Do you need answers from God?
Elder Robert D. Hales said, “When we want to speak to God, we pray. And when we want Him to speak to us, we search the scriptures” (Ensign, November 2006, 26-27). I know this principle is true. Nephi taught, “feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
One quick caveat before I share some stories. The scriptures aren’t a magic 8 ball. You can’t always just pray, shake your scriptures and find an answers on a random page. Sometimes that works—see my epic story about how Lani and I got married—but sometimes it doesn’t.
One return missionary told me a story about how he was on his mission, struggling with a companion, and so he prayed about what to do and then opened his scriptures. The verse he opened to was 1 Nephi 4:12: “And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me again: Slay him” (1 Nephi 4:12).
Better check with the mission president first!
To be clear, sometimes you can just open your scriptures and find an answer right away. Sometimes we pray, and the answer comes in our regular scripture study a few weeks later. Sometimes we search the scriptures for months or more before we find an answer. I love collecting stories about people who find answers to their questions. Here’s a few that have been shared over the years. Feel free to contact me or comment below with your own stories!
From a young woman:
There was a boy I wanted to share the gospel with, but I was scared to talk to him about the church. My mom told me to read the scriptures. I went into my closet and prayed and had my scriptures and paper and pen. The first inspiration I felt was “clean your closet” because the spirit can’t be here! 😊 Then I found a verse in Moroni 8:16 which talked about perfect love and how perfect love has no fear. I realized that if I had real love, I wouldn’t be afraid to share the gospel.
From a young man:
There was a family in my ward that I really admired. But the family went inactive and there was a young woman in the family about my age. I wondered what I should do to help her. I turned to the scriptures. Every time I opened I opened the scriptures it turned to a letter. At first I thought it was just cause I was opening to the middle of my quad and the epistles. So then I opened the Book of Mormon and it was a letter from MNI to Pahoran, and then I opened a Old Testament and it was a letter from the captain of an army to another captain. Then I realized, “I should write her a letter!” So that’s what I did.
From a young woman:
I was worried about my brother. I’ve been doing a lot to help him and I was wondering if I should stop. Then I read in Luke 15 about leaving the 99 and going for the one and realized I needed to keep reaching out to my brother.
From a young woman:
I was doubting my self-worth. I decided to study my scriptures and came across Doctrine and Covenants 25:3. The phrase “thou art an elect lady, whom I have called” really stood out to me. It was reading that verse, combined with feeling the Spirit testify of God’s love for me that helped make a big difference for me.
I love that last point that it was the scriptures AND the Holy Ghost that helped answer her question. Nephi said, “Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). Just after this phrase he also says that if we “receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). So it’s the scriptures + the Holy Ghost that tell us what we should do.
Years before she married President Russell M. Nelson, Sister Wendy Watson shared the following profound formula. I testify that what she says is true:
One woman was guided to learn how to hear the voice of the Spirit while reading the scriptures. She was tutored to kneel in prayer, to thank her Heavenly Father for the scriptures, to request that the Spirit be with her as she read, and then to tell the Lord what she needed from the scriptures that particular day—one question she needed answered, perhaps guidance in a relationship, perhaps confirmation of a decision. She would then open her scriptures . . . and begin reading. She never had to read very far . . . before the Spirit gave her the answer she was seeking… I have related her experience to others who then tried the same experiment; the results have been astonishing. Everything from financial problems to relationship concerns have been solved. And in the process, their ability to hear the voice of the Holy Ghost has increased”Wendy L. Watson, “Let Your Spirit Take the Lead,” in The Power of His Redemption: Talks from the 2003 BYU Women’s Conference , 326.
Whatever problem you’re struggling with, the scriptures have the answer!