Homework: Read, study, ponder, & pray about "Revelation for the church, Revelation for our Lives" by President Nelson April 2018
How do you feel like you have personal revelation?
Class member: I always know that I’m not following the inspiration when I start hitting roadblocks. My biggest road block is not acting on it.
Class member: It’s often a thought mixed with a feeling. We went to the temple open house the first couple of days and I felt like I had been rushed. I got this impression you need to take each kid separately during the day. I pulled them out of school and took them to lunch and the temple separately.
Class member: Sometimes I will be in the middle of prayer it’s immediately there. Sometimes someone tells me immediately what I needed to hear.
Class member: I usually can’t tell. I just assume it’s all personal revelation if it’s good. I had this impression to just message her. I did it. If it’s a good thing or positive thing and can help someone I just try to do it right then.
The reason I wanted people to share is that being sensitive to the Holy Ghost is a spiritual gift. To some it comes more naturally. It is a gift that we all need to work to obtain and we can. Too often we covet others that they get it and we don’t get it.
There is a balance between sharing it and just saving the experience. It almost comes across that I am ‘holier than thou’. The Spirit won’t tell us everything to do. The Spirit will tell us if we are doing it wrong. You are getting it daily, but you just aren’t aware of it.
Class member: This Saturday we had a Dad and son both baptized in our ward. The mother is in Thailand. This other family took them to the temple open house. Last weekend was Stake Conference. They came an hour early to my house to go. I purchased the New Era, Friend, & Ensign. I gave them to them to read. They came back that night and the lady said, “Your home feels like the temple.” When others don’t have that they can feel it when they come in.
That’s part of having the Holy Ghost all the time. We get so used to it that we don’t appreciate it.
How many of you had an experience with “Remember, Remember”?
Class member: I have a “Line a day” journal that lasts for 5 years. To have to reflect on it each day to find something you are thankful for it turns your heart to receive the revelation.
The reason I ask that was because that was an intentional assignment to focus on the Holy Ghost. How many of you have felt ‘joy’ recently? That is the Holy Ghost. When you sit in church and you are contemplating the sacrament and you want to cry. That is the Holy Ghost. In looking at one of your children while they are sleeping that is the Holy Ghost. Holding your husbands hand and feeling that sweetness. That is the Holy Ghost. We receive it over and over and over in our lives. It’s to acknowledge that and know that you have the right to expect answers to big things. You have the give and you live with it. When we have the biggy problems or only allow the biggy problems to take us to the place where we access the bigger power that’s when we think we can access power. We need to have the desire and knowledge to access the greater power on a regular basis. It’s because we don’t take the time to spiritually reach up to that next step.
Sometimes we hit a plateau. How do you ‘go up’ when it’s not a big trial. Elder Bednar challenged them to ‘1 up’ their prayers. He drew a big T across the board…safety, health, missionary experiences…all great thing to pray for. Then you end your prayer. Elder Bednar said, when you pray for safety driving home promise something connected to your request. “Please help us get home safely. We promise to buckle up. We promise not to speed. We promise not to text.” When you ask for missionary experiences say, “I promise to invite someone to church please guide me to invite the correct person.” It’s life changing. This came from the Seventy that came to Stake Conference this week.
Class member: When I was really sick and started to give up I decided to start negotiating my prayer. If you can help me comb my hair without the sink being full of hair I promise to pray for the week. It was to try and break down the barrier that I had. When you are really really sick and depressed you don’t feel the spirit. There is a spiritual disconnect. It’s amazing what will happen when you ‘negotiate’. Just keep trying. You won’t be perfect at your promises, but you will be better and things will start helping in your life.
Let’s take the first side of the “T”. The prayer is sincere. Real intent goes to ‘action’. You can pray sincerely (praying a job list). Heavenly Father doesn’t want the job list. He is there to empower us to do it not do it for us. When we pray the job list it’s hard to feel the spirit. When you focus on the action that’s when we qualify to hear the spirit more. Sometimes we pray in a way that the Lord can’t answer our prayers for us. We have asked the Lord to do “it” instead of “what can I do to make my husband happier.” You will get an answer.
Class member: You can’t just pray to say, “Heavenly Father give me patience”. He will give you experiences to learn the patience.
Elder Bednar… (pg 113 Syllabus)
“This influence from the Holy Ghost yields two fruits. The first is inspiration to know what to do. The second is the power or capacity to do it. These two capacities come together.”
We may not even know what it is that we need to pray for to be able to do. I don’t know how to change it from a ‘to do’ list over to the other column. If you will open your heart and wait a minute even in the prayer the Lord will tell you what to do to ask for to something so the Lord can help you ask for it correctly and then he will bless you with the capacity to do the answer. We have bound the Lord’s hands because he can’t take away our agency.
We need to say, “What can I do?” He increases the capacity to help you have success. We have to change how we pray and we have to change our expectations.
We need to pray with enough intent that we pray ‘expecting’ not just ‘hoping’ for an answer. We have to pray that we ‘KNOW’ he is there. We have to pray with a sincere desire to act on.
Vs 1: I sat in my room ‘pondering’ over my scriptures. (This question is already in his heart and mind).
As we are reading the scriptures we need to read the scriptures and have spiritual questions. “The Nephites did that. How is their faith strong enough to do that?” “How can I receive more power through the Atonement?” It has to be something you think about and you ponder on. “How can I know that he was lead?” In reading your scriptures you will find the question .
