As we study His words—the direct quotes His prophets shared in the scriptures—as well as the words He inspires modern prophets and apostles to speak to us, we get a sense of God through study, pondering, prayers, and faith. In one of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the August 24-30 Book of Mormon 2020 Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families is President Henry B. Eyring’s teaching: “When we ponder, we invite revelation by the Spirit. Pondering, to me, is the thinking and the praying I do after reading and studying in the scriptures carefully” (“Serve with the Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 60).
As we act on the impressions that come to our hearts and minds, we begin to know this kind, patient Father. We gain a very real sense of the depth of His love and just how intimately He knows and understands us. For example, both Nephi and Lehi “and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife that same year” (Helaman 11:23; italics added). Frequent revelation is not just for prophets—it’s available to us too!
How Can I Be Inspired by God?
This is a common question. It can be challenging to discern between our own ideas—what we want to do—and the Lord’s will for us. Any inclination to do something good, kind, helpful, caring or loving comes from the Lord.
For example: When I was teaching early morning seminary, I would get up well before our class began. I wanted to review the lesson and tweak or add any thoughts that had come to me during the night. One morning my remaining preparations went quickly, and I was finished at least an hour before I needed to be at the church. As I sat in the kitchen, I remembered my wife, Sheila, had mentioned the night before that the floor needed cleaning, but she hadn’t found time in the past few days to get to it. That is not normally something that I do, nor that she expected me to do. But I felt an impression to use my time to serve her. I swept and mopped our kitchen.
Was that a “revelation” from God? It certainly wasn’t earth shattering, but it did give me insight into the mind and will of the Lord. He loves my wife and knows how important a clean kitchen is to her and the welfare of our family. God did not send an angel from heaven to help her. He inspired me.
We are often the angels the Lord uses (or wants to use) to answer the prayers of His children. He hopes we’ll be in tune enough to recognize needs and respond appropriately. As I went to teach seminary, I felt good, and the Spirit was in our class that morning while we talked about eternal truths and how to apply them in our lives. As we develop daily habits that nourish our spirits, our perspective changes so that we can see opportunities to learn, grow, and serve others.
When we pray, Elder Richard G. Scott encourages us to ask: “What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, ‘Please let me know Thy will’ and ‘May Thy will be done,’ you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1995). This kind of knowledge may come to us in small, simple slices of insight. They become clearer as we act or change in response to little impressions.
Pondering Daily Promptings
Pausing each evening to reflect on the events of the day prior to our nightly prayers may help us recognize Heavenly Father’s loving hand. When we develop this habit, we will sense just how much Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of our lives. He has given us the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion: to comfort, guide and protect us. We may receive insights or solutions to a problem we have been wrestling with at work.
For example, I once met a very bright, young, “up-and-comer” working for a large corporation. He was regularly able to provide suggestions, solutions, and innovations to his superiors and peers. One day, I asked him “How do you come up with so many insights the rest of us missed?”
He replied, “I couldn’t tell this to my co-workers, but it was because I read the Book of Mormon every day. I feel the Spirit guiding me and helping me learn from the scriptures how to apply the lessons and counsel of the prophets in my personal life, including my job.”
He was around 30 years old and said he’d read the Book of Mormon about 70 times. I was stunned. He told me he thought it was his best use of 30-60 minutes each day. He was very busy, but “found” (made) the time to study and apply the scriptures to his daily life.
The Power of Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice
While visiting the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem, a friend related an experience he had when he was a district leader on his mission. A man had read the Book of Mormon and received a strong testimony of it. He believed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30), and he attended worship services regularly. He was unwilling, however, to be baptized.
Still, my friend was inspired to invite this man to be interviewed for baptism. He reluctantly agreed. As the interview proceeded, my friend felt prompted to ask, “Do you know that no matter what you’ve done, if you’ve sincerely repented, the Savior’s atonement is infinite and through baptism His blood will wash away all your sins, and you can become clean and forgiven?”
The man sat silently for a minute. Then, he started to cry. He fell to his knees, grasped my friend’s legs and sobbed out, “I always believed my sins were so serious I could never be forgiven or be worthy of baptism.” His baptism soon followed.
It’s never too late to repent and return to the fold. The Savior stands with open arms to welcome us in and help us complete our journey back to Him. As Nephi taught the Nephites, “O repent ye, repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Why has he forsaken you?” (Helaman 7:17). Let us continually strive to remember the Lord.