Write Your Impressions
One of the single most important things a person can do to dramatically improve their prayers and receive heavenly communication is to write down their thoughts, impressions, and instructions while praying. Kneeling with a pen and paper in hand not only acknowledges to the Lord the sacred and serious manner in which you desire answers and enlightenment, it allows you to capture the entire communication at its freshest moment. It will maximize what the Lord has to give you, and you will come to feel the thoughts and impressions flow as you write.
I have discovered that every single time I have recorded my prayers that when I review the notes that I wrote later I do not remember receiving much of the communication. It is shocking to me personally how little I retain from my prayers. There is so much lost when we fail to write down what the Lord has to offer us.
As we go back and review a record of the impressions we have received it becomes a personal book of scripture that can be studied and reviewed for further revelation.
President Nelson taught this principle in a recent General Conference:
“Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will ‘grow into the principle of revelation.’”
Elder Richard G. Scott taught this principle when he concluded an account in which he learned this principle. He shared the following insight:
“I received further impressions, and the process of writing down the impressions, pondering, and praying for confirmation was repeated. Again I was prompted to ask, “Is there more I should know?” And there was. When that last, most sacred experience was concluded, I had received some of the most precious, specific, personal direction one could hope to obtain in this life. Had I not responded to the first impressions and recorded them, I would not have received the last, most precious guidance.
What I have described is not an isolated experience. It embodies several true principles regarding communication from the Lord to His children here on earth. I believe that you can leave the most precious, personal direction of the Spirit unheard because you do not respond to, record, and apply the first promptings that come to you.[i]”
The promptings that are recorded should be kept very sacred. I have made it a personal rule to not share my prayer notes with anyone unless specifically prompted to do so. To the degree we keep the communication private, the Lord is able to reveal more of the most sacred impressions he has for those that can be trusted with his thoughts.
Brigham Young taught, “Should you receive a vision of revelation from the Almighty, one that the Lord gave you concerning yourselves, or this people, but which you are not to reveal on account of your not being the proper person, or because it ought not to be known by the people at present, you should shut it up and seal it as close, and lock it as tight as heaven is to you, and make it as secret as the grave. The Lord has no confidence in those who reveal secrets, for He cannot safely reveal Himself to such persons….[ii]”
Writing your impressions will bring great power to your prayers. It signals God that you are serious about his divine communication. As he trusts you with his revelatory teaching, he will increase your experiences and you will learn the process of being taught from the Heavens.
[i] Elder Scott tells shares an example of how he learned this principle of recording his prayers in an account too lengthy to include in this essay. It can be read in his talk, “To Acquire Spiritual Knowledge” October, 2009 General Conference.
[ii] Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 4:288 (15 March 1857).