Ponder means to meditate---it’s to think about it all the time. It’s constantly on your mind. You are deeply thinking about and really wanting it, yearning for the answer. Pondering does not come fast.
Devotional by Sharon Eubank…”Sticky questions, Spiritually panicking, and encountering the son of God” July 14---BYU-I Devotionals
Vs 2…And reflecting upon the Atonement
Vs 6…Opened the Bible and read the 3 & 4th Chapters.
This is a process…he thinks about them and is mulling over the questions and scriptures accompanied by prayer. You have to create questions you want answered or confirmations that you want. To have a greater appreciate of the temple. Understand the needs of a child. You find answers in scriptures in church, talks,
Class member: When I’m thinking about something everyone seems to be ‘talking’ about that. Joseph Smith “reflected on it again and again.” It was a process.
Understand that it is a process. Answers come in bits and pieces when you are not on your knees.
Class member: I’ve had experiences where I have something I was struggling with. I was studying something that didn’t even relate to my question, but the answer came. Heavenly Father knows and will give you the answer.
Answers usually come when you are not specifically searching right at that moment, but the answers do come when you are doing righteous things. We have to of our own free will and choice be seeking to become more holy, to become more capable of having light. We have to increase out capacity to have light. That is what the Celestial kingdom is. We have to show that we want to be there by seeking more light.
We have to be seeking stronger testimonies by seeking, pondering, and allowing him to bless us and lift us. He won’t just lift us. We have to do our part and decide that is what we want enough that we will go seeking those answers. When those answers come to act on them.
Elder Richard G. Scott…..
“The inspiring influence of the holy Spirit can be overcome or masked by strong emotions, such as anger, hate, passion, fear, or pride. When such influences are present, it is like trying to savor the delicate flavor of a grape while eating a jalapeno pepper. Both flavors are present, but one completely overpowers the other. In like manner, strong emotions overcome the delicate promptings of the Holy Spirit.”
Elder Richard G. Scott, “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance”, Ibid.)
Women have anger, depression, criticism, self pity…emotions we take into prayer. We go to the Lord to ask the Lord to fix them. We ask the Lord to take away the depression and make us happy. Those are strong emotions that lead us to prayer because we want the Lord to fix it.
We have to reach a point of humility where we say, “I need thee..O I need thee…” and “Thy will be done.” We have to quiet our spirit and listen. When you pray in those strong emotions you wait for the answer to be what you want it to be. You have to go with ‘thy will be done’. “How can I help him? Teach me what to do to walk beside him.” The Lord can’t change someone that doesn’t want to be changed.
Class member: The Lord helps you understand what you need to understand in a way you need to understand it. Heavenly Father will guide you.
You were sensitive enough to see what Heavenly Father was sending to you. Sometimes we don’t see the signs. In almost every case when you look back if you regret a situation you will see where the Lord was trying to guide you.
Richard G Scott…
“The Lord answers prayers in three ways:
1.When He answers ‘yes’ it is to give us confidence
2.When He answers ‘no’ it is to prevent error
He sometimes wants us to pursue a little longer in the seeking. The Lord will not give an answer in all things. Does it matter if you buy a blue car or a red car? What about professions? Does it really matter? Sometimes. Most of the time you pick and the Lord will help you get there. Or the Lord will tell you when you aren’t supposed to be there. We become staginant and wait for the Lord to command us in all things.
Class member: My Bishop said, “Information is inspiration”. Do you need more information?
That’s the pondering, research, and asking questions. We put ourselves in a position to receive answers. When we become emotionally spontaneous without doing the homework or allowing him to assist in the decision making we can get into a bad situation. He will answer your prayers. He expects you to reach higher, to not just pray the job list. He wants us to desire to move forward. Unless we act we don’t open the door for him to bless us.
Class member: Sometimes it’s important that we still have confidence in that and turn back to the Lord and say, “I need some help.” Things aren’t always going to go well down that path. We need to stay confident in that answer.
Elder Holland, “Cast Not Therefore Your Confidence Away”
Class member: The more prevalent the Lord is in your life the harder Satan will work in your life to destroy you.
We are strengthening our spiritual muscles. As you increase from 2# to 150#, you are increasing your capacity to have light. The more you learn the more you are putting light into your soul. We have to increase our capacity to have light because that is what the Celestial Kingdom is made of. We have to become stronger spiritually.
Class member: The hardest is when you are in a tough situation and others are getting the revelation, but others are, that’s hard. Sometimes it’s because your mind isn’t open to hear it. You need to get back to the basics…read scriptures, go to church. Heavenly Father will give you more keys to get back.
Think of the people of Alma. They weren’t taken out of the bondage of the Lamanites, but they were given power to be able to endure while they were in it.
Think about Peter when they were on the sea. He said, “Can I come walk on the water?” Peter got out in the tempest, the storm, he is there waiting for us. It took faith for Peter to step over the edge of the ship and he walked on the water and then he lost his focus and he started looking at the storm and when we focus on that he started to go down. The Lord put forth his hand brought him up. “They returned to the ship.” We don’t know how long it took them to return to the ship. The storm didn’t stop when He helped the Peter up. The Savior walked with Peter through the storm. That is usually the way it happens. He walks with us in the storm because that’s when we learn
I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brains to work.
