You have probably seen the above photo of Jesus knocking on a door with no handle. The Holy Ghost works the same way. We have to let him in. That's why one person may say they didn't feel the Spirit and another may say they did although they were at the same sacrament meeting or other spiritual event.
The first part of inviting the Spirit is creating an environment in which he can dwell. We do this by keeping the commandments and always remembering Christ, as said in the sacrament prayers (Moroni 4:5, D&C 20:77). Elder Bednar expressed the connection between gospel living and having the Spirit: “Everything the Savior’s gospel teaches us to do and become is intended to bless us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost” (Increase in Learning, p. 49). One of the ways we can tell if the gospel is working for us (see President Uchtdorf's talk) is if we have an increased companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Another way to create an inviting environment is to imitate a place in which the Spirit resides, most notably the temple. In fact, the home is the only place that has been compared to the temple in sacredness. That doesn't mean you have to dress in white all the time, but there are certain practices from the temple you should adopt in your home. For example, we're supposed to talk quietly and reverently in the temple. We should do so at home. Yelling brings the Spirit of contention, which is of the devil (3 Nephi 11:29).
Perhaps you are doing all that you're supposed to but still don't feel the Holy Ghost present in your life. First, you may need to make your spiritual experiences more meaningful and go outside your comfort zone. Sometimes we can get into a routine of going through the motions and checking things off our spiritual to-do list to avoid guilt without actually making the most of these activities.
Second, we learn from the scriptures that in order to receive the Spirit we need to have meekness and lowliness of heart (Moroni 8:26) and charity and virtue (D&C121:45–46). President Eyring said that when we show a willingness to obey the promptings of the Spirit, we will receive them more. The Holy Ghost isn't going to help us if we don't want his help, if we're not actually going to be receptive to his counsel and follow through. We need to be humble and, like the Savior, say, “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). President Eyring promised that as we then obey those promptings and record them to show we value them, we will get more and more impressions until we have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
This was enlightening information for me. I have made a lot of changes in my life to stay closer to the Spirit, but haven't felt like it's made much of a difference. Perhaps you missionaries can relate, as you've given up everything worldly right now. I was trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong, and I realized I still have a lot of pride and doubt to get rid of first before I'm going to receive inspiration. This doesn't mean I should stop doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but that my actions need to be coupled with sincere feelings and desires in order to invite the Holy Ghost.
Elder Quentin L. Cook wrote on his Facebook page,
Some people wonder if their faith is strong enough to have miracles and spiritual experiences in their lives. I would counsel you to not let your doubts hold you back.
To those who struggle with doubts, I would tell you to put your doubts in the corner and allow the Savior to strengthen you over time. Exercise your faith, do the things you should do, and the challenges to your faith will be solved. Don’t ever let your doubts override your faith.Part 1