As Samuel grows, he learns to hear the voice of the Lord. The experience in 1 Samuel 3 illustrates how the Lord works with us to communicate his will. We need to grow in the process of hearing and following the still small voice of the Spirit.
Sister Julie Beck stated: “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.” (see: http://bit.ly/xSmqXC )
Sometimes in the church the youth feel like they have not received revelation because they have not had a “burning in the bosom” experience (see D&C 9:8).
I feel it is important to emphasize to the youth that the Lord is communicating with them all the time. In Doctrine and Covenants 11 we read the following:
Every youth has had the experience of feeling prompted to do good or to be humble or judge righteously. By helping them to understand this, they will be able to identify when the Lord is communicating with them in the here and now.
Elder Allan Packer stated: “While testimonies can come as dramatic manifestations, they usually do not. Sometimes people think they need to have an experience like Joseph Smith’s vision before they gain testimonies. If we have unrealistic expectations of how, when, or where answers come, we risk missing the answers which come as quiet, reassuring feelings and thoughts that most often come after our prayers, while we are doing something else. These answers can be equally convincing and powerful… Over time we will receive answers and learn how inspiration comes. This is something each person learns for himself.” (italics added, see: http://bit.ly/wL5QJz )
As we act on these feelings we will receive more guidance from the Lord. Acting on revelation helps us to develop greater sensitivity to His communication.
Confirmation comes through packets of help found along the way
I love the instruction given by Elder Richard G. Scott on this topic: “He is our perfect Father. He loves us beyond our capacity to understand. He knows what is best for us. He sees the end from the beginning. He wants us to act to gain needed experience:
When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.
Most often what we have chosen to do is right. He will confirm the correctness of our choices His way. That confirmation generally comes through packets of help found along the way. We discover them by being spiritually sensitive. They are like notes from a loving Father as evidence of His approval. If, in trust, we begin something which is not right, He will let us know before we have gone too far. We sense that help by recognizing troubled or uneasy feelings.” (emphasis added – Richard G. Scott, Learning to recognize answers to prayer, Ensign, Nov 1989, p. 30)
As he matures, Samuel grows in the principle of revelation until he sees the Lord (1 Samuel 3:21). May the youth of the church grow in understanding and following direction from the Lord. As they come to understand that the Lord is communicating truths to them on an ongoing basis, they will strive to feel after the Spirit as they go through the challenges of their lives.