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I asked for everything so I could enjoy life.
Instead, He gave me life so I could enjoy everything.
I received nothing I wanted, I received everything I needed.
Class member: I did my 2 questions. We did our activity days and had the girls do questions. I had my sacrament moment. I actually did what I was supposed to, to make my husband feel more loved. When he gets home from work I usually don’t go up to him. Our dogs maul him and make him feel loved, and I’m busy. So I met him at the door. My question…How can I stay close to my kids as adults?
How old are your kids right now?
Class member: 8 & 9 both girls.
You build the foundation in your family now or when they are adults it’s not there.
Class member: I want what we have now to carry over.
Are you different this week than you were last week?
Class member: Yes. I changed my percentages.
Class member: One of my questions is one that I have been thinking about for awhile, my 11 year old and I have been struggling big time. My question is….What can I do to help her feel loved? I want her to know that she is loved and wanted.
Class member: You talked about listening to our prayers and not to make a ‘to do’ list. I found that really hard. I was wording it as a to do list. This week it was more focused on ‘How can I do this or that?’ When I focused on what I was saying it made a big difference in how I pray.
When we discover this in ourselves and we are trying to change them, it’s hard. We don’t want to go back and do what we have always done.
Class member: I wanted to take more quiet time to think about praying. Finding a time where I can really focus on that. It has made a big difference in how I have handled things during the day.
I would invite you to ponder a little bit more and create a question to take to Conference.
Class member: One question you asked in the night class was to tell when the spirit leaves or be aware of that. I noticed that this week. I was very patient in my parenting when I had the spirit. I view my children differently. When the spirit isn’t there, I’m quicker to react and more harsh. I’ve been working hard to invite the spirit because I’m a better parent when I have it with me.
Class member: My husband was here last week, but then went out of town. We were talking over the phone. He said he had a note pad and a pen. He said I woke up 7 times during the night and wrote things down. He’s been really happy with the personal revelation and paying attention to his prayers. It’s been really good for us. I have been doing the scripture study part of receiving personal revelation. We’ve had some really good discussions.
Are you different today than you were a week ago?
Class member: I’m working on it.
You have been aware of and had more of the Spirit.
Class member: I didn’t work on my homework very well, but I am great at rolling out of bed and onto my knees to say my prayers, but it’s pretty repetitive. We kind of pray for the same things in family prayer too. The night we had that really big storm, I made sure that night to say we were thankful for the storm. To incorporate those daily things the Lord puts into our lives we need to be grateful for.
We talked a little bit before we prayed…if you think first about some of the things that you are grateful for and that you need help with before you actually begin your prayers you invite the Holy Ghost to teach you how to pray in that moment. The Holy Ghost will teach you what questions to ask to Heavenly Father so you can be taught. It’s ok to not know how to do something.
Class member: I made my husband lunch all week so that saved me $40 this week. He was grateful for it. I also tried to teach my kids to serve your siblings also. They only think about themselves.
Class member: We had Stake Conference last weekend. I already had my questions so I thought I would do a test run. I got some answers at Stake Conference. I thought…I could do that every week. I could go to Sacrament Meeting with questions. The first couple of days as I’m trying to make my prayers more purposeful things went great. I could feel that Satan knew I was trying hard because I was trying. Satan is working very hard on me.
Satan is as actively engaged as Heavenly Father is. As you make effort you will feel Satan working on you. I want you to say, “Hooray for Zion! Even Satan knows I’m doing it right.” Usually Satan is so subtle that we just say, “I knew I could never do it. I knew I couldn’t handle that.” We take it as a self evaluation instead of saying “Get thee hence!” and move forward.
I want you to know that when we share we get good ideas. It shows that you are trying and you are changing. I want you to see that with each other. If you even attempt or try your family will change because you change, as you change your environment changes, even catching yourself one time and keep the peaceful feeling in your home. Just attempt it for 1 week. You won’t have mastered those things. After the 10 weeks, my invitation/challenge for you is that you continue with one or two things. Keep something going. It will have made a difference.
If your car is running low on gas and I tell you that you have to do one more thing today (put gas in the car), it still requires effort, but the blessing is that you can keep going.
On the top of a piece of paper write…
“What do you do really well in parenting?” Do you know what the problem is with this question?
Class member: Our focus is on what we do wrong not what we do well.
If you don’t have something positive how do you build on it if you can’t find it? If you only look at negatives in parenting (we do it in humility) you create negative. We have to change our focus. I want you to start thinking about what you do right in parenting. Your whole feeling will change when you look at the things you do right. Is this vanity? No! The Savior said, “Come Follow Me.” That is absolutely humility. He knows he is like the Father.
When we say “I have great FHE in our family.” And we give the credit to Heavenly Father it is in humility.
“Something you would like to improve in your home.”
“Specifically (not in generals) what goal will you do to make your spouse more happy.” This should be something you can fit into your routine to make your life easier.
Will someone share one of their 3 things they wrote down?
Class member: Something I do well…I have a daughter 11, son 7…every night I go into their room and tell them 1 thing that I love about them each night. We don’t forget it. We do it every night. It brings everything together.
Class member: Something I’m going to do for my husband….I’m going to mop the floor for my husband. I sweep the floor and spot clean, but I’m really bad about cleaning the whole floor. That will make him really happy.
