Does God really want to speak to you? Yes!
But how do we hear His voice?
When it comes to questions like this, I’m one who really wants to be told what to do. Of course, that’s often not the way prayers are answered or the way we are taught from above. After all, it’s a gift that we get to choose for ourselves (I see you, Agency!). And yet, I can’t help myself… I’m still ever looking for the instruction manual. I struggle with phrases like “whatever you think” or “it’s up to your interpretation,” because I immediately worry that I’m thinking or interpreting wrong.
So, when I do find specific instructions, I get excited to test them for myself. That’s exactly what happened with a talk about revelation for our lives that was given by Russell M. Nelson in April 2018. As soon as I got my hands on a copy of his address, I immediately started marking like crazy as I identified specific steps he was offering. They laid out a beautiful formula for more powerful prayers.
Six months have gone by, and I will never turn back from this formula now. It has not only improved my personal prayers, but it has also become a wonderful guide to helping me see how spiritually-minded I am on any given day.
I’ll share the formula first and then how I’ve come to use it. I highly encourage you to test it for yourself!
Step 1: Find a quiet place where you can regularly go and humble yourself before God.
Step 2: Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
Step 3: Listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings.
Step 4: Follow through with actions that you are prompted to take.
I bought a prayer journal specifically for my “test project.” I wrote out the steps on the first page, then each day as I followed them, I wrote any promptings I felt. I also made a little box next to that prompting so I could check it off once I had completed it.
Now, I mentioned that this has also become a guide for me to recognize my own spirituality on any given day. That’s because in doing this, I’m quickly aware if I’m feeling more grateful, more complacent or even complainy, more connected or more alone in my thoughts. All of these different experiences help me recognize if maybe there are things I need to change.
President Nelson shared, “You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. … I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that ‘if thou shalt seek, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.’”
Each day a few more lines are added to my little prayer journal. I feel this simple formula helping my prayers grow more powerful, day by day, month by month, and eventually, I trust, year by year.