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Thursday, July 30, 2009


Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi recently wrote about a topic that is near to my heart: opening the heavens by daily pondering and praying. He asked:

"Do you want to feel the love of God more powerfully in your life? Do you want to feel more in tune with His Spirit? Do you want to have the heavens opened to you daily?"

"There is a way you can feel a daily renewal of God's everlasting love and drink from 'the fountain of living waters' (1 Nephi 11:25). It follows a pattern set by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he went to a grove of trees early one morning in 1820 seeking answers to his questions. I speak of a morning devotional time spent in prayer, meditation, and scripture study. . . " (Elder Yoshihiko Kikichi, "Opening the Heavens," Ensign, August 2009, 34).

I want to add my testimony to Elder Kikuchi's that a daily devotional will infuse you with power from on high. I have only recently, within the last six months, reinstated the practice of a daily morning devotional, and since then, my life has changed dramatically. Yes, I feel the love of God more powerfully in my life. Yes, I feel more in tune with His Spirit. Yes, I have had the heavens opened to me. I am able to stay closer to Him each day, despite my many imperfections. I am more able to recognize the little miracles all around me. I am more aware of my standing before God, and what I need to do to improve. Furthermore, I am more aware of just how much I am loved: of my individual worth. My relationship with my Father has become very real and for that, I am so grateful.

Joseph Smith said: "The manifestation of the gift of the Holy Ghost, the ministering of angels, or the development of the power, majesty or glory of God were very seldom manifested publicly . . . but most generally when angels have come, or God revealed Himself, it has been to individuals in private, in their chamber; in the wilderness or fields, and that generally without noise or tumult" (Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 2007, 121).

Where is your chamber? Where is your sacred grove? Where do you have your daily "sweet hour of prayer?" Do you daily "cast on Him your every care?" Do your heartfelt prayers ascend to him each morning, making all your "wants and wishes known?" ("Sweet Hour of Prayer," Hymns, 1985, 142).

I testify that as you begin seeking the Lord earnestly each morning, literally putting the Lord first, by putting Him first thing each morning, that your days will begin to orchestrate themselves, that your priorities will become evident, that your spiritual keenness will improve, and that you will develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with your Father in Heaven and with the Savior, who truly love you deeply.