“We have to remember this is the Lord’s conference,” said Elder Joseph W. Sitati of the Seventy. “General conference is like scripture. The pattern of how God reveals His will to His children is manifest beautifully at conference as God’s servants deliver messages to those who have come prepared to receive them and be inspired.”
Speaking of General Conference, Elder Holland promised, “If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you.” What a miraculous promise as millions of honest seekers of truth approach General Conference with individual questions, concerns and circumstances that we may each receive our own personal answer through words, thoughts and feelings. Here are some great ways you can prepare yourself to receive personal revelation from General Conference:
- Do some spiritual self-assessment. This is where you take out your figurative spiritual scale to determine where you are and where you want to be spiritually. The best way to begin is through prayer and scripture study.
- Make a list of questions or concerns. Ponder and pray about your list, asking to receive guidance during conference. Write down questions that you want answered during General Conference. Try to think of specific questions, many of which relate to how you want to improve or concerns in your life and then write them down! In Alma 32:6 where it says: “they were in a preparation to hear the word.” We must do the same thing with our hearts—let them be “in a preparation to hear the word.” Be ready to receive answers to your questions—whether your answers come from talks, prayers, songs, or promptings from the Spirit.
- Listen carefully and intently. At the start of the Nov. 1996 general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley promised several blessings to those who listen to conference: “I invite you to listen, listen if you will by the power of the Spirit, to the speakers who will address you today and tomorrow as well as this evening. If you will do so, I do not hesitate to promise that you will be uplifted, your resolution to do what is right will be stronger, you will find solutions to your problems and your needs, and you will be led to thank the Lord for what you have heard” (“Listen by the Power of the Spirit,” Ensign, Nov. 1996,). Put the prophet’s promise to the test. The talks can answer your prayers and give you specific, personal direction for whatever you’re dealing with in your life. Open your mind and heart to the possibility of finding those answers, they are there.
- Write “To-Do’s”. On paper, take notes of things you feel prompted to do while listening to conference, and keep an open mind. Write down anything that will help you remember what you are learning and thinking. Go into conference looking not just for answers, but action items. Elder Holland said that “each of these conferences marks a call to action not only in our own lives but also on behalf of others around us, those who are of our own family and faith and those who are not.” So as you listen to each talk, especially ones that you feel most “connected” to, ask yourself, “What does this speaker want me to do? What does the Lord want me to do with this message?”
5. Don’t discount a message merely because it sounds familiar. Prophets have always taught by repetition; it is a law of learning. You will hear repetition in themes and doctrines in general conference. This is not due to a lack of creativity or imagination. We continue to hear messages on similar issues because the Lord is teaching and impressing upon our minds and hearts certain principles of great eternal importance that should be understood and acted upon before we can move on to other things. President Eyring taught in the May 1997 Ensign: “In our own time, we have been warned with counsel of where to find safety from sin and from sorrow. One of the keys to recognizing those warnings is that they are repeated. One of the ways we may know that the warning is from the Lord is that the law of witnesses, authorized witnesses, has been invoked. When the words of prophets seem repetitive, that should rivet our attention…” That repetition, like President Eyring taught, is the Lord’s way of telling us: Pay attention! This is important. It makes it a little easier to prioritize all the messages and know where to begin.
- Study the conference talks again. Sometimes, we can find answers to our questions from past conference talks. If you stay in touch with the spirit, with a prayerful heart, you may be prompted to look back and reflect on the words of the prophets. The words of the prophets and apostles are inspired and revelation from our Heavenly Father. With our hearts and minds humbled and opened, any given talk of the past can be the answer we are searching for.
7.The words spoken at general conference should be a compass that points the way for us during the coming months.
If we listen to and follow the promptings of the Spirit, they will serve as a Liahona, guiding us through the unknown, challenging valleys and mountains that are ahead (see 1 Nephi 16). Since the world began, God has raised up prophets who speak the will of heaven to the people of their times. It is our responsibility to listen and then apply the messages the Lord provides for us. Our merciful and loving Heavenly Father has not forsaken and will not forsake His children. Today, as well as in times past, He has appointed apostles and prophets. He continues to reveal His word to them. What a marvelous privilege it is to hear God’s messages for each of us during general conference! Let us prepare well for this great blessing of divine guidance delivered by His chosen servants.
Source: “General Conference–No Ordinary Blessing,” Dieter F. Uchtodorf