Nephi, the son of Helaman, prayed on a tower beside a highway, expressing his sorrow for wickedness of his people (Helaman 7:10-11). Twenty-two years later, his son, also named Nephi, also became sorrowful when the unbelievers among his people threatened to put to death the believers.
And it came to pass that he went out and bowed himself down upon the earth, and cried mightily to his God in behalf of his people, yea, those who were about to be destroyed because of their faith in the tradition of their fathers.
And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day.3 Nephi 1:11-12
In response to this earnest prayer, “the voice of the Lord came unto him” (3 Nephi 1:12). He was told that the sign prophesied by Samuel the Lamanite would occur that night, and that the Savior would be born the following day.
Years ago, when we lived in Boston, an extraordinary church leader, Ken Hutchins, asked a group of local leaders, “How do you think I receive inspiration from the Lord?” He said, “I receive it the same way you do. I have to be on my knees.”
Elder Robert D. Hales explained that the process we follow to receive personal revelation is the same process followed by prophets. He provided the following guidance to help us in receiving personal revelation, and revelation to direct us in our responsibilities:
- “We prepare to receive personal revelation as the prophets do, by studying the scriptures, fasting, praying, and building faith.”
- “You must study it out in your mind” (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8). After praying, you may need to take a walk, ponder, talk with others, and then study and pray again.
- When an answer doesn’t come immediately, we need to “move forward in faith,” doing the best we can and believing that answers will come in the Lord’s time. Answers come after “the trial of our faith” (Ether 12:6) and sometimes, “that trial is the time it takes before an answer is received.”
(“Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets,” General Conference, October 2007)
In 2018, President Russell M. Nelson said, “I plead with you to increase your spiritual capacity to receive revelation” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” General Conference, April 2018). Two years later, he said, “I renew my plea for you to do whatever it takes to increase your spiritual capacity to receive personal revelation” (“Hear Him,” General Conference, April 2020).
Today, I will follow the example of Nephi and his son and the guidance of Elder Hales and President Nelson. I will seek personal revelation about the challenges I face and the decisions I need to make. I will pray, I will take time to ponder, and I will move forward, believing that answers will come.