By Dina Alexander, MS
Our prophet and general officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been very direct in the past few General Conferences. President Russell M. Nelson, current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints , taught, “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.” This warning goes out to our children as well.
This is a topic that has become very close to my heart as I have spent many hours on my knees and in the temple trying to discern the voice of the Spirit these past few years. As my kids grew older and their problems grew more complex, I soon realized that I was woefully unprepared to deal with the many issues my family faced together and those they faced alone.
The Most Important Tool We Have
As technology presents a myriad of new temptations and frustrations, and as cultural values continue to shift, I find that much of my college family studies research, psychology classes, and masters’ internship are no longer as reliable as they once were. Thankfully, I have access to a more reliable tool. One that is always up to date and is always available. The Holy Ghost.
Hearing that voice of warning, listening to the calm whisper of God’s counsel, and feeling His peace and comfort in my heart over the years has been far more useful than any of the parenting/child development books I read during college and the years after!
There is nothing I want more for my kids than for them to know how to seek the power of the Holy Ghost, and for them to understand how to hear and feel God’s promptings.
So, how are we to teach our kids to access the power of personal revelation?
Teach Your Children How to Prepare to Receive Personal Revelation
In order to receive revelation, we must be capable of receiving revelation. Just like you would open a water bottle before filling it up, you must open your heart and your mind in order to be filled with God’s counsel. When we are humble, willing to accept answers or advice we may not want to hear, we can be assured that God will reveal to us what it is that we must learn and do.
Reading scriptures helps us be open to the Spirit and helps us understand how God answers His people. Help your kids understand that obedience, repentance, fasting, having a specific question or topic in mind, and talking with those who have experience with the topic we have questions about are also very helpful when seeking revelation.
Spencer W. Kimball, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, once said, “God reveals himself to [people] who are prepared for such manifestations.” Preparing to listen to the Holy Ghost and receive answers is a critical part of hearing and recognizing revelation. Having a desire to do what is right and a desire to know the truth is a must.
Teach Your Children How to Ask for Personal Revelation
Talking with our Heavenly Father, seeking His guidance, and asking him questions are essential if we are to grow our testimony and discover truth. We cannot expect to receive personal revelation if we do not ask for it. It can be especially beneficial to our kids if we teach them how God wants them to turn to Him with all their plans, hopes, questions, and problems.
Show your kids how to spend time talking with God! Through daily family prayers, set an example of not just giving Heavenly Father a list of your needs and wants. Share your thoughts and then take the time to listen to God’s promptings.
Help your family understand that they can have a conversation with God where you and God can both “take turns.”. President Harold B. Lee, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, taught this vital truth, “The most important thing you can do is to learn to talk to God. Talk to Him as you would talk to your father, for He is your Father, and He wants you to talk to Him. He wants you to cultivate ears to listen, when He gives you the impressions of the Spirit to tell you what to do.”
Finally, it’s important to teach your kids that when they ask God for guidance, they must ask with humility and real intent..
Ask Your Family These Questions for a Great Family Night Discussion:
- What does “knock and it shall be opened unto you” mean?
- How can we be sincere and humble in our prayers to Heavenly Father?
- What does it mean to ask with “real intent”?
Teach Your Kids How to Identify and Listen to Personal Revelation
We don’t always get answers when we want to or in a way we expect. We can receive answers in many different ways. Most answers to our questions may not come right as we ask. Some answers come to us slowly over time, line upon line. Sometimes, Heavenly Father’s answer may be a simple “yes” or “no”; other times, the answer is “wait.” It is critical to teach your children to be patient. There will be time that the answers to our prayers may come to us in how words stand out to you when you are reading or listening to scriptures. Sometimes answers come from people who care about us, like parents or teachers, who may be acting on their own promptings from God. During these times of waiting, we can strengthen our faith by going forward, using our own ability to think, and doing our best.
Our Heavenly Parents know what is best for us, and They will give us the things that will help us the most because They care about us. They will speak to you in Their own way and in Their time frame.
Great Family Night Questions to Ask Your Kids:
- How can we be more patient when preparing to receive answers?
- How can we hear the Holy Ghost more often and more clearly?
- What are some things that make it difficult to hear or feel the Holy Ghost?
- What do the promptings of the Holy Ghost look like for you personally??
“And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul.” —Helaman 5:30
Teach Your Children How to Act Upon Personal Revelation
Our Heavenly Parents expect us to act. If we expect Them to guide us and give us further revelation and truth then we need to act upon the revelation God gives. Whether it is a small feeling of inspiration or a strong, direct prompting, we must teach our kids to follow the counsel and commands the Spirit conveys to us.
We have the great opportunity to teach our kids how important it is to act in faith, even when they don’t feel like they have gotten all the answers they think they need. Even when they cannot see the outcome, Heavenly Father still expects us and our children to act. Nephi was commanded to get the gold plates from Laban even though he had not received a plan of action from God. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” –1 Nephi 3:7
There is so much more we can teach our kids to help them hear and understand personal revelation! Make sure your children understand that receiving personal revelation is a skill that requires practice and preparation. Reassure them that as they practice and become more familiar with how Heavenly Father speaks to them through the Holy Ghost, they can learn how to act on those promptings.
Ready to help your kids improve their ability to access the power of personal revelation? Check out my book for children, This is the Spirit of Revelation for simple, powerful explanations to teach your kids how to hear, understand, and act upon personal revelation.
And I’m super excited that my newest book, Chloe Has a Question, a Very Important Question, which teaches children how important their gospel questions really are, is coming this summer!
Dina Alexander is the founder of Educate and Empower Kids (educateempowerkids.org), an organization determined to strengthen families by teaching digital citizenship, media literacy, and healthy sexuality education—including education about the dangers of online porn. She is the creator of How to Talk to Your Kids About Pornography, the 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child programs. She is also the author of Noah’s New Phone: A Story About Using Technology for Good and Petra’s Power to See: A Media Literacy Adventure.
Most recently, Dina has published This is the Spirit of Revelation for Latter-day Saint children and their families, and Conversations with My Kids, 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age.
Dew, Sheri. “Will You Engage in the Wrestle?” Brigham Young University–Idaho. www.byui.edu/devotionals/sheri-dew.
Kendrick, L. Lionel. “Personal Revelation.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Sept. 1999, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1999/09/personal-revelation?lang=eng.
Nelson, Russell M. “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Apr. 2018, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2018/04/revelation-for-the-church-revelation-for-our-lives?lang=eng.
Nelson, Wendy. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2010.
Uchtdorf, Dieter F. “Receiving A Testimony Of Light And Truth”. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Oct. 2014, www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2014/11/saturday-morning-session/receiving-a-testimony-of-light-and-truth?lang=eng.
Set the Example for Your Kids
“Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work.”–Russell M. Nelson
Questions are Good!!
Whatever their questions, I want my kids to feel like they can ask me anything, especially anything related to the gospel! Look for my newest book, Chloe Has a Question, a Very Important Question, coming this summer!