Class member: Something I’m going to do for my husband…My husband has always wanted me to just come sit with him. That’s when I want to pick up after the kids or do the dishes. I will just go sit with him when he wants me to.
Class member: Something I’m going to do for my husband…My husband works from home. I think one thing I can do is speak more kindly to my kids. We just need to be a little more quiet.
Class member: Goal…I assume the worst when I deal with my kids. I need to give them the benefit of the doubt.
This is because she has really good kids and is afraid that they are going to make mistakes. Sometimes it’s because they are such good kids.
Class member: Goal…Mine is to stop yelling. My husband came home and said listen to how you are talking to the kids. I don’t need to seem like I’m yelling each time I tell them something.
We are so intense about it that they think we are really mad. You really aren’t mad, but your body language and voice say you are.
An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
We need to change our paradigm.
“A goal (a simple one) that you want to accomplish in your life in the next 10 weeks.” It can be anything.
Ponder pad…anything thought you have as we talk about class. You will have specific ideas about specific members of your family. Jot it down and think about it later. Don’t let them go. They may not come back. It may be pure inspiration.
HOMEWORK: I want you to take this goal and formulate 2 questions from it.
Goal: Be more patient with my children.
Question…How do I learn to speak in a soft voice?
Question…What can I do to help them listen to me before I’m yelling?
The answers will help you achieve the goal.
Then take a written copy of the questions to conference with you. As you listen to conference those questions will be answered either through a speaker or through the Spirit.
We are too focused on teaching the dance steps (prayer, scriptures, etc), but we aren’t really hearing the music.
What would it be like to listen to your own personal prayers? If you were another person who could see into your mind…hearing your feelings and your thoughts all about your personal prayers. What would it be like to you if you heard your own personal prayers?
The beginning of personal revelation is prayers. We have to learn how to pray so we can get the answers.
Example: What can I do about Johnny? He is so sassy. What do I do about Suzy who is boy crazy already? Mary is so impatient. What can I do about her?
We pray a job list for Heavenly Father. We are doing ‘Heavenly Father would you make Mary more patient.’ We are asking Heavenly Father to take away their agency. Just because we can’t do it we can’t ask Him to do it for us.
Heavenly Father will always answer your prayers! Some of you think…I pray because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I just pray. If I said to you give me the answers. What is the revelation coming back to you? Most of you have the feeling that we are supposed to pray and it’s a commandment and I do it. That is not enough. We have to make this (prayer) a communication. We have to be able to tell him the problem, but also hear the answer.
This is a bit extreme, but think about this….
I have a son who wanted to improve his prayers. He is a bishop. He works very hard at finding solutions. Bishops carry a huge burden. He just wants to help those who come to him with problems. My son said, “I decided I was going to do a search on prayer.” I read through the Book of Mormon and highlighted everything that had to do with prayer. What does real prayer look like? With real intent…diligently….morning/noon/night. I was working on making my prayers meaningful. I decided I would take a tape recorder. I set it up and said my prayers out loud and then a couple of days later I listened to the recording. My prayer consisted of asking the Lord to take away others agency.
How do you pray so you can get answers for your family? When you get the answer how do you know you got an answer?
This was his quest.
Change your paradigm about prayer.
What does personal prayer look like?
Class member: I usually give a bulk of what I’m thankful for.
The purpose of that is to create the spirit of humility to listen.
Class member: We ask for things.
Do we make it His job list? Would you please make me more patient? What would like Him to do? He will send you more trials so you can learn to be more patient. None of this is new, but the question is… “What is your mental condition when you pray?”
Usually our mental condition is…I need to say my prayers. In the background you are hearing the kids bouncing around. You think I need to unload the dishwasher. Our mind is kind of like a ping pong ball.
Class member: I started saying my evening prayers when I put my kids to bed at 8pm. I stayed up to 11pm, but said my prayers at 8pm. I needed to give it a better priority and time slot in my day.
The Lord didn’t say…be sure your prayer is at 7am and 10:05pm. Your morning prayer can be after your kids go to school.
Prayer is hard! We make prayer easy. One of them is work. Prayer is work…spiritual work. Usually when we make it easy we don’t reach heaven. Does that mean that every prayer you ever say has to be a ‘major thing’? You have to realize that prayer is work.
When you teach a young person how to clean a bathroom…it is a nightmare. It is hard work. They complain about it. It takes them forever. They have the toilet clean now they have to clean the bathtub. Then you have to do the mirror and the cupboard. You in love and patience teach him how to do it. Now they have been cleaning the bathroom for 5 years and you say…Go in and clean the bathroom. Does he know what to do? Yes. Does it take him 2 ½ hours? No. They may skip a bunch, but they know how to do it right.
Take that example to prayer….You have to pay the price. It is work. After you do it for awhile it is part of your life. It’s not this major experience every morning and night. It is how you live. You live in a mode of revelation. If you want to live in continual revelation for yourself and your family you go through the hard stuff of doing it right then you live in revelation. It is hard in the beginning.
Preparation for Prayer….
It’s not an event that happens 5 minutes before you kneel down. You live to be worthy of continuous revelation. You are going to read the scriptures daily. You are going to keep a notebook of spiritual impressions.
Richard G Scott said If we don’t write down the impressions Heavenly Father gives us he will stop giving it to us because we are saying what isn’t important.
