the still, small hours of the morning, the Lord will speak to you. He will never fail to answer your prayers” (BYU Hawaii Commencement Address, August 5, 2008).

3.    It’s the sweetest experience.  


President Thomas S. Monson said, “I know that the sweetest experience in all this life is to feel His promptings as He directs us in the furtherance of His work” (Ensign, May, 2008).

4.    It’s the only answer to difficult decisions. 


My high school seminary teacher asked what’s the right way to answer a boy who asks you on a date, when you don’t want to hurt his feelings or lead him on.  None of our answers were right.  The only right answer was to do what feels right in that moment. 

5.    It solves the Mary and Martha dilemma. 


Choosing the “better part” is always  choosing what feels right in this moment.  Martha would have been troubled no matter what she chose if it went against what her conscience said was right in that moment. There may be other times where the Spirit would direct Martha to prepare food for Jesus’ followers, so following that feeling she wouldn’t have felt troubled. 

6.    It leads to the tree of life in Lehi’s dream. 


The iron rod is the word of God, which is scriptures, prophets, and following personal revelation from the Spirit.  Personal revelation is the only type of word of God that unfailingly leads to the tree, falling down to worship God, leads you along your own personal path of righteousness, and prompts you to do more of the other two types of word of God. The Jews had scriptures and a prophet, yet didn’t have personal revelation.  The tree of life is more than just feeling God’s love for us, but receiving the gift of charity, which is the most desirable, sweetest, most joyous of all things. It changes us to a new creature through a spiritual rebirth, from carnal to spiritual nature, changes our desires to match God’s.

7.    It yokes us to the Savior, makes our burden light and easy, and gives rest to our souls. 


When filled with the Spirit it seems nothing can phase you. Things that used to seem difficult or upsetting or stressful aren’t anymore. Doing the right thing becomes natural and easy.  Because the wicked Nephites boasted “in their own strength, they were left to their own strength; therefore they did not prosper...” (Helaman 4:13). As soon as you unhook yourself from the yoke with Christ, you become weak. When you ask to be hooked back in by repenting and obeying promptings of the Spirit you become strong. 

8.    Power to overcome weaknesses and sins we couldn’t on our own. 


Yoking ourselves to the Savior in this way pairs us with Christ’s infinite power. It’s not all on our back any more.  We receive His grace, which is power to do and become bigger, better, more magnificent than we can on our own. (See David A. Bednar,In the Strength of the Lord). "What may appear initially to be a daunting task will be much easier to manage over time as you consistently strive to recognize and follow feelings prompted by the Spirit. Your confidence in the direction you receive from the Holy Ghost will also become stronger. I witness that as you gain experience and success in being guided by the Spirit, your confidence in the impressions you feel can become more certain than your dependence on what you see or hear."  (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 2009).

9.    Fruits of the Spirit are from the Spirit.  


Receiving and following personal revelation fills us with the Holy Ghost.  James E. Faust said, “Paul answered this by saying they are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. I wish to testify as a living witness that joy does come through listening to the Spirit, for I have experienced it” (Ensign, June 2006). 

10.    Gifts of the spirit are from the Spirit.  


Robert D. Hales said, “We are commanded to ‘seek...earnestly the best gifts’ (D&C46:8).  These gifts include the Holy Ghost and personal revelation” (Ensign, Nov. 2007). 

11.    It helps us help in the most helpful ways.  


Personal revelation puts words into our mouths so we can help, teach, comfort, and encourage others. The Spirit helps us know when to help and when holding back is the better for the person or for us.  It helps us know what the person needs the most – a dinner, a clean kitchen, a book, a note, or a visit. 

12.    Personal revelation can make work fun, and tell us when to stop.  


I woke up on a Saturday morning during a week of asking God to tutor me in living by the Spirit. My husband woke up with a fever so he couldn’t mow the lawn as planned. I felt prompted to mow the lawn for him. I have never enjoyed mowing the lawn before, but I was filled with joy while serving him in following this prompting. Then I stopped to ask the Lord, “Should I mow the back lawn too?” The answer I received was that the front was enough, and not to do the back. What an epiphany it was to realize the Spirit was easier on me than I was on myself. Had I disobeyed that prompting and mowed the back lawn, my joy likely would have turned to resentment that I had to mow the lawn at all. But I obeyed and retained my joy. Obeying promptings leads to happy feelings. Disobeying promptings leads to yucky feelings.

