General Conference consistently offers great inspiration and counsel. I hoped to post on it, but the texts of addresses aren’t yet available. So we’ll have to wait for that.
But we don’t have to wait to consider the blessings of Conference. Every six months we receive a Liahona, as it were. Of that director Alma said,
And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it.
Did you catch that? Because the miracles came by small means, the people slacked off and therefore didn’t progress in their journey.
Are we singles stifled in our journey because we’ve grown inattentive to the small miracles by which God divines to direct us? And what exactly are those small miracles? Surely Conference is one. But what other Liahonas do we have?
To improve my prayers, I’ve been studying scriptures about prayer. And I’ve been learning tons.
If the quantity of scriptures that reference prayer suggests anything, God cares most about what our prayers contain. Why we pray comes in a distant second place.
And the scriptures speak more about praying for others than for ourselves. It’s not wrong to pray for ourselves. There’s just many more scriptures describing or extolling praying for others.
My prayer study has humbled me when I consider how oft my prayers revolve around myself.
I’ve posted before about a book on fasting written by an author of another faith. He extolled fasting to respond to life events rather than to secure divine intervention. Again, the scriptures support fasting to ask for God’s favor. But just as I found with prayer, many more scriptures describe fasting as a response to a trigger event in life. The intention is not to procure a desired result but rather to near oneself to God.
In the time since my post, my fasting has fallen short of that standard. Again, the realization that I’m not where I should be humbles me.
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received--
If the way before feels darkened, reconsider your approach to the scriptures.
The House of the Lord is a marvelous blessing. We’ve all heard stories about people who lived far from a temple sacrificing greatly to attend. Yet how often do we who live close to a temple make time to attend?
If your temple attendance has become rote, I recommend (pun intended) that you change your approach. I found my experience changed when I changed my approach to reflect more fully Psalms 24:3-6.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
By taking the time to wash my hands and examine my heart, I stopped rushing the experience. Now I arrive early to sit and ponder before my session. I’ve found more guidance in the temple by taking this approach. Being still has opened me to instruction I wouldn’t have otherwise received.
My own patriarchal blessing speaks about my marriage and family in this life. After almost twenty years of being home from my mission, I’ve yet to receive those blessings. Of course, I wonder.
But I still treat it like the personal scripture it is. I’ve organized it into verses and printed it out to look like pages of scriptures. I placed these pages inside my scriptures. I’ve also included a digital copy as notes in my digital version of the scriptures.
Just as with the temple, I've found my approach makes all the difference. And just like prayer and fasting, I find myself humbled by how short I’ve fallen in my attention to this Liahona. I don’t consult it as frequently as I should.
Get on track
How diligently are we seeking direction from the small things — the many Liahonas — that God has provided to give us direction?
If your answer to that question feels lacking, I have great news. You can get back on track! Focus more attention on the Liahonas God has provided in your life.
Each of the Liahonas just discussed can easily become rote exercises if not performed with conscious intent. Autopilot will never lead you to a life fully lived. You must be present in what you do while you do it to tap the full experience available. And part of that full experience is receiving the guidance we all need for our lives.
If you’re off track, own your life and get back on track. If your prayers aren’t where they should be, get them there. Likewise if your fasting isn’t where it needs to be. Same for your scripture study, temple attendance, and patriarchal blessing. The Lord is trying to give you the direction you need. Are you trying to hear Him?
O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever. (Alma 37:46)
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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