4. Draw Near unto Me
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:63).
Relying upon God’s Guidance and Direction
Many times we are confronted with problems that seem beyond our own capability and understanding to overcome. Our need for help can lead us to ask our loving Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. We have been counseled, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). The Lord desires to answer our prayers and will speak to us through the Holy Ghost. Elder Richard G. Scott taught, “Impressions of the Spirit can come in response to urgent prayer or unsolicited when needed. Sometimes the Lord reveals truth to you when you are not actively seeking it, such as when you are in danger and do not know it” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 8).
Receiving revelation will require effort on our part. President Harold B. Lee said: “We develop our spiritual selves by practice. . . . We must train our spiritual selves with the same care . . . as we train our physical bodies.” He counseled, “Take time to be holy each day of your lives” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee , 175–76). It is important to set aside time to meditate, ponder, and turn our hearts toward heaven. This will help us receive, recognize, and understand the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
The situation with our loved one can require our urgent attention and can cause us to desperately seek answers or direction. Our sense of urgency might cause us to expect immediate spiritual help. While the Lord’s responses come quickly at times, the scriptures teach us that revelation is given “line upon line” (Isaiah 28:10). We can patiently “wait upon the Lord” (Isaiah 40:31) and trust that He will speak to us. This is one way that our patience and character are refined. Just as the people of Nephi “understood not the voice which they heard” until the third time (see 3 Nephi 11:3), it might take time for us to recognize personal revelation.
How have you felt the Lord guide and direct you in your relationship with your loved one?
What will you do to seek revelation from the Lord to guide you?
Studying the Word of God
When we want to know what the Lord would have us do, we can search and ponder the scriptures. As Nephi taught in the Book of Mormon, “the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3). Elder Richard G. Scott has said, “Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high. They can become the key to open the channel to communion with our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ” (“The Power of Scripture,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 6). The scriptures can be a means through which the Lord can speak to us and help us on our journey of peace and healing. As we ponder the scriptures and their teachings in our lives, we can seek guidance from the Spirit to understand how to seek healing from the Savior.
Partaking of the Sacrament
The sacrament is a time for reflection. We partake of the sacrament in remembrance of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us and to renew our covenants. The sacrament can be a sacred time for us to reconcile and submit our will to God’s and be spiritually strengthened. This may require us to suspend thinking about our loved one and focus on our own spiritual strength. While it is natural to turn our thoughts during the sacrament to our loved ones and how their challenges are impacting us, we need to take the time during the sacrament to strengthen our relationship with God and the Savior. We, in turn, are spiritually strengthened through the enabling power of the Savior Jesus Christ. It is important to not let anything distract us from renewing our covenants with the Lord, not even the actions and choices of our loved ones.
Although we desire our loved ones to come unto Christ and be healed, this is something that they must do for themselves. Heavenly Father waits patiently for them to exercise faith in Christ and take the necessary steps toward recovery. We too must be patient and align our will to God’s. The sacrament provides an opportunity to demonstrate that we are willing to submit to Heavenly Father while we endure in faith. Replacing our desires with trust in His will is one way that we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and always remember Him (see D&C 20:77, 79).
How can the ordinance of the sacrament strengthen you?
Attending the Temple
We may struggle in going to the temple because a loved one is not able to be with us. However, the weakness and addictions of a loved one do not affect the right of a spouse or family member to attend the temple, nor should they affect our sense of worthiness to attend. Temple worship and service can provide us with the strength and blessings we need to press forward and keep an eternal perspective. President Boyd K. Packer said, “Temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church. We should expect that the adversary will try to interfere with us as a Church and with us individually as we seek to participate in this sacred and inspired work” (“The Holy Temple,” Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2010, 35). Despite the challenges we might face as we strive to attend the temple, we can draw close to the Lord in His house and receive His strength to move forward with faith and hope.
President Packer continues, “When members of the Church are troubled or when crucial decisions weigh heavily upon their minds, it is a common thing for them to go to the temple. It is a good place to take our cares. In the temple we can receive spiritual perspective. . . . Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known” (“The Holy Temple,” Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2010, 35).
How has temple worship blessed you? How can attending the temple strengthen you in your current challenges?
Seeking the Companionship of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger. Through Him, we can receive gifts of the Spirit for our benefit and for the benefit of those we love and serve (see D&C 46:9–11). He truly is the Comforter (see John 14:26). As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whisperings of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of our life, and comfort us when we grieve. The Holy Ghost can fill us with “hope and perfect love” (Moroni 8:26) and can “teach [us] the peaceable things of the kingdom” (D&C 36:2).
Discerning the whisperings of the Spirit may be challenging, especially during the emotionally charged situations we sometimes face with our loved ones. At times we may question whether the impressions we receive are our own feelings or the promptings of the Spirit. Elder David A. Bednar taught, “If you and I have a sincere desire for the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, invite His influence into our lives through our obedience and actions, and learn to heed simple promptings and to do so quickly, then I testify and promise that we will be able to tell the difference between our own emotions telling us what we want to hear and the Holy Ghost telling us what we need to hear” (“Receiving, Recognizing, and Responding to the Promptings of the Holy Ghost“ [Brigham Young University–Idaho devotional, Aug. 31, 1999], byui.edu). The Holy Ghost provides us with peace and direction as we seek guidance and press forward in faith.
How has the Holy Ghost comforted you in affliction?
How have you learned to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost?
What promptings have you received from the Holy Ghost? How will you act on them?
As you study the resources listed below, prayerfully consider how you can apply the principles they teach.
John 14:26–27 (The Holy Ghost can help us remember things and feel peace)
1 Nephi 15:8–11 (The Lord makes things known unto us)
2 Nephi 32:3–5 (We receive revelation through the words of Christ and the Holy Ghost)
Alma 17:2–3 (The scriptures, prayer, and fasting are a means to receive revelation)
David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 87–90
Robert D. Hales, “Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 34–36
Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 45–47
Richard G. Scott, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 43–45
Personal Learning and Application
The following activities are to enhance your learning and application of these principles. Keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, insights, and plans to implement what you learn. As the needs and circumstances in your life change, repeating these activities will provide you with new insights.
Study and ponder Elder Robert D. Hales’s talk “Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service,” and ponder the question, “How can I draw close to the Lord through the sacrament and temple attendance?” What do you learn?
Study and ponder Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk, “Temple Worship: The Source of Strength and Power in Times of Need.” How can the temple help you draw near unto the Lord? How will attending the temple bless you?
How do you receive personal revelation? What does it feel like? How does it come? Watch “Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation,” and look for additional insights about receiving revelation.
Watch “Voice of the Spirit“ or “Feeling the Holy Ghost“ and think about how you can strengthen the influence of the Holy Ghost in your life. What will you do to have the Holy Ghost with you more abundantly? How can the Holy Ghost help you at this time?
Study and ponder Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life.” What things distract you or hinder your ability to receive revelation? What actions will you take to help you obtain revelation?
Consider the principles found in these hymns and songs: “In Humility, Our Savior“ (Hymns, no. 172); “Father in Heaven, We Do Believe“ (Hymns, no. 180); “Let the Holy Spirit Guide“ (Hymns, no. 143); “Oh, May My Soul Commune with Thee“ (Hymns, no. 123); “Search, Ponder, and Pray“ (Children’s Songbook, no. 109).