Education Week: Preparing to receive personal revelation

The lowering of the missionary age change has resulted in an increase of sister missionaries in the field. Photo by Sally Morrow.
Revelation does not often come through passive waiting; it often requires taking action and a lot of patience. Photo by Sally Morrow.

The Lord’s timing is often a combination of personal preparation and perseverance.

BYU Education Week presenter Lynne Hilton Wilson taught that revelation can be received at all times and can pertain to all subjects, not just religious ones. However, revelation is the result of effort and persistence.

“You cannot be passive,” Wilson said. “It is your responsibility to actively seek the Spirit.”

Actively seeking the Spirit includes praying, reading scriptures, and turning to trusted mentors who can assist in finding answers to prayers. When it is the right time and a person is ready to receive answers, then they will be given. However, the timing of the answers may not be what is expected or anticipated.

Wilson told the story of a woman who went through the temple but did not feel the Spirit. She continued to attend the temple regularly but still did not feel the Spirit. It was not until 10 years later, when she volunteered to work in the temple once a week, that she received revelation and manifestations of the Spirit. Through this story, Wilson emphasized the importance of persistence.

“Do not give up,” Wilson said. “It may take you 10 years, but keep at it.”

The Spirit is constantly sending messages of love. However, its quiet whisperings may be overpowered by other influences, such as strong emotions, making it hard to decipher the source of the message.

Because of this, Wilson discussed taking time out each day to be alone with the Lord in order to feel the Spirit. This allows the Lord to give answers to prayers, she said.

Wilson also taught that all matters are worthy of prayer. Joseph Smith prayed about spiritual matters, but he also prayed for other things such as weather. Wilson gave the example of praying for rain in California during the drought. Church members who fasted and prayed together were blessed with rain.

“Exert your faith in any way,” Wilson said. “If it is right, the Lord will bless you.”

One problem with revelation that Wilson addressed was two people getting different answers to the same question. An example she used was a couple who wanted to get married. One received the answer that the two were to marry, but the other received the opposite answer — that it wasn’t right.

Wilson said in that instance, the Lord’s answers were interpreted differently and the couple needed to make sure they were asking the same question in the right way. People must ask the right question in order to receive the right answer, she said.

Answers to prayer are not always direct and are not always what is expected, but they come in the best interest of the one giving the answer, Wilson added. While a person might think a certain path it right, the Lord knows what is best.

The Lord wants to answer all prayers, Wilson said, and does so in his own way. The key is to learn how to hear the voice of the Lord, as it takes many forms and is easily overpowered. By actively seeking for answers, people can receive personal revelation through the Spirit that includes the guidance they are seeking.

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