Archive for the ‘holy ghost’ Tag

Let Me Talk About Duty

Reading: “Our Path of Duty,” Bishop Kieth B. McMullin, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishophric, April 2010 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

Each of us has a duty to obey God in return for all that he has done for us. Bishop McMullin states,

The duty of which I speak is what we are expected to do and to be. It is a moral imperative summoning forth from individuals and communities that which is right, true, and honorable. Duty does not require perfection, but it does require diligence. It is not simply what is legal; it is what is virtuous. It is not reserved to the mighty or high in station but instead rests on a foundation of personal responsibility, integrity, and courage. Doing one’s duty is a manifestation of one’s faith.

Bishop McMullin refrains from giving a list of our duties, or specific instructions on how to fulfill our duties. Instead he asks us to pray for that instruction, and to pray with the Spirit:

It is as important to be guided by the Holy Spirit while praying as it is to be enlightened by that same Spirit while receiving an answer to prayer. Such prayer brings forth the blessings of heaven because our Father “knoweth what things [we] have need of, before [we] ask him,” and He answers every sincere prayer.

Just this afternoon I felt a prompting for a specific prayer. For the past two days my two year old has refused to take a nap. She has played by herself in her room for hours rather than go to sleep. Today as I was putting my daughter down for her nap I felt a prompting to say prayer with my daughter that she could sleep. And, today, she went right to sleep and is sleeping right now. This may seem silly to you, but it was a huge help to me. First of all, it has been a stressful week of very little sleep (for me) and it was an encouragement to see an answer to prayer like this. Second, after those two days I was seriously wondering whether she was starting to outgrow her nap and whether I should stop trying to get her to nap altogether (which would mean a huge change in her daily schedule and mine), but today I am sure that she still needs a nap and I should not give up on them.The Spirit can guide us to pray for the right things so that we can get the answers we need to fulfill our duties, such as making sure a two year old is getting the rest she needs to be happy and healthy.

Has the Spirit ever guided you to pray for something that helped you? Has the Spirit ever helped you to fulfill your duties better than you could by yourself?

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Helping Others Recognize the Spirit

Reading: “Helping Others Recognize the Whisperings of the Spirit,” Vicki F. Matsumori, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency

I often think about how I can teach my children to love the gospel.  Sometimes when I see the world around us I feel what I can do is inadequate to counter the outside pressures my children will face as they grow older.  In this talk Sister Matsumori gives several suggestions of ways we can help our children and others recognize the Spirit in their life.  These include:

  • Help them understand doctrine
  • Share your personal testimony
  • Provide an environment where the Spirit can be felt

This talk helped remind me that what I am trying to do is not so much force feed my testimony into my children’s heads, but rather to help them grow their own testimony.  A testimony will come from the Spirit witnessing to them personally. Their feeling the Spirit is something I can do much to encourage, but it is not something I can directly control. The Spirit is the source of testimony, and it is only through the Spirit that they can see the truthfulness of the things I want to teach them.

How do you help your children, or the people in your life, recognize the Spirit? What did your parents, or teachers, or others do that helped your testimony grow?

Learning to Listen to the Spirit

Reading: “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2009 General Conference, Saturday Morning Session

In a time where life sometimes moves at lightning speeds, it is increasingly important for us to know how to follow spiritual promptings.  In his talk Elder Scott gives a primer on how to receive guidance from the Spirit.  His talk was full of more principles of personal revelation than I could discuss in a single blog post, but the one point that stood out to me was his specific advice on how to handle spiritual guidance when it is received. He said,

I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you.

The Spirit has been a sweet companion at many times in my life, sometimes stronger than others.  As I think back to times where I felt the spirit especially strong, I remember doing a lot of writing in my journal and thinking about how to apply the promptings I received.  Without reading this talk I would think that this was simply a result of having more promptings to write and think about. Yet, after reading Elder Scott’s talk, I am thinking that maybe if I put more effort into listening to, writing about, and applying my spiritual promptings then I would feel that great spiritual outpouring again.

How do you react when you receive a spiritual prompting? What can you do to show your readiness to receive more guidance from the Spirit?

GPS For the Soul

Reading: “Gifts to Help Us Navigate Our Life,” Elder Jose A. Teixera of the Seventy, April 2009 General Conference, Sunday Afternoon Session

As we travel we have many tools that help us find our way.  We use maps and now we have GPS which can tell us exactly where we are at any time.  In order for GPS to work, though, it has to be linked up to the satellites that calculate your position.  Without that link your GPS is worthless.

Elder Teixera tells us that GPS is similar to many gifts of the Spirit we have to find our way through life.  These gifts include:

  • The light of Christ
  • The Holy Ghost
  • Prophets

Each of these things can help us find our way, but only if we pay attention to them and remain worthy of the Spirit’s assistance.  Elder Teixera tells us:

I testify that our Father in Heaven is mindful of each one of us, that He listens to and answers our prayers, and that He communicates with His prophets to guide us. As we develop our faith to believe and live the words of prophets, we will strengthen our testimony of the plan of happiness and the central role of Jesus Christ in it.

When I listen to the Holy Ghost and to the prophets it certainly helps me in my life.  Sometimes I get distracted, often by things that are good in their own right, but are inferior to listening to and following the Spirit.  When I remain humble and fix my attention on the Savior and what he would have me do I am always blessed.

Today I am going to pray for help listening to the Spirit’s prompting and staying focused on what God would have me focused on.

What role has these gifts played in your life?  What can you do to help keep your link with God?