"The Heavens [are] open again to mankind," Elder James J. Hamula of the Seventy told BYU-Idaho students at a campus devotional Sept. 22.
Elder Hamula began his devotional by noting the significance of the day —September 22 — because of its anniversary of Joseph Smith receiving the gold plates from the Hill Cumorah. These moments in history, Elder Hamula said, show that God in Heaven is speaking again to man on earth.
Elder Hamula began by sharing his own story of how he came to know the Church was true when he was a young man. As he read Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision found in Joseph Smith History, Elder Hamula felt he could relate.
“I felt that Joseph’s story was my story,” he said.
After reading, Elder Hamula knelt and prayed for a confirmation of the truth of the gospel.
“Almost immediately I had a feeling come over me,” he said. “It was a feeling of love that entered into my heart and consumed my entire being. … I knew that there is a God in heaven, that He is my Father, that Jesus Christ is His Son and the Savior of mankind and that Joseph Smith saw them both.”
It was from this experience that Elder Hamula knew that the heavens are open again. He continued to explain that the conditions for having the Lord “part the curtains of heaven and speak” lie in four fundamental principles.
1. Exercise faith in God the Father.
“You must believe that He is there to hear you, and that He loves you enough to want to answer your prayers,” Elder Hamula said. “Without such faith, you will not be moved to pray, and without prayer the curtains of heaven will remain closed to you.”
2. Sincerely inquire of God.
Elder Hamula told students that this required “actually [calling] upon the name of the Lord, speaking to Him out loud and asking Him what [is desired].”
Elder Hamula said that the Lord continues to reiterate the counsel given in the seventh chapter of Matthew: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."
“This instruction … is strong evidence of Heavenly Father’s deep love for us and His readiness to provide us His counsel and wisdom on all issues of concern to us,” he said.
3. Earnestly listen for God’s voice.
The voice of the Lord may be heard in the voice of His servants, in the accepted scriptures of the Church, or in the ministration of the Spirit directly to one’s soul, Elder Hamula shared.
“When such impressions come, trust them,” he said. “This is the Spirit speaking to you.”
4. Act in faith on what is received.
However, the Lord does not always reveal everything at once, Elder Hamula said. “The Lord gives us line upon line, precept upon precept in order to try and prove us,” he said. “If we will faithfully act on what He gives us, we receive more. If we do not, we receive no more, and indeed lose what we once had.”
Elder Hamula concluded by promising students that if they were to start to move in a direction that is wrong or injurious to spiritual welfare that the Lord will clearly warn them before a serious mistake is made. Likewise, if they were to start to move in a direction that is right, the Lord will confirm the right choice, he said.
“Earnestly listen for His voice,” Elder Hamula said. “When His voice comes to you, act in faith on what He counsels you to do. Pursue this course, and you will grow up in Him, and, in due time, become even as He is, grace for grace.”