“The Gift of Prophecy,” Ensign, Sept. 1997, 31
With the restoration of the gospel, the gift of prophecy has once again become available. President Harold B. Lee described this gift as “the gift by which [we] may have God revealed” (Stand Ye in Holy Places , 155). With it, living prophets can reveal God’s will for his children—and we may receive inspiration for ourselves.
The word prophet comes from a Greek word that can mean “inspired teacher.” In this sense, those leaders we sustain as prophets serve as inspired teachers of righteousness. Throughout the ages, prophets have often been inspired to foretell future events. But most often, their work has been to forthtell—to teach true doctrine, to act as witnesses of the Savior, to warn against sin, and to lead the Lord’s people by the power of the Spirit.
The Lord teaches that prophets are indispensable to “the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:12). He declares that “whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord … and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4). The President of the Church is the Lord’s prophet, seer, and revelator to the world. Helping him in the ministry are Apostles—men also set apart as prophets, seers, and revelators.
From Moses we learn the gift of prophecy is not restricted to Church leaders only. “Would God,” he cried, “that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29.) According to John, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). Through this wonderful gift we can know that the Savior lives and that he loves us.
It is also the gift by which we can know the choices we are making are the right ones. Those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost can receive revelation “within the sphere of responsibility and authority given to [them]” (Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, 155). Parents can receive inspiration in guiding their children. A visiting teacher can be prompted to help a sister she teaches. We may all be inspired in our daily lives.
One sister was confused when her bishop unexpectedly asked her to consider serving a mission. At age 24, she had graduated from college and had been offered a graduate scholarship at another university. She was beyond the age when sisters usually serve a full-time mission and was hoping to continue her education.
But as she considered her options, a feeling grew within her that the Lord wanted her to serve. She decided to add to the counsel of her bishop that of her stake president. Her interview with him removed any lingering doubts. Others might have received a different answer, but this, she felt, was hers. She expressed a desire to serve a full-time mission.
“At that moment,” she recalls, “I was nearly overwhelmed with the impression that, if I died at that moment, I could face my Savior sure of his approval. I was doing what he wanted me to do. I’ve never forgotten the peace and assurance that came from him like a benediction.”
In what many ways does God reveal his will to us?
How does the spirit of prophecy help us live according to God’s will?