You keep this notebook of spiritual impressions while you are reading your scriptures. We talk to Heavenly Father through prayer. He speaks to us through scriptures, the prophet, the Holy Ghost, temple, hymns, sacrament meetings, class, talking to a friend, walking down the street looking at the rain & sun & trees. If you put your mind in a receptive mode is there anywhere you can’t receive revelation?
We aren’t looking at the answers we receive as revelation. If we want to receive revelation on something or understanding, that thing has to stay in our head so we can be aware of. We should prayer every morning for the companionship of the Holy Ghost and how to recognize it. We become so used to the Spirit being with us and guiding us that we don’t listen.
Elder Scott said that Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and taking the Sacrament with real intent invited revelation all week.
“How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life” (Richard G Scott)
Some of you have a whole bunch of little tiny people. It’s hard to ponder during the Sacrament when you have a 3 yr old and a baby. During the Sacrament you may be saying…”shhhh”. You can have a Sacrament moment Saturday night or Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. You must have a Sacrament moment…hopefully during the sacrament, but if that isn’t possible you have to have a Sacrament moment. As you do those things you open yourself to receive revelation.
Elder Richard G Scott “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance” October 2009
The Spirit works upon me. I am praying to learn how to be more humble. That’s my prayer. I pray it in the morning. About 3pm while I am making bread the Spirit whispers to me (it’s an idea or a thought—that’s why we often disregard it. The more we disregard it the harder it is to hear it.) ‘Sister Jones could really use some of that bread.’ If my first thought is…I have so much to do this afternoon…what have we done? We have shut the door on the Holy Ghost. What if our first thought is….How can I make that happen? Then the Holy Ghost shows you how to do it because you have listened and acknowledged acceptance of the prompting. As soon as you shut the door to it, it goes away.
Sometimes that is not our first thought, but we can repent and change our first thought very quickly. Repentance is just to change. Change your thought…”How can I make this happen?” Does it matter if you take bread to Sister Jones? Not in the big scale of things. If you didn’t you aren’t going to outer darkness. The more often you heed the little promptings the Lord can trust you and He will give you greater promptings.
Brother Meyers heard that Brother Brown was clear out of flower. He took what flour he had and divided it in 2 bags. There was a knock on the door. There stood Brother Brown. He said, “I am clear out of flour. I have been to many homes to ask for help and everyone said no.” I was so distraught. I knelt down a prayed. The prompting came that I should come to you. Brother Meyers gave him the bag of flour. If the Lord told you to come you don’t have to repay it. Then he knelt down to pray and said, “Heavenly Father I am grateful that you knew you could trust me to be there.”
Does Heavenly Father feel like he can send them to you because you are trustworthy?
We need to not question what Heavenly Father tells us they need.
Johnny is 8. He is sassy and ornery. You constantly nag him and he teases and fights and won’t do his homework. You feel helpless. You go to the Lord and say, “I don’t know what to do with this kid. He is ruining our whole family. I don’t even like him.” The next day you feel the prompting that says get him out of school and take him to lunch. You say, “You have to be kidding me. He hasn’t earned a privilege like that.” Or you can say, “Ok. I don’t understand it. I don’t think he deserves it, but I will do it.”
What did you do to activate revelation? You prayed and acted. The act of obedience invites more revelation.
On the way to pick him up the Spirit says, “How many times have I forgiven you when you didn’t deserve it?” You get him and take him to lunch and tell him how special he is. It fills up his bank account. He says, “Mom I didn’t think you loved me anymore.” Because you were willing to listen to the promptings then the Lord answers your prayers as well as the child’s prayers.
We have a preconceived notion of what the answer should be. We don’t listen for answers. We wait until we get what we think the answer should be. The Lord seldom answers my prayers my way. I have been through some pretty rocky experiences in my life. I have begged and begged for guidance and answers.
Example…Someone close did some things to offend me. I didn’t do anything. I was the innocent victim. I prayed and wanted the Lord to change that person. The answer was not to change them but to love them and forgive them. What we really want…revenge. That wasn’t the answer.
Richard G Scott gave talks about abuse. Forgive them.
You get the revelation and then the Holy Ghost empowers you. Through the Atonement you can.
We have to be careful not to decide the answer in our head. You have to listen with an open mind.
I have a child who is struggling in school. Sally is very shy. They don’t want to go in alone. They are glued to you. They really are frightened. Their fears are real. You are praying about it. How do I help her? What do I do? Inspiration says visit Sister James (an older sister in the ward). You think…I’m not responsible for her. You take Elder Scott’s counsel. You go in Sister James house. She is a delightful lady. You share with her your problem. She says one of my children was like that. Let me tell you some of the things that worked for us.
Be careful that we don’t push aside inspiration that comes.
The steps Elder Scott outlines are:
Why don’t we work that hard at it? Because it’s work! If we really want revelation from the Lord and to be guided in our life that has to be the focus. This is really good for biggies. It could be big to improve your relationship in your marriage, losing weight, with a child…not necessarily our house burned down and I lost my job.
You have to find a way to make it work always.
The scriptures say…“Pray always”. You don’t always have to be on your knees. You are always thinking about the things you pray for.
In the evening sometime when you are alone you have a quiet moment…this is every day…just a moment…think about what you prayed for. Then see how it was answered. Open your mind. Those who were given the Holy Ghost at age 8 we tend to be blind because we are used to them. It’s not being indifferent. We just are not paying attention.
