Every time we’re asked to raise our hand to the square to sustain the prophets and apostles—whether in ward conference, stake conference, or general conference—I often ask myself, “How am I sustaining these men more than just raising my hand? What else should I be doing?” Honestly, it has taken some time for me to understand how to truly “sustain” the prophets in my daily life. Because it can be so much more than just your hand in the air for few seconds.
Here are some practical ways to sustain the prophets in addition to praying for them.
Know and follow their recent counsel. This first idea is fairly obvious and comes up in Sunday lessons all the time. But how often do we really take it to heart? I know I could be better at reading the most recent sessions of general conference more than once. Reading them is great. But incorporating them into our lives is better. This is most easily done when we focus on one leader’s counsel for a few days or even weeks. For example, if we’re struggling to become more patient, maybe we could read President Uchtdorf’s talk on patience and then pick a few points to work on for a while. Choosing just one bit of counsel to focus on will make a more lasting change in us—and it will show the Lord that we value and uphold the prophets’ words.
Defend your beliefs with their words. You may find yourself in difficult situations from time to time as people either belittle or condemn your beliefs. Sometimes this can be rather blatant, and sometimes it can be simply in passing, without any real malice intended. Either way, speak up and tell people what you believe—whether or not the conversation has to do with the prophets. They may not even be criticizing the prophets, but you can use prophetic counsel to help your nonmember friends understand your beliefs. This is where being familiar with their counsel will really come in handy!
Publish their counsel on social media. You can follow Elder Bednar’s counsel to “flood the earth” with uplifting messages by posting, pinning, or tweeting little gems of prophetic wisdom. Whatever your pick of social media is, use it to share your feelings about the counsel the Brethren give. Has one talk helped you more than usual recently? Talk about it online. This is a great way to show that you sustain and believe the prophets’ words.
Pray for their families. I know it seems pretty typical to pray for their families, but how often do we actually do that? If you’ve ever known someone in a highly demanding Church calling, chances are that you know how stressful it can be for the spouse, the children, and even the grandchildren of the person serving. Include the apostles and prophets in your prayers, but also pray that their families will be strengthened throughout the stressful times when they might not see their loved one as often as they’d like.
Teach your children the importance of and reverence for general conference. When you teach your children by example that the words of the living prophets are important to you, they’re more likely to get the hint that they should perk up and pay attention too. Adjustments can obviously be made for different age ranges, but children of all ages can still feel the Spirit. Show them that listening to a prophet’s words is an important part of your life. This is a great way to sustain the prophets in your own home.