“Do you recall the slow and almost imperceptible increase in light on the horizon… gradually and steadily the intensity of the light increased, and the darkness of night was replaced by the radiance of morning. Eventually, the sun did dawn over the skyline. But the visual evidence of the sun’s impending arrival was apparent hours before the sun actually appeared over the horizon.” –Elder David A. Bednar, “Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign, May 2011
My second companion on my mission taught me a valuable lesson that was the beginning of my “revelation record” keeping journey. Each night and morning she would get out her little notebook and have it open while she prayed to record impressions that came to her. I don’t remember if we’d had a mission conference that introduced the idea to us, but I do remember her consistent example of asking, receiving, recording, and striving to act on those promptings. I decided to follow her example and began keeping my own “prayer journal.” One blessing resulting from that habit was an attuned ability to receiving specific answers to my prayers that I was able to then record and remember.
One significant revelation I recorded in that prayer journal came as an answer to prayer as I was nearing the end of my mission. The feeling is very much ingrained on my heart and in my mind even now, and came in response to a question, maybe even a series of questions, that I was feeling so deeply in my heart.
I was really sad about my mission coming to a close. I was worried about not having a specific purpose I could plan my entire day around, my missionary badge that told the world I represented Christ, spiritual experiences constantly as I was consecrating my life to inviting others to come unto Christ, etc. So as I was praying about this “loss” I was about to experience, the thought came to me one day as I was praying: becoming a mother would be even more important and fulfilling than serving my full-time mission.
That simple answer brought power and peace to my heart that I have referred back to often. Especially when dealing with the challenges of motherhood.
About a year after returning home, I had a friend refer me to the talk, “Unleashing the Dormant Spirit” by F. Enzio Busche. One of the messages I received from the talk was the importance of being “thorough and responsible [in my prayers] for the Spirit to take notice.” It’s a thought that has stayed with me through the years.
At one point around the time I read this talk, my prayer journal had been filled and I hadn’t bought a new one so I was using sticky notes to record my impressions. They were not organized. I read a quote in Preach My Gospel that stood out to me as it never had before: “Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light” (Elder Richard G. Scott, “Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 86). It was a reminder to me that I needed to be recording my promptings in a sacred place to show the Lord I held them sacred. Again, the Lord was teaching me to be more responsible with the way I asked and recorded His teachings to me.
Fast forward to the present. Last week as I read about creating a “revelation record,” it added to my record-keeping tutelage. I know it is going to take further discipline and organization to record revelation and then record the results and further promptings from acting upon the guidance the Lord has given me. It’s a message the Lord is teaching me, line upon line, precept upon precept, of how to receive His voice.
After reading about the revelation record, I began pondering a specific prompting I’d received about two months ago to increase my temple attendance to going weekly. I was feeling content with my every-other-week temple attendance as a mother of young children, but I am SO grateful I acted on that prompting. During my next temple trip I felt impressed to contact a friend. After acting on that prompting, several blessings came, including being introduced to the Mentored by the Master program and receiving a direct answer I would not have expected on what to do to help my little boy. I’m realizing that by acting on one prompting often multiple blessings and additional promptings follow. Through these experiences, He is teaching me more about personal revelation: as we act, blessings will come, for He loves us and desires to bless us.
Over the past month or so as the spirit has been teaching me the things I must do and as I act upon those promptings, I’m feeling what is best described by Elder Neal A. Maxwell as “mute comprehension.” He stated, “Sometimes the things we know take the form of knowledge about what is happening to us in life in which we sense purpose, in which we sense divine design, but which we cannot speak about with full articulateness” (“But for a Small Moment”, BYU Speeches, Sept. 1, 1974).
My husband and I were listening to “The Spirit of Revelation” by Elder David A. Bednar the other evening and his description of revelation coming as a sunrise stood out to me as the perfect description of what I feel I am experiencing right now. “The gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God ‘line upon line, precept upon precept’ (2 Nephi 28:30). Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation. Such communications from Heavenly Father gradually and gently “distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45).”
I think the way Karmel described it also brings clarity: “A collection of promptings usually lead up to a moment of specific and clear revelation.”
I am experiencing a beautiful sunrise right now. As I look back on my experiences of the Lord teaching me how to hear His voice, record His promptings, ask with sincerity and thoughtfulness, and act in faith, I realize I’m experiencing a sunrise that’s taking years (and will take many more) for that sun to come fully up over my mountains. I am experiencing the warmth of the sun-rays of revelation right now and feel certain that eventually the sun will completely rise and illuminate the questions I have in my life. It is teaching me to trust in Him and utilize the light that He gives me so that I may one day “[know] all things” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:28).