Elder Bednar…Oct 2013 “The Windows of Heaven”
In the evenings look back over blessings you have requested and ways they have been answered with an open heart and an open mind. Pray for the ability to see the answers. Heavenly Father is very present in your daily life.
“Sometimes you may struggle with a problem and not get an answer. What could be wrong? It may be that you are not doing anything wrong. It may be that you have not done the right things long enough. Remember, you cannot force spiritual things. Sometimes we are confused simply because we won’t take “no” for an answer…
We need to decide what happens in our home that makes the Spirit leave. Most of us if we are living the gospel and are trying the Spirit is there.
Emotions when you have the Spirit….
That doesn’t mean life if perfect, but you have faith in life and in the Lord
Emotions when you don’t have the Spirit….
We live in real life. Most of you have the Spirit in your home most of the time.
I challenge you this week to think about your prayers. As you say your prayers think about what is it like to listen to my prayers. What is the conversation you are having with Heavenly Father. I testify to you that as a Mother & Father in Zion are entitled to revelation for your family. Heavenly Father wants to give it to you. He wants to help you raise those children. As we start this semester come each class with ‘What is it that I need to do for my family at this time?” This needs to be a personal workshop with the Lord. He will be the teacher through the Holy Ghost.
President Henry B Eyring “We Must Raise Our Sights” Ensign Sept 2004
HOMEWORK: Write down a simple goal that you want to accomplish in your life in the next 10 weeks. It can be anything. Formulate 2 questions from it of specific things you can ask for in prayer and listen for in Conference.
Next week….Establishing Order in Your Home
What is the purpose of life?
To be tested
What does it mean to weary him with our petitions?
Class member: I think it means we don’t give up. So many times we aren’t willing to work for it. Sometimes the Lord waits to see if we are willing to work for it. I think it’s helping us develop patience.
Class member: I think it also has to do with turning your life over to the Lord.
Class member: Is it to take it away or is it strengthen us or what we should learn from it?
If they are tenacious about it and they are working for it and showing us they are responsible.
To weary the Lord with our petition…is to stay focused on what we want and that we are praying the right way.
Class member: It’s turning to him in gratitude as well. When you are thankful and they are working for it you are more willing to work with them and help them.
As they use this word ‘weary me’ it means ‘continue on’.
D&C 9:7 “Behold ye have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.”
Spiritual guidance is work. Why would the Lord require that? Why would he make it so hard?
Class member: So we care.
Do they appreciate it if they just given it?
Class member: Whenever you work for something you feel more appreciative towards that. You feel better about yourself when you get through it.
Class member: When I was going through hard things those were the times when I can’t refute the times I received answers and saw the Lord’s hands. It’s a spiritual strength we gain through those trials.
I feel very strongly (personal opinion)…I feel like the church is pulling away from all of it’s in depth counsel to us. You go from the missionaries teaching with the flip chart and memorized discussions and Preach My Gospel. When you go from Sunday School lessons to “Come Follow Me” you prepare yourself. The church is pulling back from the ‘being commanded in all things.” The Lord doesn’t want robots and puppets.
We have been taught when we need an answer we just pray. Is that true? Eventually.
Class member: We don’t want to scare children from the way life is.
We are taught it is really easy or we get over on the other side and say “It’s so hard.” The truth is that it’s both of those things. Prayer is both of those things. We rarely teach that prayer is hard work. Sometimes the Lord allows hard times so we are desperate enough to work hard at prayer. Think about your prayer last night. Did you have a prayer this morning? Think about how the environment and the thought in your head go on when you pray. We take prayer a little to casually in our prayers.
Don’t diet just write down everything you eat. Be aware of how you pray. Do you stay focused? What are you praying for? What are your prayers like? Does it matter how long they are? No. Length doesn’t determine how efficient they are.
One key to receiving personal revelation is prayer.
“When man begins to hunger, when arms begin to reach, when knees begin to bend and voices begin to articulate, then and not until then, does the Lord make himself known. He pushes back the horizons, He breaks the curtain above us, and He makes it possible for us to come out of dim, uncertain stumbling into the sureness of the eternal light.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings, pp 453-40)
He will be there, but he expects us to hunger, reach, bend, articulate…usually we are thinking of the big things in the crisis. This needs to be in daily prayer. One way to reach that point is to learn to prepare for receiving revelation.
Do you remember the story when Jesus was teaching on the mountain side he told his disciples to get in a boat and sail across the sea of Galilee and they got in the boat and he would meet them. They were planning on meeting the Savior. During that time he goes to the mountain top to have those rare moments when he could just be alone with his father and prayer. A huge storm comes up. Do you think the Savior was aware of that storm? What is going on in the sea? The disciples are scared. These great fisherman fear that they are going to die. Do you think they were prayer? Do you think they were calling out? Absolutely. They were terrified. When did the Savior come walking on the water? It was the beginning of the 4th watch. 3-6am is the 4th watch. The Lord let them struggle in that storm until at least 3am then he came. He let them struggle.
What does this say about us? The Lord is a God of the 4th watch. He leaves us to work out some of the problem ourselves before he comes or he gives answers. Does that mean he is not mindful of the storm? No. He also wants us to grow and be mindful ‘in the peace’ just like ‘in the storm’.
