Recent messages from general conferences remind us of the imminent second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to prepare ourselves and to warn our neighbors of this prophesied future event. A common theme is the absolute necessity for all to better hear and feel the Spirit of God and act on its promptings.
We are counseled to turn more purposefully toward Christ and to follow the Savior far more stridently and be more dedicated as his disciples. Doing the will of Christ for each of us in the last days is a personalized endeavor that you and I only learn through direct inspiration from the Spirit.
One of my purposes in this talk is to persuade more of us to open ourselves to the influence of the Lord and the Spirit so we can be led to the situations we are meant to be in and so we can become the people we are meant to be. This has been referred to with the phrase Let God prevail , because he loves us, knows what is best for us, and we need to better learn to put our trust in him .
In 2012, I was in a very stable job based here in Tucumcari. Lisa seemed happy but I was very unfulfilled. Should I go back to college, find a different career field, or just look for a new situation? I offered some prayers about my problem, but they weren’t very specific and how on earth was the Spirit supposed to answer a question like “What is my next step?”
“What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer? You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of [Heavenly Father’s] trust. When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust. As you are sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, one of two things will certainly occur at the appropriate time: either the stupor of thought will come, indicating an improper choice, or the peace or the burning in the bosom will be felt, confirming that your choice was correct. When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision.”
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2007, 10.
I began to pray new prayers. I wasn’t asking Heavenly Father for an detailed explanation of what I should do. I decided to pursue opportunities that I found appealing and pray that wise opportunities would come to pass and that bad opportunities would fall apart, because on my own, I usually can’t tell them apart. Like praying for things like patience, our Heavenly Father has proven eager to steer me toward improvement and the best path for me and my family and throw up obstacles to paths we should not tread.
Here are some examples of failed opportunities from 2012 and 2013:
Going to graduate school in Scotland;
Working with an old employer doing marine seismic oil exploration;
Entering the US Foreign Service and working at embassies; and
Taking the family and working in Alaska.
(Lisa actually agreed to some of these, I won’t say which.)
It was very difficult to see some very tempting opportunities disappear, but I trusted that the Lord knew better what I should do than I did.
Ultimately, this method got me to earn an online master’s degree, jobs working with computer servers, military and government contracting work, a move to Oklahoma City (and back), and finally to the executive position I hold presently. As Lisa and I look back, each situation prepared us for further opportunities and contributed to our progression, all without much planning or goal-setting on my part. The Lord and the Spirit have been in the driver’s seat and it has worked out very well and in ways that I would have never anticipated.
The random conference talk radio station
I wanted to listen to General Conference talks each Sunday Morning. At first, I had downloaded all the sessions and created a simple script to play each complete session in turn during the morning - The problem was that because I woke at very specific times, I only really listened to one or two talks from any one session.
It went a little better when I played each session randomly instead of in order, which gave me a different session each Sunday Morning. Although an improvement in providing conference sessions on different days, I only heard the first few talks of each session and often missed the Prophet who commonly speaks last.
I changed my setup and downloaded each individual talk and hymn and randomized those - now I heard a different talk or piece of music as I listened in the mornings.
BUT I DIDN’T! I discovered that randomness let the Lord influence what was heard and when it was heard!
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the talks from the First Presidency. It’s disproportionate relative to how many other talks are available in the randomized playlist, but it is still there. Through this mechanism, I have somehow allowed the Lord to produce his own “general conference mix” tailored to the needs of myself and my family, I believe. By doing this, I have come to realize that I opened something of a door in our lives and let the Lord in.
Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”
You don’t have to wonder about what is true. You do not have to wonder whom you can safely trust. Through personal revelation, you can receive your own witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the Lord’s Church. Regardless of what others may say or do, no one can ever take away a witness borne to your heart and mind about what is true.
I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”
Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”
Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.
For several months, I worked during the week relatively close to the temple in Albuquerque. In a very miraculous way, I was able to acquire a car that reduced my expenses sufficiently to make twice-weekly trips to do temple work. I don’t think that I would have been led to the opportunity to buy this particular car unless I had been committed to using it to attend the temple often. When we are resolved to do the work the Lord commands us to do, the Lord provides us with time and resources to accomplish that work, it seems. God rewards those who are obedient in numerous ways, large and small.
My brothers and sisters, I plead with you to make time for the Lord! Make your own spiritual foundation firm and able to stand the test of time by doing those things that allow the Holy Ghost to be with you always.
Never underestimate the profound truth that “the Spirit speaketh … of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.” “It will show unto you all things what ye should do.”
President Nelson has summed up the grand key to getting the inspiration all of us need. “Let God prevail.”
When your greatest desire is to let God prevail, to be part of Israel, so many decisions become easier. So many issues become nonissues! You know how best to groom yourself. You know what to watch and read, where to spend your time, and with whom to associate. You know what you want to accomplish. You know the kind of person you really want to become.
Now, my dear brothers and sisters, it takes both faith and courage to let God prevail. It takes persistent, rigorous spiritual work to repent and to put off the natural man through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It takes consistent, daily effort to develop personal habits to study the gospel, to learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and to seek and respond to personal revelation.
During these perilous times of which the Apostle Paul prophesied, Satan is no longer even trying to hide his attacks on God’s plan. Emboldened evil abounds. Therefore, the only way to survive spiritually is to be determined to let God prevail in our lives, to learn to hear His voice, and to use our energy to help gather Israel.
As we face these last days, may we heed the counsel of our prophets and apostles and better connect with the Holy Spirit. As we do, we will get the specific answers that we need.
Now, I leave you with the blessing of my fathers:
The LORD bless you and protect you!
The LORD deal kindly and graciously with you!
The LORD bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!