“Feeling the Spirit,” New Era, Oct. 2011, 26–29
Maybe you noticed the change when you were baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. Maybe you felt a calm assurance while listening to general conference. Or maybe you felt that uplifting warmth in your heart as you listened to friends bear testimony in church or at youth conference. Most of us have felt the comforting presence of the Holy Ghost at one time or another. For some it is a common occurrence. For others it doesn’t happen very often. If you feel like you fit best in this second group, maybe putting into practice some of the ideas shared by a group of priests and Laurels from British Columbia, Canada, will help you feel the Spirit more regularly.
Every one of us who has been baptized and confirmed has been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, which means we have the right, whenever we are worthy, to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. So now the key is to stay worthy and do things that will help bring the Spirit into our lives.
One of the best ways to invite the Spirit into your life is to ask for it. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord said, “And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith” (D&C 42:14). You should pray every day specifically for the guidance and help of the Holy Ghost. As you strive to live gospel standards and follow the example of Jesus Christ, you will receive spiritual promptings that will help you in everything you do.
“When I pray in the mornings and at night, I always feel a difference in my life,” says Lorena D. “I remember there was a time when I wasn’t reading my scriptures and I didn’t pray for a long time. I seemed to have a lot of problems at school. But when I started to pray again everything lightened up. After I started praying again things became better for me.”
Ariel C. shares the story of a time when she was applying for an important summer academic program. “I prayed every morning and night for it,” she says. “I prayed before tests and every single day. I prayed that I would do well on the tests so that my GPA would be good and I might get accepted.” Six months later Ariel was accepted into the program, and she’s sure that because of her hard work and preparation, as well as her daily prayers, she received divine help and guidance from the Holy Ghost. The experience “reinforced to me that Heavenly Father really does answer our prayers and that He doesn’t forget us,” she adds.
“Every one of us can be guided by the spirit of revelation and the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Guided by the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, May 2011, 33.
Seminary and scripture study are two sure ways to invite the Spirit into your life. “I think that having seminary at the start of the day helps bring the Spirit,” explains Brandon G. “Just starting the day off reading the scriptures and being around people with the same standards, it’s a reminder that there are other people like you,” he explains.
Brandon meets in a member’s home with about 12 other seminary students. They all agree that having a chance to study the gospel with friends from church is a great way to start the day. It’s especially important to these teens since most of them are one of only a few members in their entire schools.
Alvin L., who recently graduated from high school, says: “When we graduated from seminary our teacher gave us this pocket-sized Book of Mormon, and now that I am in university I always keep it in my backpack. When things tend to become crazy during the day and it gets busy and I’m running all over the place and when things get heavy for me, I just remember it’s in my backpack.”
Alvin says that when the rush of the day becomes overwhelming, he takes out his Book of Mormon and sits down for a short break. As he reads from the scriptures, he is able to feel the Spirit return, which helps him feel calm and at peace again. “I don’t have to read for very long, maybe a minute or two,” he says. “But I always have that Book of Mormon with me. It just reminds me of who I am.”
Ariel shares a similar experience: “One day I was rushing to school, and I don’t know why, but something told me to take my scriptures with me. So I quickly put them in my bag and went to school.” She goes on to say, “It just so happened that I had a really bad day. I think I was in the last class of the day, and I was looking in my bag and saw my scriptures there. Just seeing them made me happy and brought the Spirit to me, and I knew that this bad day wasn’t so bad and that everything would be okay.”
Megan C. likes to carry her Young Women Personal Progress booklet with her to school. In her wallet she also carries the small version of For the Strength of Youth. She says that when she needs to feel spiritually recharged, “I’ll take it out, and people sometimes ask me what it is. And I’ll say, ‘Well, it’s standards that I follow.’” So sometimes reading these inspired guidelines from the First Presidency can be a missionary opportunity to share her beliefs. But for Megan, every time she reads about the standards “it brings the Spirit to me when I’m having trouble during the day.”
“Faith comes by the witness of the Holy Spirit to our souls, Spirit to spirit, as we hear or read the word of God. And faith matures as we continue to feast upon the word.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Blessing of Scripture,” Ensign, May 2010, 35.
“Sometimes I just try to smile,” says Lorena. It may sound simple, but smiling and having a positive attitude really helps Lorena feel the Spirit—especially when she starts to feel down at school. “I see the people at school and all their sad faces and how they don’t want to be there. I always try to be positive, and I try to bring out a positive attitude with my friends and the people around me.”
Often Lorena’s positive attitude rubs off on others and helps them feel a little bit better. As she is able to help her friends brighten their outlook, it has definite benefits for Lorena too. Helping others feel good inside “makes me happy and brings the Spirit to me,” she says.
“Yeah, same here,” chimes in Ronald O. He tells about walking home from school each day and how many of the people around him seem grim-faced and unhappy. Ronald says that when they notice the smile on his face, they often wonder what’s wrong with him. “Why is that?” he wonders. “Why should it be that when you’re smiling, people around you think you have issues? I’m often smiling while I’m walking home. And it helps me feel the Spirit.”
In 2 Nephi 2:25 the prophet Lehi taught, “Men are, that they might have joy.” So be joyful, and don’t be afraid to let it show. Lorena and Ronald are sure you’ll feel the difference when you smile—and so will the people around you.
“In my locker I always keep a picture of the temple, so throughout the day every time I go to my locker between classes I’ll look at it and think, ‘That is where I want to go someday,’” says Sandra W. She explains that seeing the temple every time she opens her locker helps her feel the Spirit and “reminds me to keep my standards, and it will help me get to where I want to be.”
Alvin says that placing gospel pictures around his room helps make his bedroom a place of spiritual strength and peace. “Beside my bed I have one picture of the Salt Lake Temple,” he says. “Then on my wall I have another picture of the Vancouver British Columbia Temple. I also have a picture of Jesus Christ in my room. All of these pictures really remind me of where I want to go. I want to go to the temple, so I have to conduct myself in such a way that I’ll get there.”
“I have a picture of the temple on my wall as well as this framed picture and poem about baptismal covenants and keeping yourself clean,” says Stephanie W. She also has a poster from a Young Women lesson that says, “Yield to the promptings of the Spirit while dating.”
The common thread for these three teens is that having a picture of the temple or the Savior where they can see it regularly helps them feel the Spirit. “I look at my pictures and they keep me in tune,” adds Stephanie. Like carefully tuning in a station on the radio to keep the signal strong, if we live worthy of the Spirit and keep righteous goals like the temple in sight, we can help strengthen the Spirit’s signals and better hear and feel the daily promptings of the Holy Ghost in our lives.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26).