Sometimes we don’t know how to ask. Sometimes we are praying a prayer the Lord can’t answer. We are praying a to do list to the lord.
January 1993 Ensign “Unlocking Heaven”
We prayed to make her well and whole. We prayed for her to be healed. I had been praying for ‘too much in too general a way’. I felt prompted to pray for something small and specific. I knew Heavenly Father knew us and wanted to help within the ‘realm of his plan’.
We forget to use ‘thy will be done’ in our prayers.
Class member: When I was growing up my brother was very sick. He had cancer. He wasn’t getting better. Our bishop said, I think you guys are praying for the wrong thing. We had to turn our will over to the Lord and allow him to pass away. Sometimes we have to realize that it’s the will of the Lord.
The answer to the prayer was not that she was healed, but that she create a friend. As she broke it down into something small and specific she could see the Lord’s hand in answering that prayer.
In faith we need to add ‘thy will be done’. 2nd part is ‘Heavenly Father will you do this and this and this.’ Ask what do I need to do?
Class member: Talk to Heavenly Father like a friend. Talk to him like you want to work.
Work towards doing my part.
“The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting 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 gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening…..” (President Boyd K. Packer, “The Candle of the Lord,’ Ensign January 1983, pg 53)
What did you learn about the spirit?....it’s gentle, it whispers, preoccupied we may miss it and it will withdraw.
What prepares you then to go to that prayer prepared to receive revelation?
Class member: When you prayer to talk to someone. We don’t just hang up, we wait for an answer. You need to take extra time to listen. Throughout the day you need to plead in your heart throughout the day when you are ready you will ‘get it.’
Why do you think the Lord commands us to pray at least 8-9 times per day for the basics? To bring us back to the Lord. Our thoughts need to come back to him. It’s an opportunity for us to keep him as a companion.
Class member: I have a hard time remembering to pray for something specific. I write down my prayers and write down the inspiration I receive.
Don’t forget that’s what you wanted. If that’s what you really wanted then ‘weary me’.
How do we create a heart that can hear a whisper? Is it possible? It’s not only possible it’s essential.
Daily scripture study. It doesn’t have to be prolonged. Daily you need to get into the scriptures. That opens the door to your heart. Then meaningful prayer. You are preparing the ground so I’m ready and listening.
Class member: A couple of conferences ago there was a talk…she said we read our scriptures is just to open the door to the spirit and say I want the spirit.
It’s an invitation. Most times when we read the scriptures we don’t have those ‘WOW’ moments.
Class member: With reading your scriptures it’s showing Heavenly Father that you are doing some work. You are putting in a little effort for something spiritual.
Then it’s not his job list you are doing your part to. You are willing to learn.
Class member: I was just reading the scriptures with my 5 year old. We just did it because I was supposed to. I was just married in July. I was asking to be happy. My ex-husband comes home and I had an immediate attraction to him. I got this feeling I was supposed to be with my ex-husband. I talked to my bishop and he said he thought I should go back to my ex-husband. My husband came to me crying and not wanting to lose us. I had a lot of confusion. I went back to the bishop and he said it really is your choice. I was mad because I wanted an answer. Then I got the thought I already gave you the answer.
Class member: I have 2 kids, but I left the church early. I got married to the wrong person for the wrong reason and got divorced. Since reading my scriptures I started going back to church. Reading has been helping me come back.
When we pray, read our scriptures, and then listen we can get answers.
The Holy Ghost will bring answers to our prayers and then it empowers us to do the answer.
How does the Lord speak to us?
Class member: I think they are different for so many. Heavenly Father knew I would not read it. He knows me. I do the dishes and get inspiration when I’m doing them.
Everyone here listens you and says “I know this and I know that” what is it that you feel, hear, know? I get a thought that I wasn’t thinking about. How many of you rationalize the thought.
Class member: I love you laid out your “Ponder Pad” at the beginning. Something just won’t settle. That is the Spirit talking.
“These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears.” (President Boyd K. Packer, That All May Be Edified, 1982, pg 335)
It is a thought. You feel it. We want this thought to come with “And thus saith the Lord…” We would like it to come with neon lights but it doesn’t come that way.
I guess I have answered the Spirit enough to know and heed the Spirit. I think I know the difference now.
The way you come to know the Spirit is to act on it.
Class member: When I get feelings that are positive you should always do it anyway. One of my best friends lives in Utah I was thinking about her a ton. I started praying for her. A couple days later she texted me and told me she was pregnant and lost her baby. She said I have felt extra strength and didn’t know I was that strong.
Pg 113 (Syllabus)---Joseph Smith taught…strokes of thoughts…
Class member: I think these experiences remind me of Richard G. Scott that reminds me about writing down these experiences. You will remember them later and draw on them for strength. That is another way that you are showing the Lord you are taking them seriously.
Class member: We work with thoughts coming in our mind. I ask Heavenly Father if this is his inspiration or is it something that I can’t let go. D&C says you will have a stupor of thought..that helps me recognize and differentiate.
Neal Maxwell gave a missionary conference…how can you tell if the prompting is the Spirit or just a good idea. What difference does it make? All promptings that are good are from the Lord. Act on them. The more we do that the more we will come to know which are the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Class member: That’s great you have a good idea where do you think it came from?