13.    The Spirit is the light that pushes back the darkness. 


“Unless you are fully engaged in living the gospel – living it with all your ‘heart, might, mind, and strength’ (D&C 4:2) – you cannot generate enough spiritual light to push back the darkness” (Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May. 2002). 

14.    It’s the way we know God, learn and live the gospel, and qualify for eternal life.


Robert D. Hales said, “Personal revelation is the way Heavenly Father helps us know Him and His Son, learn and live the gospel, endure to the end in righteousness, and qualify for eternal life–-to return back to their presence” (Ensign, Nov. 2007). 

15.    Makes our testimonies grow.  


Elder Hales said, “The more we receive and acknowledge personal revelation, the more our testimonies grow.  As a bishop, my testimony grew each time I received revelation to extend callings to ward members. ... More importantly, I am strengthened by the personal revelations I receive in my role as a son of God, a husband, and a father” (Ensign, Nov. 2007). 

16.    Helps us not be offended.  


Two people can receive the same counsel, and depending on whether or not they have the Spirit they react with either offense and resistance, or soft hearted obedience and willingness.  Lehi’s sons were all told to get the brass plates. Laman and Lemuel murmured and resisted. Sam and Nephi willingly obeyed.  When Julie Beck gave a talk called “Mothers Who Know” (Ensign, Nov. 2007), some women’s lib Mormon sites bashed her and her message, yet a woman in my ward bore a humble testimony the next week about Beck’s talk saying, “She has given me a lot to work on.” 

17.    Spiritual growth becomes meteoric...


...when we make a commitment to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. (See Following the Light of Christ into His Presence by John Pontius). “There is no limit to the revelations [we] may receive” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 490). "If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things" (D&C 42:61).

18.    Spiritual protection. 

Receiving and following personal revelation fills us with the Holy Ghost, who is a great protector from Satan and harm. I couldn’t possibly count how many times members in our family have been protected by following promptings to move lanes on a freeway or take a different road home than usual. 

19.    The best kind of leadership training. 


The president of our BYU married student stake felt so strongly about this topic that his presidency taught it at every meeting where I ever heard them speak. The stake president spent his own money to create a binder for every family in the stake, helping us all become skilled at using personal scripture study as a means of receiving personal revelation. He knew our stake contained some of tomorrow’s leaders of the church, business, government, and families all over the world. He knew that personal revelation is the best way to get the best answers to all our question and problems in all these areas so he focused on it intensely. It intensely blessed many, many lives. 

He taught us to open our personal scripture study with a prayer of asking, and close it with a prayer of thanks for the answers we found.  In between those prayers he taught us to study the scriptures and words of prophets wherever we felt prompted to study to find the answer to our question, and then to ponder, and then to write about what we read and felt. Often as we ponder and write personal revelation starts to flow. This method has blessed my life more than I can say. 

20.    Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both told the next prophet that personal revelation was the most important thing to teach the people.  


“Several years after the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred, he appeared to President Brigham Young and shared this timeless counsel: ‘Tell the people to be humble and faithful and [be] sure to keep the Spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach [you what] to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits. It will whisper peace and joy to their souls, and it will take malice, hatred, envying, strife, and all evil from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness, and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the Spirit of the Lord they will go right’” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 98, quoted by David A. Bednar, Ensign, Nov. 2010).







Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gracie is Fifteen! And bursting with talent...

Our little Gracie Babie isn't so little any more. Sniff. 


2006. Seven years old and all smiles. 
2007. Grace has performed since she was two or three years old. Here she is singing for her grandpa Jim's 60th birthday, "I Love You a Bushel and a Peck." Jennie Jordan Frogley was hired entertainment, but Grace gave her a run for her money! 


