Written By: Marin Allen
I try to start my scripture study by clearing my mind. I say a simple prayer, take a moment to be still, and then begin reading. But it seems like I only read a few words and thoughts start rushing through my mind again and interrupting my study. The process used to go something like this:
“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil—
Oh no, did I remember to turn in that assignment? I can look at that later.
--that he may know good from evil: wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge;--
I was supposed to call mom today wasn’t I. I wonder if she’s up right now? Wait, what am I reading?
--for everything which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the pow--
When was the last time I talked to Maddie? Last week seemed hard for her. I should have dinner with her this week…
Marin! You haven’t even made it through one verse, focus!
After this tug of war in my head, sometimes I managed to make it through a couple pages focused solely on what I was reading. It was okay, but no grand revelations came. Sometimes I would remember those distracting thoughts of mine later in the day and follow through, but usually they drifted away, only to resurface once again during the next day’s scripture study. This cycle continued for a long time, until I had a very important realization. Let’s take another look at that scripture that my thoughts kept interrupting before:
For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge, for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
I had been fighting a long battle of trying to have focused scripture studies. My intentions were good, but this verse helped me realize that many of the “distracting” thoughts I was pushing aside were small messages from the Lord. He was trying to help me with my day to day worries, and more importantly He was pointing out to me people that I could help. Once I recognized that these thoughts could be revelation, I started to act on them immediately. I would text the friend that came to mind right then. Or I would take a moment to think of a plan to serve them. If it was something that required more effort, I would at least write it down and act on it as soon as I finished reading. Once I had taken that small step to act on the prompting I received, my scripture study became a more fulfilling experience.
My friend Zach is a great example of listening to and acting on small promptings like this. In March he texted me out of the blue and invited me to join him at the temple the next day. I had been in the temple only a few days before, but I felt grateful that he invited me and decided to go again. We had a great time worshipping at the temple, but it was not until later that both of us realized the significance of going that night. The next day, news about the Coronavirus exploded and everything started shutting down, including the temple. Because Zach listened to a subtle prompting and invited me to tag along with him to the temple, I was able to go one last time before the pandemic hit. I am so grateful that he listened to that thought and acted on it without hesitation.
The Lord is using you as an instrument to help His other children. One of the ways He will do that is through small and simple thoughts that enter your mind, thoughts that may be easy to suppress or forget. If you are anything like me, these thoughts come most often while you are seeking personal revelation, but you may not recognize them at first because of how normal they feel. So if you find that your mind is racing, take a second to sort through those thoughts. Recognize what could be an invitation from the Lord to serve someone in need, and act on that prompting immediately. I think you’ll be surprised by all the good you will do!