For the year 2020, President Russell M. Nelson has extended a key invitation and question, “In this special year as we commemorate the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, I invite you to think deeply and often about this key question: How do you hear Him?” (“How Do You #HearHim?” A Special Invitation,” Blog, Feb. 26, 2020). This is an important question for all of us to ponder today.
Ways to Hear God’s Voice
As a 14-year-old boy, Joseph Smith read in the Holy Bible, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally” (James 1:5). This scripture touched his soul, and he sought answers and with “determination to ‘ask of God’” (Joseph Smith-History 1:14). We likewise need to seek answers to our questions and concerns by reading the Bible and through personal prayers. We should never forget that Jesus has promised, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).
We especially need to read the Book of Mormon that was translated through the diligent efforts of Joseph Smith. There is a power contained in the Book of Mormon that opens the heavens to us and enlightens our minds. President Nelson explains: “The Book of Mormon provides the fullest and most authoritative understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere. It teaches what it really means to be born again. From the Book of Mormon, we learn about the gathering of scattered Israel. We know why we are here on earth. These and other truths are more powerfully and persuasively taught in the Book of Mormon than in any other book” (“The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be without It?,” Ensign, Nov. 2017).
The Come, Follow Me resources can help us understand and apply the teachings of the scriptures to our lives. They can bless us with greater ability to discern right from wrong and greater strength to choose the right. Mark L Pace states: “Studying the scriptures with Come, Follow Me as a guide is strengthening our conversion to Jesus Christ and His gospel. We are not simply trading one hour less in church on Sunday for one hour more of scripture study at home. Learning the gospel is a consistent effort throughout the week” (“Come, Follow Me—the Lord’s Counterstrategy and Proactive Plan,” Ensign, Nov. 2019, 44)
Actions We Can Do
We can seek to know our ancestors. Their presence is felt as we look for their records and participate in temple ordinances in their behalf. President Nelson teaches: “While temple and family history work has the power to bless those beyond the veil, it has an equal power to bless the living. It has a refining influence on those who are engaged in it. They are literally helping to exalt their families” (“Generations Linked in Love,” Ensign, May 2010).
Ministering brings the Spirit of God into our lives. Jesus promised, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). An example of the healing power of ministering is manifest in the many times I have been ill and wanting to find relief at a hospital emergency room when I have received unexpected but inspired visits. On occasions, I have received priesthood blessings. Through such ministering, I have been uplifted, encouraged, even healed. We should be looking and listening for ways that we can minister to and serve others.
We hear the Savior’s words during the sacramental prayers. As we partake of the bread and water, we remember Jesus Christ sacrificed both the body and blood for us. We ponder that we “do always remember him” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:79). By making and living sacrament covenants, we can also “always have his Spirit to be with [us]” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).
We can hear God’s voice as we listen to living prophets and apostles at general conference sessions and strive to follow their counsel. The Lord has said “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38).
Focusing Our Lives on Christ
Alma experienced relief and healing when he taught, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness” (Alma 36:18). Thinking about Jesus can provide heavenly moments for us each day.
Elder Jeffrey R Holland also counsels us to focus our lives toward Jesus: “Sisters and brothers, through the incessant din and drumbeat of our day, may we strive to see Christ at the center of our lives, of our faith, and of our service. That is where true meaning lies” (“The Message, the Meaning, and the Multitude,” Ensign, Nov. 2019, 6).
In seemingly small and consistent ways we can hear God’s voice and promptings every day. Moment by moment, each contact with scriptural and spiritual influences can sanctify us and change us to become not just heaven bound but to be heavenly beings.