2008. Family trip to Nauvoo. My favorite trip EVER. 


2009. In front of San Diego Temple.
2010. Grace and her dad on Independence Day.

2011. Grace received the Hope of America Award at the end of sixth grade. 


2012. Grace's last performance for Showstoppers.

2013. Gracie is a 13-year-old aunt!  Welcome to the world Baby Zia!


Now she's almost as tall as her mom. 
Grace had a great 15th birthday.
 


Grace loves Studio C.  We got to watch them perform live a few months ago at a Roots Tech conference. She waited in line for a very long time to get this t-shirt signed by the actors, and we saved it for her birthday.




Grace's favorite charity is Mothers Without Borders. This fabric tie rug was made by someone in Zambia and Grace spied it when we helped set up their annual fund raiser boutique. 


One of Grace's best friends treated her to breakfast burritos and shopping for a new blouse. I love these two girls. So much. 



"Flash mobbing" Wendys. Only there were no customers there in the middle of the afternoon. Oh well. It was much warmer on the fingers than the cold park.


Roxberry smoothies. Yum. :)


We spent the evening watching her Symphonics Showcase concert. Fun!  


Watch Grace's Solo "More than a Band"







And a happy birthday song to top off the night. These choir kids have nice voices, but it's their tradition to sing off key.  




Four good friends. With a lot of talent. By the way, our cute fiend in the turquoise blouse was a last minute fill in. And she rocked it. Nice job all of you! 




Powerful Promises about Gratitude, Part 3 - My Story

Part 2 is here. 

My story. 

I think God was trying to get my attention. 

Three days last week I was at a conference were the power of gratitude was mentioned over and over. That planted a seed. 

In church the next day, the two main speakers chose the same talk: Elder Uchtdorf's Grateful in any Circumstances. I was awake. I took notes. 

The same day I taught a Young Women and family home evening lesson about the concept of power prayers, and how gratitude is a big part of using prayer to connect with God and feel His Spirit. 

Then this week I spent studying the promised blessings of gratitude. During the week my daughter showed me a video about gratitude increasing happiness. I took lots of notes. 


I am amazed. 

Here are my two main take-aways.




1) Gratitude brings us ENORMOUS, DELICIOUS blessings!  

Who wouldn't want to be more happy, joyful, lighthearted, satisfied, likable, peaceful, enriched, enriching and uplifting everyone around you?  

Who wouldn't want to forge bonds of love, loyalty, to feel closer to God, to receive more blessings, to make others feel better about themselves? 

Who wouldn't want peace in tribulation, the ability to praise God even in pain, to feel the warmth of heaven's embrace melting the cold of bitter snow? 

Who wouldn't want clearer vision, an expanded mind, eternal perspective during trials, empathy, other Christlike virtues, humility, understanding, and to have a sweeter life? 

Count me in. 


2) God commanded us to be grateful IN ALL THINGS.

Heavenly Father didn't say, "Be grateful to me when things are going great, you have no trials, and you feel extra blessed that day."  Nope. First, nobody may ever feel that way, because we tend to get used to what we have and, like the fish in the tank, not stop to thank God for water. 

He said to be thankful in all things, to live in thanksgiving daily. Even in the hard moments. Maybe especially in the hard moments. I love the heroic examples of Joseph Smith, the Mormon pioneers, Job, and Nephi, who are models of how to express gratitude a midst great challenge.  I bet their ability to focus on gratitude helped keep them from drowning in the sorrow of the moment. 


It's like a buoy. 




It's like a life preserver. 




It's like a hot air balloon. 





Gratitude lifts us. 

That's all there is to it. No matter how high or low we already are. It lifts us. And it lifts everyone around us when we deliberately focus on and express gratitude to God and to others. 

Wow. 

I am filled to overflowing with gratitude for God's repeated commandment to be grateful, because of the bazillion blessings it brings me. No matter how hard I try to thank and serve God, I'll never catch up. He wins. Which means so do I.  


Case in point update. 

As I finished this blog post I heard a fight in the other room. I broke up the fight but there was that awful spirit of contention all through the house. Yuck. So we played the gratitude game. We went around and around the circle, each saying something we are grateful for.  Slowly but surely, God's Spirit came back and melted away the yuck. Ahhhh...  

