My question today was inspired by a talk given by President Russell M. Nelson in the most recent general conference. He gave the following advice:
Understand that in the absence of experiences with God, one can doubt the existence of God. So, put yourself in a position to begin having experiences with Him. Humble yourself. Pray to have eyes to see God’s hand in your life and in the world around you. Ask Him to tell you if He is really there—if He knows you. Ask Him how He feels about you. And then listen (“Come, Follow Me,” General Conference, April 2019).
I do believe in God, and I have had experiences with Him throughout my life. But after hearing this counsel from President Nelson, I’ve been pondering the following question: “What can I do to have more experiences with God? How can I put myself into a position to have more experiences with Him?”
The question became more urgent as I connected it with Alma’s question to the people of Zarahemla:
If ye have experienced a Alma 5:26)of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the of redeeming love, I would ask, ye feel so now? (
A memory of past spiritual experiences is insufficient to support current faith. Consistent experiences with God are necessary to sustain faith over time.
I remembered the prayer of Lamoni’s father, king over all the Lamanites, after the missionary Aaron assured him that there is a God:
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day (Alma 22:18).
Two things impress me about this prayer:
- He spoke to God even when though he was unsure that there was a God. With this action, he exercised faith in the words he had been taught, and he invited God into his heart and mind.
- He was willing to commit to take specific actions. This was not idle curiosity. It was serious inquiry.
I remembered the words of King Mosiah:
How Mosiah 5:13)a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart? (
To know God, we must serve God. By so doing, we train our thoughts and feelings to be centered on Him.
Then I remembered the words of a prayer offered by the Savior during His visit to the American continent. Speak of the twelve disciples whom He had chosen, He said:
Father, Iunto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them thou, Father, art in me, that we may be
Today, I will place myself in circumstances where I can have experiences with my Heavenly Father. I will pray, not just to fulfill a duty, but to connect with Him. I will strive to serve Him. I will ask Him questions and listen for answers. I will strive to attune my heart and mind to His voice, believing that He wants to be close to me and will draw near to me as I draw near to Him (Doctrine & Covenants 88:63).