One of the great lessons that each of us needs to learn is to ask. Why does the Lord want us to pray to Him and to ask? Because that is how revelation is received.
When I am faced with a very difficult matter, this is how I try to understand what to do. I fast. I pray to find and understand scriptures that will be helpful. That process is cyclical. I start reading a passage of scripture; I ponder what the verse means and pray for inspiration. I then ponder and pray to know if I have captured all the Lord wants me to do. Often more impressions come with increased understanding of doctrine. I have found that pattern to be a good way to learn from the scriptures.
There are some practical principles that enhance revelation. First, yielding to emotions such as anger or hurt or defensiveness will drive away the Holy Ghost. Those emotions must be eliminated, or our chance for receiving revelation is slight.
Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.
Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.
On the other hand, spiritual communication can be enhanced by good health practices. Exercise, reasonable amounts of sleep, and good eating habits increase our capacity to receive and understand revelation. We will live for our appointed life span. However, we can improve both the quality of our service and our well-being by making careful, appropriate choices.
It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.
Revelation can also be given in a dream when there is an almost imperceptible transition from sleep to wakefulness. If you strive to capture the content immediately, you can record great detail, but otherwise it fades rapidly. Inspired communication in the night is generally accompanied by a sacred feeling for the entire experience. The Lord uses individuals for whom we have great respect to teach us truths in a dream because we trust them and will listen to their counsel. It is the Lord doing the teaching through the Holy Ghost. However, He may in a dream make it both easier to understand and more likely to touch our hearts by teaching us through someone we love and respect.
- Richard G. Scott, “How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for your Personal Life“, April 2012 General Conference
Asking for and receiving daily bread at God's hand plays a vital part in learning to trust Him and in enduring life's challenges. We also need a daily portion of divine bread to become what we must become. To repent, improve, and eventually reach "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13) is a step-by-step process. Incorporating new and wholesome habits into our character or overcoming bad habits or addictions often means an effort today followed by another tomorrow and then another, perhaps for many days, even months and years, until we achieve victory. But we can do it because we can appeal to God for our daily bread, for the help we need each day. - D. Todd Christofferson, “Recognizing God’s Hand in Our Daily Blessings,” Liahona, January 2012
Fortunately, our Savior has given us a direction finder and guide that will help us even when we cannot see beyond discouraging obstacles. I refer to the gift of the Holy Ghost. But we must be willing to use and rely on this divine gift, and we must keep it in good repair. - Dallin H. Oaks, “The Gospel Culture,” Liahona, March 2012
How things have changed! Why? Because men, without divine guidance, could not agree in their interpretation of the scriptures. Jesus understood that without divine guidance men could not properly interpret the scriptures, for he said: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.” (Matt. 22:29.) Hence the need of the voice of authority to differentiate between the doctrines that are the precepts of men, as Isaiah states, and the truths revealed from heaven in the restoration of the gospel, for we did not get our teachings through man’s interpretation of the scriptures, but by the revelations of the Lord to his latter-day prophet. - Legrand Richards, Conference Report, April 1969, Afternoon Meeting, p. 88
There is so much we can learn from the example of the young Prophet Joseph Smith, whose persistent, prayerful study of the Holy Bible compelled him to seek the God of Heaven for divine guidance. This brought him to the threshold of the greatest revelation ever given to man since the mortal ministry of the Savior Himself. Throughout the Prophet’s life, he continued to probe and ponder until he gained a mastery of the scriptures. - J. Richard Clarke, “My Soul Delighteth in the Scriptures“, Ensign (CR), November 1982, p.13
Spiritual nutrients, which keep us spiritually healthy, can lose their potency and strength if we do not live worthy of the divine guidance we need. The Savior has told us: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” We need to keep our minds and bodies clean from all forms of addiction and pollution. We would never choose to eat spoiled or contaminated food. In the same selective way, we should be careful not to read or view anything that is not in good taste. Much of the spiritual pollution that comes into our lives comes through the Internet, computer games, television shows and movies that are highly suggestive of or graphically portray humanity’s baser attributes. Because we live in such an environment, we need to increase our spiritual strength. - James E. Faust, “Spiritual Nutrients,” Ensign, (CR) October 2006
As Nephi concluded his sacred record, he left us a wonderful, comprehensive promise that when we "feast upon the words of Christ ... , the words of Christ will tell [us] all things what [we] should do" (2 Ne. 32:3). This is a very bold promise. Can we really receive divine direction in all things?
In the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells how his father, Lehi, beheld a vision. In that vision, an angel gave Lehi a sacred book, and "as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord" (1 Ne. 1:12). When we search the scriptures, individually or as families, our hearts and minds are filled with the Spirit of the Lord. With that Spirit, we can indeed find the direction we seek within the pages of the standard works. - Spencer J. Condie, “Feast upon the Words of Christ,” Ensign, September 2004
Today there are many subjects being discussed because of the controversies all around us. It should be evident to all that we need divine direction, since men and women who argue about these controversies seem to be unable to come to workable or peaceable solutions. It is sad indeed that the world does not know or accept the fact that in our midst is a prophet through whom God can direct the solution of world problems. - N. Eldon Tanner, “The Debate is Over,” Liahona, June 1980
Since the time of Joseph Smith, revelation has come through men called as prophets to lead the Lord's Church. The Lord has not left His servants, His Church, or His people alone. We affirm that He grants divine guidance to those He calls to administer His kingdom. - Jay E. Jensen, “The Prophet Joseph Smith, an Extraordinary Teacher,” Liahona, January 2008
Prayer offers each of us the privilege of divine guidance in a troubled world. God, our Heavenly Father, desires that His children speak with Him. Take time to pray. Go to Him in humility, in faith, and in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. He hears. He knows. He answers. "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matt. 7:8). God be thanked for the precious and wondrous gift of prayer. -Keith B. McMullin, “Words of Jesus: Prayer,” Ensign, January 2003