I have just a short story to tell today. On Monday morning I was getting ready to go to work when the thought came into my mind that I should go to the temple and that I should go the next day (Tuesday). As I thought about it I wondered if it had to be on Tuesday or if I could go any other day. But the thought came back stronger than before with the distinct impression that I needed to go in the evening specifically. At this point I began to think if it were possible to go on either Thursday or Wednesday and again the thought returned that I needed to go on Tuesday in the evening.
By this point the thought was strong enough that I knew I was not dealing with my normal "What am I going to do this week" thoughts. There is a very distinct difference between my own thoughts and the voice of the Spirit. It is something that I have learned to recognize over the years. It is not something that is learned immediately but it is something that must be learned over time. After enough experience you can learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit much in the same way that you learn to recognize the voice of a good friend. You would not mistake your best friend who you see and talk to every day for a stranger nor would you recognize a stranger as a friend. I don't mean that you might not recognize your friend in a crowd or see someone out of the corner of your eye and think it was your friend. I mean you would not mistake your friend for a stranger when you are focused on them and have been speaking to them for more than 30 seconds. To learn the voice of the Spirit is to know him as you would know a friend. In a conversation with out distractions his voice is as clear as the voice of a friend or family member.
So I wondered if it had to be Tuesday afternoon/evening-ish or if I could be any other day or even Tuesday morning (because I was open Tuesday morning). But again the thought came back that it had to be Tuesday and I knew that I would be leaving in the afternoon and get back in the evening.
I finished getting ready to leave and I went to check my email and that is when I saw a message from the Elder's Quorum President in my ward. The young men and young women were having a temple trip and they needed volunteers to help out with the temple trip. They were meeting at 5:00 pm on Tuesday and needed to get to the temple by 6:00. As soon as I saw the email I knew that I needed to go and help and that was why I had been prompted to go. I responded to the email saying that I could help. It turned out that we had barely enough Melchizedek Priesthood holders to help. We actually needed one more and a temple worker had to fill in. The Raleigh temple is a small temple and there aren't a lot of temple workers so if a youth group shows up and they don't have enough leaders or volunteers to help then it is hard for the normal temple workers to also help the youth group and do their normal work.
It was a small thing but the Lord knew that they needed help and He knew that I would listen. Sometimes His instructions are very specific and sometimes they are not, or even occasionally entirely absent. But His Voice is always clear once you have learned to recognize it. As clear as the voice of a friend.