In mindfulness/contemplative practice, we sometimes talk about the Buddhist concept of “emptying,” and while this is not an exact representation of that concept, I think it is a variation that can benefit Latter-Day Saints.
When I am really, really serious about seeking personal revelation, these are the kinds of things I pray:
If I am not prepared for revelation, please help me to prepare.
If I am not asking with a sufficient level of real intent, help me to develop that level of real intent. I am willing to act on answers I receive, and I am willing to bear witness.
If I have not done the work necessary to understand this issue, help me to understand what that work is and find the strength to do it.
If there is a different question I should be asking instead, please point me to that question. I am willing to accept that guidance and adjust my priorities.
If this revelation is to come from interaction with another person, please guide me to that person or guide that person to me.
If in my searching I come across information that seems right but is contrary to the truth, help me to understand the motives, assumptions and methods of those sources so that I can see their views for what they are.
If this revelation is to come through people that I view with suspicion or resentment, please grant me strength in Christ to trust and to fully forgive.
Is this process going to require more patience than I have? Do I need to apply myself and fast and pray and work at this for months or years? If so, help me to be patient. Help me to recognize and appreciate the value in this process as time goes on. Help me to rejoice in little signs of progress.
If the answer to this question requires more faith than I possess, help me to develop that faith. “Help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24). If there is an emotional dimension to my questioning that prevents my receiving an answer, please school my emotions and help me to prepare my heart for revelation.
If I am holding on to erroneous ideas that would prevent an answer, help me to identify those ideas and abandon them. If I am stubbornly envisioning a narrow set of possible answers, help me to throw the doors of my mind and heart wide open to receive more possibilities.
If the revelation I need is outside of my mental horizons, please place things in my environment to expand and inform my thinking.
If the answer I receive is only meant for me, help me to understand that so I can keep it to myself.
If there are problems in my relationships that would prevent an answer, help me to identify those problems and seek reconciliation and forgiveness.
If I don’t have the capacity to comprehend the answer I am seeking, please expand my capacity to comprehend, or point me to answers that are at my level.
“And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut if off…” (Mark 9:43) I am willing to sever influences that impair my ability to receive revelation, or that would cause me to question any answer I receive. If people or other influences in my life are causing me to stumble, help me to identify them and have the courage to sever my interaction with them in the most constructive way possible.
If pride, anger, or cynicism are preventing me from receiving an answer, help me to abandon them and develop a spirit of humility, love, and meekness.
My ability to perceive revelation is not perfect, and there is a chance I will make mistakes in this process. If so, please help me to not get discouraged. If I fall, please reach down and help me back to my feet so I can try again. If I ever feel like giving up, send angels.