Was It a Prompting or Just a Thought?

I attended an early meeting this morning in our church building and as I was leaving, I heard Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the pulpit during the sacrament meeting of a neighboring ward.

His voice was somewhat different than what I am accustomed to—bold, articulate, forthright. His voice this morning was quiet and subdued and soft. It was piercing.

I walked out of the building and before I could cross the parking lot, a voice said to me, “Go back and listen to an apostle of the Lord.” Or feelings to that effect.

I took another step or two forward. Then this came. “Don’t miss this opportunity. Why are you leaving? Go back now.”

I turned around, reentered the building, and slipped into the back of the chapel and listened.

And for between five and 10 minutes I heard a man of God speak the words of God. The words he used were so humble that they shook me to the bone.

He spoke so lovingly and appreciatively of his wife. He asked the members of the ward to pray for the Quorum of the Twelve. Among other things he said (and I paraphrase):

We are all in our way ordinary people with extraordinary responsibilities…but faith and prayer can help us do extraordinary things.

Simple yet powerful. I remember a few other things he said, but most of all I remember how I felt. Tears surfaced as my heart jumped in my chest. I was uplifted. I was moved. I was renewed.

I am so glad I listened and obeyed that still small voice.

Sometimes I don’t obey. Sometimes I argue with myself, slapping down thoughts with my handy fly swatter of doubt. But I do that less now, less than ever before, because I know something now I haven’t always known.

If the thought is asking me to do something good, to lift someone up, to help someone even if it seems embarrassing to do so, to stretch myself, to believe in something good beyond hope and reason, I accept that as the voice of the Holy Spirit.

If that voice pulls me down, deprecates me or others around me, tempts me to react in anger, to hide behind blame, or to think less of another person, then I must be wrong. I must be tempted. Deceived. Misled. Confused. That’s an alarm. That’s a message to walk away and to look for higher, purer thoughts.

If a thought is leading you to do something both good and unselfish, I’d trust it and do your best to follow it.  

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