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PROMISE FOLLOWS PRAYERFUL STUDY

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If you prayerfully study and ponder the words in the Doctrine and Covenants, you have the promise of hearing the voice of the Lord. (See D&C 18:33-36.) That voice may not be an audible expression that resonates off your ear drum, but more important it will come into your mind and your heart leaving an indelible impression of far more lasting significance and power. (See D&C 8:2-3.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith has said that such an impression is "woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten." (Doctrines of Salvation 1:48.)The Lord specified that "the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith." (D&C 42:14.) Neglect not the Spirit! Never approach a study of the scriptures without a prayer in your heart for understanding and wisdom. The Lord counseled, "Ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power and we might parenthetically add the word `wisdom' as wellT." (D&C 43:16.) As one reads the Doctrine and Covenants, he or she should endeavor to put on the mind of Christ, to see the scriptures through His eyes and to understand them as He has intended.

Furthermore, the scriptures should be read with the "as if" principle - as if they were directed to you personally.

The scriptures show us patterns of perfection, and the Doctrine and Covenants is filled with pertinent examples. In its pages we find people who struggled with problems similar to those we encounter, and we find the Lord's counsel to them applicable to us. We learn from the failure of some to heed His counsel, by avoiding those same mistakes ourselves. And we gain strength from those who successfully overcame their struggles.

One of the major differences between those who succeed in remaining strong in the faith and those who stray, is the presence or lack of presence of the Spirit. To neglect the Spirit, in reading the scriptures or in any other aspect of our life, is to fail to gain the full value of what we might have received; it is to invite failure and unhappiness. Remember the counsel given by the Lord when He said, "pray always, and I will pour our my Spirit upon you." (D&C 19:38.) - Hoyt Brewster Jr., director of Melchizedek Priesthood Department