Let’s start with the basics. God is real. He lives today. And He has a plan for your life.
Does God Know Me?
Yes, God does know you. You were created in God’s image, you inherited spiritual traits from Him, and He watches over you as one of His children.
So what is your relationship to God? Is He a god of wrath? An unknowable higher power? Or is He your loving Heavenly Father? A strong relationship with God begins when you come to understand who God is and practice ways you can come to know Him personally.
Who is God?
God is the Supreme Being
God is the ultimate Creator and Ruler of all things. He is a separate being from His Son, Jesus Christ, and from the Holy Ghost. