I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the invitation to hear Him. How do I hear Him? Where do I hear Him? When do I hear Him?
How do I hear Him? – President Nelson teaches that we “more clearly hear Him as we refine our ability to recognize the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. It has never been more imperative to know how the Spirit speaks to you than right now. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is the messenger. He will bring thoughts to your mind which the Father and Son want you to receive. He is the Comforter. He will bring a feeling of peace to your heart. He testifies of truth and will confirm what is true as you hear and read the word of the Lord.”1
I love Boyd K. Packer’s explanation, “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. It is described as a ‘still small voice.’ And while we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling …’”2
Understanding how the Spirit speaks to us personally is so important. I reluctantly share a not-so-good personal experience. My dad’s mom was one of the sweetest women ever! I don’t ever remember hearing her complain. She was gentle and loving and giving. I learned so many valuable lessons from my grandma! Sadly, she spent her last few years battling cancer. One morning I needed to run a quick errand. At the time I had small children, so when my husband offered to go to work a minute late, I gladly accepted and told him I would hurry. On my way home, I got the impression that I should go see Grandma. I brushed the thought aside, telling myself I would go later since I really needed to let my husband get to work. Several hours later, I got a call from my sister who had gone to visit Grandma. When she arrived, Grandma was laying on the kitchen floor, unable to move. She had gone in to fix herself some breakfast and had fallen. She laid, shivering on the cold, hard floor for hours, in and out of consciousness, with a broken hip. The prompting I had received was within minutes of her fall. Because I ignored it, my sweet grandma endured needless hours of pain and suffering. I felt sick! I had not recognized that impression as a prompting from the Holy Ghost. That day I asked Heavenly Father to forgive me for ignoring the Spirit and promised to never do that again. Every day I try to keep that commitment to my Heavenly Father. It takes conscious effort to hear spiritual promptings in an increasingly noisy and casual world.
Where do I hear Him? – In 3 Nephi 17:3, the Savior Himself tells us, “ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds.”3 Surely we can and will hear Him as we read, ponder and study the scriptures, and when we are on our knees in humble prayer. One of my favorite places to hear Him is in the temple. I love to be in His holy house! Remember, spiritual impressions come when we are quiet enough to hear them. They continue to come as we listen to and act upon them.
When do I hear Him? – If we prepare ourselves spiritually, we can hear Him anytime and anywhere. No matter what is going on around us, if everything is right within us, we will hear Him. President Nelson has warned us that “it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”4 He has encouraged us, even pleaded with us, to “hear the voice of the Spirit more frequently and more clearly.”4 Earlier this month, he said, “I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation.”1 I think that is so significant! This isn’t just a suggestion for us, it’s a plea.
When I think of pleading, I think of those times when I have needed Heavenly Father’s help more than anything else—when I needed something only He could give me. Our pleadings are often in our most trying times. President Nelson reminds us, “Our Father knows that when we are surrounded by uncertainty and fear, what will help us the very most is to hear His Son. Because when we seek to hear—truly hear—His Son, we will be guided to know what to do in any circumstance.”1 When we hear Him, He can heal us. When we hear Him, He can comfort us. When we hear Him, He can teach us. When we hear Him, He can guide us.
Oh how wise we will be to follow the prophet’s counsel to increase our spiritual capacity. He said, “In those two words—’Hear Him’—God gives us the pattern for success, happiness, and joy in this life. We are to hear the words of the Lord, hearken to them, and heed what He has told us! As we seek to be disciples of Jesus Christ, our efforts to hear Him need to be ever more intentional.”1
It is difficult to comprehend the peace and protection we will feel in our lives when we truly know how, where and when to hear Him.
1. Hear Him – Russell M. Nelson
2. Personal Revelation: The Gift, The Test and the Promise – Boyd K. Packer
3. 3 Nephi 17:3
4. Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives – Russell M. Nelson