Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lesson: Personal Revelation and the Scriptures

Taught by Ellen King (me!)

Sisters, we've been taught well over the last few weeks about personal revelation, what it is, where it comes from, what we can do, how we know we receive it, etc.:

Margie - Waiting on the Road to Damascus
Valerie - Obedience
Amanda - Developing Talents
Aubrey - Aligning our will to God's
Owenna - Two Lines of Communication

Today I'd like to add one more rock of understanding to the guide post of revelation in our lives.

Personal revelation
Personal revelation comes when we seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will for us, and to have the power to carry it out.

We talk a lot of prayer as the door to personal revelation and understand that well, but what does meditation mean to you?

To me meditation means to focus on a concept or idea or word or phrase and think deeply about it. I do this best when studying the scriptures.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time.

We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation

(Dallin H. Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 8).
Have you ever been listening to General Conference and have thoughts come into your head that are completely unrelated to the talk? That’s what he’s talking about.

I promise you today that prayerful meditation as you read the scriptures
will increase your personal revelation.

Here is a specific way to study that will increase your personal revelation. I think many of us know we should be studying the scriptures daily, but haven’t really been taught how to do that. And even if we have, it’s good to change up how we are doing it.

Scriptures that teach about personal revelation
Here are several that teach us about personal revelation and what we can do to increase it.

Now I have an exercise for you called “capturing” that I use often that opens my eyes and mind and heart to what the Lord wants to tell me, to personal revelation.

Here are the steps:
  1. Underline the scripture. Look for the word or phrases that YOU need to attend to.
  2. Copy it down in writing. Possibly substituting your name in it.
  3. Write out the thoughts that come to you from these phrases.
Here is one woman’s discovery about capturing…

Capturing–Taking My Finger Off the “Fast Forward” Button, by Colleen Harrison.
Many years ago, as I was reading the Book of Mormon, I came to the following verse:
Jacob 1:4 — And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people.

The words I have [emphasized] highlighted are the ones that blazed out at me. Why? Because the Lord had orchestrated (guided, arranged) my life not long before, so that I [had] attended a two week seminar at BYU where I had learned to “capture.” The teacher, Brother Chauncey Riddle, had said, “When you read the scriptures, don’t just underline the standard verses. Pray for the Spirit to highlight the verses–or even single words or phrases that you need to pay attention to. And then pay attention by taking the time and effort to write out the thoughts that are coming to you through those words and phrases.” Then he gave us an assignment to go home and practice by capturing every verse in the 32nd chapter of 2 Nephi. (There are nine.)

I did the assignment, and I could not believe the difference it made to me and how much the scriptures opened up to my mind and made sense and made a difference in my thinking. It was as if I had finally taken my finger off the fast forward button on my CD player and let the words slow down enough that I could actually understand them.
...[When you write] do not judge your penmanship, grammar, spelling, or even the content. You just let what’s inside that needs to be said tumble out. You suspend all criticism of yourself, of your heart and mind, and let the spirit–your spirit guide you.) 
I have found that if I combine this technique with sincere prayer, with honest and humble intent, having faith in Christ to be with me through His Light within me, the thoughts that begin to tumble forth are not just my own thoughts, but they become the thoughts He is “whispering” into my mind. What started out as a monologue (just me going on about my thoughts and feelings, reactions to life), begins to be a dialogue. 
It was when I first started doing this that I began to realize that the Spirit of God, specifically the Spirit of Christ, was always “walking” with me, always willing to “talk” to me in my thoughts and impressions in my mind, and in the tenderest feelings of my heart. 

...He was there, inside me, in the Kingdom of God within–in that deepest, truest, most eternal place–where my real self could be found and connected with.

And that’s what slowing down to capture did for me. It put me back in touch with the voice of both my own truth and the voice of Christ–of His Truth.
The exercise
Try this capturing today, right now, it only takes 10-15 minutes. Some of us already do this (scripture journaling) and some of us have never been taught how to do this. So practice.
  1. Look up the verses above and choose one that speaks to you.
  2. Underline it in your scriptures.
  3. Copy it down long-hand. This is important. It slows you down and helps you begin to retain it.
  4. Put your name in the places where it makes sense.
  5. Now say prayer asking for His inspiration.
  6. Begin to write.
  7. Focus on your thoughts.
  8. Don’t worry about your handwriting, grammar or spelling.
  9. Just pen your thoughts, the truth that speaks to you and why, the counsel you need to heed, the comfort you need to hear.
Ready, set, go.




And, stop.

How was it? What do think? Did you learn something new?

Creating a dialogue with God while studying takes practice. So keep it up.

Use the scriptures as a source of personal revelation
Elder Oaks continues,
For us, the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge, but what precedes the ultimate source. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation.

… The word of the Lord in the scriptures is like a lamp to guide our feet (see Ps. 119:105), and revelation is like a mighty force that increases the lamp’s illumination manyfold. We encourage everyone to make careful study of the scriptures and of the prophetic teachings concerning them and to prayerfully seek personal revelation to know their meaning for themselves.

...Because we believe that scripture reading can help us receive revelation, we are encouraged to read the scriptures again and again. By this means, we obtain access to what our Heavenly Father would have us know and do in our personal lives today. That is one reason Latter-day Saints believe in daily scripture study.
Finding time
Now, when are you going to get time for this personal revelation?

Daily, he says.

Hmph, not likely, you're thinking

Sisters, I’m giving you permission to be selfish in this one thing.

Permission to do one less task in your day. Permission to go to your bed half an hour early, rise half an hour early, degree a quiet hour at your house, declare a reading meal (which is that everyone brings a book to read at dinner, no talking), or spend 10 extra minutes in the bathroom.

You must do this for your sanity, for your nurture, for your personal revelation, to know the will of God for you and have the power to carry it out.

Continually giving to others without refueling and loving yourself is unhealthy, and can lead to habits that become even more unhealthy.

Take the time to do what it takes to receive personal revelation in your life...draw near to the Lord, be grateful in every day and every prayer, feast on the words of Christ, take counsel from the Lord, and know that the Spirit of revelation is IN you.

I testify today that prayerful meditation as you read the scriptures will increase your personal revelation and help you draw near to the Lord, to know God’s will and have the power of the Holy Ghost with you.


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1 comment:

  1. Ellen, thank you so much for posting this! What a great lesson, with so much wonderful "meat" of inspirational ideas! It was exactly what I needed, and I wish I could have been there to hear it in person. Oh, and I love that you gave me "permission" to take time for myself...I love it!


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