“The Prophet Taught Me How to Make Hard Choices,” Ensign, April 2019
I’ve always been afraid of making important decisions. Recently, I found myself struggling with a big one—the kind of decision that would change the rest of my life. After struggling with the question for weeks, I still couldn’t make a choice. I decided to ask my dad for a priesthood blessing.
I admit, part of me really hoped that God would give me a clear answer right then and there. Wouldn’t that be nice? If He just told me exactly what to do, I would happily follow.
In the blessing, I was given specific directions. But it wasn’t what I had expected. I was told to study President Russell M. Nelson’s recent talk from the April 2018 general conference, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.” I was promised that if I would intensely study and follow his counsel, I would receive clarity and direct revelation.
That night, I read President Nelson’s promise that “there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know,” and I read his bold testimony that “the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.”
As I studied his talk for the next couple weeks, I found five things we can all do to receive personal revelation:
Put in the spiritual work. President Nelson said you must “choose to do the spiritual work required to enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost and hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.” He said you can prepare by increasing your purity, feasting daily on the Book of Mormon, doing temple and family history work, and expressing gratitude.
He also mentioned the power of obedience. If you want to recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost, you have to practice listening to and obeying His guidance. Then the Lord will be able to send “manifestations of the Holy Ghost” to help you.
Seek good information. When President Nelson was choosing two counselors to serve with him in the First Presidency, he took the time to meet individually with each member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He gathered information, then took it to the Lord.
He wisely counseled that “good inspiration is based upon good information.” You have access to so many helpful sources. Depending on the answers you are looking for, you might go to a trusted friend, leader, or anyone who can teach you about the topic. Find out what you can and thoughtfully evaluate your options.
Pray. President Nelson said you should “follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.”
Humbly take your limited understanding and answers to the Lord. In sincere prayer, express to Him “your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart.” God wants to speak to you, and you are part of that conversation when you pray.
Listen. If you want an answer from God, listen to Him. Take a quiet moment after you pray to recognize how the Holy Ghost is speaking to you.
“Write the thoughts that come to your mind,” President Nelson advised. “Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.”
Increase your spiritual capacity. President Nelson said: “I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation. …
“… I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation.”
This applies to you, no matter what your level of experience is with revelation. Go through each of these steps for receiving revelation; then do it again. If you repeat the process “day after day, month after month, year after year,” your capacity will grow.
Yes, the prophet taught me how to receive revelation. But it was acting on his counsel—making changes in my life, sacrificing time to seek understanding, and truly speaking and listening to Heavenly Father—that actually helped me to recognize the Holy Ghost and find the answers I was looking for.