Communication is a huge part of the way we operate as humans. In the last decade, we have evolved from face to face conversations to texts, IM’s, and DM’s. Interacting and communicating with others is how we feel connected, and when it is lacking it can lead to loneliness, despair, and even anxiety.
Years ago, when we were traveling in Europe, our daughter felt the void of not being able to connect with me. It was not because of a lack of trying. I had a new SIM card which meant an international number. Each time I tried to Facetime her she didn’t answer. Texts weren’t going through, and the isolation was really getting to her. Finally, I was able to get a message to her about my new number and she answered the next time I tried to connect.
The struggle we had to communicate reminded me of a similar struggle I sometimes feel in my own life. I have a deep yearning to communicate with my Heavenly Father. There is peace and comfort that comes from regular two-way communication. I may voice my desire in prayer, but stopping to listen to His response is a powerful force in my life.
What do we need to do to hear His voice and feel His response in our time of need? Learning to commune with God requires effort on our part. And as Russell M. Nelson recently said: “The Lord loves effort, because effort brings rewards that can’t come without it.”
So how do you hear Him? What kind of effort are you giving the Lord? How does God communicate with you?
How often do I feel like prayer is a one-way conversation? How often do I talk about what I need without listening to how He thinks I can make something work?
Prayer is the first step in our effort to commune with God. I think of giving unwanted gifts to my children. Giving before they even know what they want. Those gifts are usually the least appreciated because their desire or need had not yet been recognized.
In much the same way, Prayer is a means for us to show Heavenly Father what we desire. The old saying “actions speak louder than words” is especially true with prayer.
Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”Bible Dictionary
What do we need to do to hear His voice and feel His response in our time of need? Like my daughter wanting to talk with me, she had to do her part (answer when I called) to be able to connect with me. We need to make sure our lines of communication are open and ready for when the answers come.
The best way I’ve found to open those lines of communication is to study my scriptures consistently. Notice I used the word study. I’m not talking about casually reading a verse or two. This is searching for meaning within the written words.
The scriptures are like a written “recording” of the “voice” of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. As we study the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read. As we return repeatedly to the holy scriptures, we gain experience and confidence in hearing and feeling His voice.”David A. Bednar
I can read a verse a hundred times and have it tell me something different each time. New meaning is dependant on what I am praying for. The scriptures are Heavenly Father’s words to us. They can speak to us individually and on a very personal level. I have grown to cherish my scriptures as those answers have become more frequent and profound.
Listen, Ponder, and Practice
When I was in school I was best able to commit something important to memory by writing it down. Writing down our impressions and answers as we read the scriptures show the value we give to what the Lord tells us.
Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in times 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.”Richard G. Scott
Not only do I keep a small journal close by while studying the scriptures, I also have developed my own scripture marking system. I have created a color code by topic so I can easily access connections I’ve made, and build a deeper understanding of what God wants me to learn.
Writing down what we learn, think, and feel as we study the scriptures is another form of pondering and a powerful invitation to the Holy Ghost for continuing instruction.David A. Bednar
Just like anything we want to get better at, it takes practice. The more we slow down, spend time being still, and listen the better we will become at hearing what the Lord is telling us.
The Power of Stillness
“Our spirituality could reignite by approaching it from a more “mindful” place. When it feels like we’re on a runaway train, mindfulness returns us to a peaceful place where we can observe our thoughts and feelings without jumping on board with them. The Power of Stillness explores how practicing mindful principles can reinvigorate the joy inherent in our faith and helps us feel calmer, more present, and engaged in our lives, and more spiritually connected to our Savior.“
Benefits of Communicating with God
Commune is at the root of communication and is defined as conversing or talking together, usually with a profound intensity, intimacy; interchange thoughts or feelings. Learning to develop a two-way communication with God does not just happen because we wish for it. We need to show him our deepest desires by asking.
The benefits of communing with God is much like my international SIM card. It is invaluable when it comes to finding our way in foreign territory. It provides access to maps so we can maneuver our way through the twisted roads of life, and keeps us in touch with the One who loves us the most.
You might also enjoy…
- How to Listen with a Compassionate Heart
- Small and Simple Ways to Grow Your Faith
- When God Says No
- 5 Steps to Understand God’s Love and Inspire Change