One more reason gratitude is a powerful prescription. 







Powerful Promises about Gratitude, Part 2

Part 1 is here.

How many promised blessings have you counted so far? 



Promises from the "Gratitude" page on LDS.org

As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. Gratitude is an uplifting, exalting attitude. People are generally happier when they have gratitude in their hearts. We cannot be bitter, resentful, or mean-spirited when we are grateful.



Promises from For the Strength of Youth

The Lord wants you to have a spirit of gratitude in all you do and say. Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Gratitude will turn your heart to the Lord and help you recognize His influence and blessings in your life. Even in your most difficult times, you can find much to be grateful for. Doing so will strengthen and bless you. 

In your prayers, pour out your heart to your Father in Heaven in thanks for the blessings you have received. Be specific in thanking Him for His goodness, for your family, for friends, for leaders and teachers, for the gospel, and for His Son, Jesus Christ. You also express gratitude to the Lord by the way you live. When you keep His commandments and serve others, you show that you love Him and are grateful to Him. Express your gratitude to others for the many ways they bless your life



Scriptures about Gratitude

These are commandments, not promises. But God commanded these things SO He can bless us. 


  • D&C 59:7 – “Thou shalt thank the Lord  in all things.” 
  • Ephesians 5:20 – “Giving thanks always for all things unto God...”  
  • 1 Thess 5:18, D&C 98:1– In everything give thanks.
  • Mosiah 26:39 – Pray with out ceasing and “give thanks in all things.” 
  • Alma 7:23 – Always returning thanks unto God for what you receive.
  • Psalm 147:7 – Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving. 
  • Alma 37:37 – When you rise in the morning let your heart be full of thanks unto God.
  • 1 Nephi 18:10-16 – After Nephi was tied to ship, he praised God all day long and didn’t murmur against God because of his afflictions 
  • D&C 78:19 – He who receives all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious. The things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more. 
  • Alma 34:38 – Live in thanksgiving daily for God’s many mercies and blessings. 
  • D&C 59:21 – “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.”
  • Luke 17:11-19 – Jesus healed ten lepers, and only the one who returned to thank Him was made whole.
  • Mosiah 2:19-25 – If we thank and praise and serve God, we’ll still be unprofitable servants, because first God created us, gave us life and keeps us alive, gives us opportunities for joy, and every time we keep His commandments He blesses and prospers us. Thank Him! 








Quotes about Gratitude 

Keep counting the promises...

Pres. Monson:
“If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues” (An Attitude of Gratitude)

LDS Hymn: 
“Count your many blessings; angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end” (Count Your Many Blessings)

President James E. Faust: 
“A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness” (Gratitude as a Saving Principle).

Robert D. Hales: 
“Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace-a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don't have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. ... ‘Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.’ (D&C 59:7.) This scripture means that we express thankfulness for what happens, not only for the good things in life but also for the opposition and challenges of life that add to our experience and faith. We put our lives in His hands, realizing that all that transpires will be for our experience” (Gratitude for the Goodness of God).

Henry B. Eyring: 
“Remembrance is the seed of gratitude which is the seed of generosity. ... You could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to count your blessings, and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, and with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come. And so will gratitude. 

You could try the same thing as you write an entry in your book of remembrance. The Holy Ghost has helped with that since the beginning of time. You remember in the record of Moses it says: “And a book of remembrance was kept, in the which was recorded, in the language of Adam, for it was given unto as many as called upon God to write by the spirit of inspiration.” (Moses 6:5.) 

President Spencer W. Kimball described that process of inspired writing: “Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 349.) 

As you start to write, you could ask yourself, “How did God bless me today?” If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes, you will have gifts brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life” (Remembrance and Gratitude).

Henry B. Eyring: He shared his habit of writing down each night how he saw God’s hand in his life that day. “My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies” (O Remember, Remember).

President Benson: 
“The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude” (God, Family, Country, p. 199).


In case you're not quite convinced...

Here is an experiment to see the effect of gratitude on people's happiness. The results are touching, especially for those who needed the biggest happiness boost. (Sorry a couple of the people swear, but they try to beep it out.)