All things are spiritual…(scripture)
Elder Bednar “The Windows of Heaven” October 2013… “We often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and easily can be overlooked. Some of the diverse blessings we obtain as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle. Such blessings can be discerned only if we are both spiritually attentive and observant.”
I am praying to have more compassion and get the prompting to go visit someone, but then I think I’ll do that tomorrow. If you are praying for compassion and charity the Lord will give you opportunities to do that. Our answers aren’t what we expect. If it doesn’t come with a tag that says this is in answer to your prayers this morning. We think it will come in another way. It’s doesn’t work that way. He gives us opportunities to develop that heart.
The Lord gives us answers line upon line. That is just a step but he’s testing me to see if I will go do. If I do I will receive a greater blessing. I have to walk the path that leads to it.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, “When we seek inspiration to help make decisions, the Lord gives gentle promptings. These require us to think, to exercise faith, to work, to struggle at times, and to act. Seldom does the whole answer to a decisively important matter or complex problem come all at once. More often, it comes a piece at a time, without the end in sight.” (“Learning to Recognize Answers to Prayers,” Ensign, November 1989, pg 32)
We need to look for those answers and give gratitude for them.
Class member: We moved here in January from Utah. We had a few months to prep. We were just looking to rent based on schools we were looking at for our kids. Looking for a place to live became a burden. I felt like being asked to step into that calling was hard. Heavenly Father just took it all. I can’t believe how calm I feel, but I’m not feeling this urgency to look for a place to live. 7 days before we moved we got a call that the new rental was filing bankruptcy on the house. We are in an area that the Spirit was just leading me. I felt so calm about the process. We have had so many missionary experiences. I look back and think I need to remember that. He took care of it when I took care of what I needed to do.
To live by the answers of the Lord is to give up your power and control.
Elder Bednar…Devotional @ Rick College Aug 1999 Receiving Recognizing & Responding to the Holy Ghost. “We are prompted by the HG every day to do ordinary and simple things…say our prayers every morning and night. Prompted to study the scriptures. Prompted to live a dress code. We are either progress or regressing in our ability to respond there is no neutral ground.”
If we want to receive and answer we need to be increasing our ability to answer and act on the ability of the Holy Ghost. When we get those feelings that is the prompting of the Holy Ghost to say do it. Instead of saying I need to ‘stop, go kneel down and read my scriptures right now’. Your willingness to stop and do makes you willing.
“We cannot realistically expect to recognize big promptings if we consistently fail to heed small ones. The Lord teaches line upon line….comes in small increments.”
In a talk in November 2009, Elder Richard G. Scott shared an experience that taught him how to gain spiritual guidance. He said he was sitting in a Priesthood meeting in a small Spanish Branch in Mexico City. As he sat there he began to receive personal impressions as an extension of the principles taught in the lesson. They came as answers to prolonged prayers he had been asking. As each impression came, he carefully wrote it down. After the class, he pondered each impression that he had recorded, pondered the feeling to see if he had accurately expressed them in writing. Then he studied their meaning and application in his life. After he had pondered on them, he prayed expressing to the Lord the things he had been taught by the Spirit. When a feeling of peace came, he thanked Heavenly Father for the guidance given. Then he was impressed to ask, “Was there yet more to be given?” Further impressions came, were recorded, pondered, and prayed over and again the prayer, “Is there more I should know?”
Is getting an answer easy? This is probably in relationship to the big things.
Julie Beck said she never goes to bed at night without a pencil and paper on her nightstand. She wakes up and writes it down.
Class member: It won’t feel like a chore. You want to be close to the Lord. We are his tools. It’s day to day life. You need to listen. It is all day long. You need to have that close relationship.
You aren’t focused on it every minute, but it’s always there. You are just always in tune with it.
Class member: We remember that service is never convenient. Doing the best you can to act on those promptings.
The Lord answers prayers…
1. Yes…that thought usually comes when we are going about our day.
2. No…it’s to prevent error. You get a stupor of thought. We feel like the Lord hasn’t answered our prayers because he’s not telling us what we want to hear.
3. Sometimes he withholds and answer.
“Sometimes you may struggle with a problem and not get an answer. What could be wrong? I may be that you are not doing anything wrong. It may be that you have not done the right things long enough. Remember, you cannot force spiritual things. Sometimes we are confused simply because we won’t take “no” for an answer…
We continue to pray that they will change and sometimes those things need to be put on the back burner and continue praying for them.
We have to learn to be more sensitive to receive the answers. We are going to have to become more spiritually personally strong.
Uchtdorf…”doubt your doubts and not your beliefs” Story behind that…In Sweden there was a falling away in the church. It happened because there was an area authority that had never heard that Joseph Smith had wives sealed to him. It shook his testimony and he has influenced his membership and they have now shaken a lot of people.
There are people that will say things that will shake us. You can receive your own personal revelation. Men in the church are not perfect at any level, but the gospel is true and you can learn that and know if yourself. You have the right and the responsibility to know that. Our need to have personal revelation will increase. It can be yours. You can know personally daily that Jesus is the Christ. This is his kingdom. I bear testimony to that.
Notes from classes and other information will be posted here. Also you can order syllabus and CDs from the store or check out the "Traditions" that class members have shared. You can also ask a Parenting and/or Marriage Question.
I will be posting my class notes from Thursday Parenting Class within a few days after class.