Somebody once shared the following story with me about a friend of his who was walking in central park in New York City, “Above the sounds of city life he heard the song of a bird. He stopped and listened. Those with him had not heard it. He looked around. No one else had noticed it. It bothered him that everyone should miss something so beautiful. So he took a coin from his pocket and flipped it into the air. It struck the pavement with a ring no louder than the song of the bird. Everyone turned: they could hear that! It is difficult to separate from all the sounds of city traffic the song of a bird, but you can hear it. You can hear it plainly if you train yourself to listen for it.” That phrase, ‘you can hear it if you train yourself to listen for it’ is what we need to do. We need to train ourselves to understand how God talks to us.
I wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true so I decided that I would read it and search it. I then prayed to see if it were true. I did not feel I received an answer to my prayer. I read, studied, and prayed more. Still I felt no answer was coming. After several months I decided to study something else. I studied how God speaks to man through the Spirit. After learning about the Spirit, I again brought my request to the Lord and received an answer. I had not ‘received’ an answer before because I had not trained myself to hear ‘the bird’. Once I learned how the bird or the Spirit worked then I could hear and understand it.
“There are so many of us who go through life and seldom, if ever, hear that voice of inspiration, because ‘the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (1 Cor. 2:14).”
I was the natural man and had to learn the things of the Spirit. The Lord taught me how to hear the bird. Sometimes I hear the bird but I do not understand what he is singing. I am still the natural man and need to work harder to understand what God is trying to tell me. The scriptures tell us that we will be taught by the Spirit, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little. I know that the Lord will continue to teach me as long as I have a true desire to learn and understand what He wants me to know and do.
The Spirit plays such an important role when we pray. We pray and ask for help in our lives but seldom do we sit and try to hear the bird and what he is singing. When we pray we need to listen as we would at any other time. The Lord will teach us through the Spirit but only when we are willing to learn and be taught. I want to be taught and will continue to train myself to listen to the Spirit as I pray and search for answers. Before I made this post, I shared it with a friend who recommended I write a future post about ‘what I’ve heard so far from the bird’. In a few weeks I will put together a few experiences and share them with you. For now, please share your experiences with answers to prayers. How has God answered your prayers?