In the January 2021 issue of the Liahona magazine, President Russell M. Nelson shares an inspiring message on continuing in our quest to recognize the voice of the Lord in our lives in a message entitled, Grow into the Principle of Revelation.

He begins the message by sharing a tender personal experience about the importance of heeding promptings as he recounts the closing days of the life of Elder Robert D. Hales. He says:

On September 30, 2017, following the afternoon session of general conference, I stopped by the hospital to check on my beloved quorum member Elder Robert D. Hales. He had been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack a few days earlier.

We had a wonderful visit, and he seemed to be improving. He was even breathing on his own, which was a good sign.

That evening, however, the Spirit spoke to my heart and mind that I should return to the hospital on Sunday. During the Sunday morning session of general conference, that strong impression returned. I felt that I should skip lunch and hurry to Elder Hales’s bedside as soon as the morning session ended, which I did.

When I arrived, I could see that Elder Hales had taken a serious turn for the worse. Sadly, he passed away 10 minutes after I arrived, but I am thankful that I was at his side with his sweet wife, Mary, and their two sons when he departed this life.

How grateful I am that the whisperings of the Holy Ghost prompted me to do something I might not have done otherwise.

As this prophet has reiterated again and again, the heavens are open to us and we should be earnestly seeking the messages that are waiting for us. Though he is called as the Lord’s mouthpiece to the Church, he has encouraged us again and again to seek to hear that heavenly voice directly in our individual lives.

President Nelson reminds us that we are particularly in need of this divine, personal guidance in the times we live in:

Physical and spiritual tempests are a part of life on the earth, as the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us. Of the time prior to His Second Coming, the Savior predicted days of great tribulation…Compounding such tribulation is the increasing darkness and deception that surround us. As Jesus told His disciples, “Iniquity shall abound” before His return (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:30).

Satan has marshaled his forces and is raging against the work of the Lord and those of us engaged in it. Because of the increasing dangers we face, our need for divine guidance has never been greater, and our efforts to hear the voice of Jesus Christ—our Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer—have never been more urgent.

The dire need is clear, but how do we go about seeking and recognizing the voice of the Spirit in our lives? Many aren’t sure what that should look like or feel like. President Nelson also offered a specific, practical approach in his recent message.

He lays out a pattern that Joseph Smith demonstrated to us by example.

“First we immerse ourselves in the scriptures,” says President Nelson. “Doing so opens our minds and hearts to the Savior’s teachings and truths. The words of Christ ‘tell [us] all things what [we] should do’ (2 Nephi 32:2).”

“Next we pray.”

“Prayer requires initiative, so we humble ourselves before God, find a quiet place where we can regularly go, and pour out our hearts to Him.”

And it is the next crucial step that many of us fail to follow through on. Even in the midst of COVID, with so much shut down, we still seem to lead busy and hectic lives, where it feels like we need to rush forward to the next thing, but President Nelson reminds us that seeking revelation involves something else after we have prayed:

Then we listen.

If we will stay on our knees for a while after we finish our prayer, thoughts, feelings, and direction will come into our mind. Recording those impressions will help us remember what actions the Lord would have us take.

As we repeat this process, we will, in the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, ‘grow into the principle of revelation.’

These practical steps as well as his personal experience are just a part of what makes President Nelson’s January Liahona message powerful. Read it for yourself and see if it can direct you as you move forward on the path toward hearing the Lord’s voice through the Spirit on a regular basis in your lives.

Especially now when it is so needed.