It took me a while to understand how I hear Him.
I remember the first time I shared my testimony in church when I was 12 years old. My heart started to pound, and I knew I had to stand up. I was petrified; my knees were just shaking. I stumbled through a very simple testimony, but I felt so warm and so affirmed that Heavenly Father loved me. That was one of the first times I realized that one of the ways that I feel the Spirit and I hear the Savior’s voice is that warm assurance that I am doing the right thing.
With so many challenging things happening in the world and so many voices telling us different things, God’s invitation to hear the voice of His Son is extremely relevant today. I need that direction and focus to help drown out all those other voices and remove the distractions. While everyone receives revelation in different ways, I would like to share some of the ways that I “hear Him.”
I Hear Him through the Scriptures
One of the first things I do in the morning in order to have the Spirit is read the scriptures. It helps me have the right frame of mind so that I can receive revelation.
I find that when I read the scriptures, I hear the Savior’s voice and listen to the Spirit. I read what the Savior has said about Himself and about us. Things like "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." And "Come, follow me." And "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Those simple statements of the Savior remind me of what I want to be, where I want to be, and who I want to follow.
When I was about 14, I started to wonder, “Is there really a God? Is this all just make-believe?” I grew up surrounded by the Spirit in my home and had not really experienced doubts until then. One day I was reading the Book of Mormon and I read the scripture in Mosiah 4:9 that says, "Believe in God; believe that he is," and I got that same warm, assuring feeling that spread throughout my body as a child when I shared my testimony for the first time. I knew that what I had been taught about the gospel was really true.
I Hear Him in Times of Desperation or Trials
Sometimes, during a time of desperation or trial, I become humble enough to listen and really seek, and that is when I often hear Him the best. Just as I had trials and questions in my youth, my children have gone through trials of their own.
When my daughter was going through a difficult time in her life, I prayed about it and had it all set in my mind what I was going to say to help her. We set up a time to talk on the phone. Before the phone call, I prayed to know how to best communicate with her. During the call, I did not say one thing that I had planned to say. I felt words being given to me that were just what she needed, and we ended that conversation with such a feeling of love.
I knew that it was not me—it was the Spirit that gave me those words and that feeling of assurance. I am so grateful for that instruction and direction and that I was open to it. The conversation deepened our relationship, and later she felt comfortable sharing other things because of it.
I Hear Him through Temple Worship
Another marvelous way to be able to Hear the Savior’s voice more clearly is attending the temple. Sometimes when I am sitting in the temple, I will receive an answer to a prayer or something will come to mind while I am still enough to listen to the Spirit. I have also had experiences where I have gone to the temple just feeling very distraught and had a hard time feeling at peace. It reminds me to let the worldly things go. It is easy to get distracted and get caught up in those really challenging problems. But when you get to the temple, you reflect: “What is my purpose here? What do I really want? Where do I really want to go?” One of the real benefits of going to the temple is getting that feeling of eternal perspective back.
I Hear Him through Music
Music also helps me hear the voice of the Savior. I love hearing the hymns, even if I just hear instrumental music without the words. I know those words because I have sung them for so long, so they come to my mind. When I am having a difficult time or a joyful time, I will sit down at the piano—and I do not play very well, but I can play through several hymns, and those words just feed my spirit and help me feel closer to the Savior.
I Hear Him by Using the Full Name of the Church
As I strive to hear the voice of the Lord, using the full, sacred name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps me do that. If you think about it, every single word is significant. A church is a gathering of believers. The Church of Jesus Christ: He is the focus. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day—not previous, not primitive, but very current, for our day. And who are saints? They are people who are striving to be better. To me, using the full name of the Church really describes who I am as a member of that Church. And it is much more uplifting and elevating than saying “I am a Mormon” or “I am LDS.” Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—that is significant. That is who I am and where my focus is: on becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The More I Hear Him, the More I Understand Him
I am beyond grateful for the Savior, for His gift of the Atonement, for His perfect life and His example. Whenever I have a question about how I should conduct myself, I can ask myself what I know about the Savior. How did He respond? How would He respond in this situation today? And every time that is the right answer. He is the way, the truth, and the life!
The more I can hear Him, the more I understand and appreciate what He has done for me. The more I can hear Him, the more of an effective instrument I will be to bring others to that same love that I feel. If I can learn to hear Him, to hear His voice, to hear His Spirit, then I can handle the challenges that come my way.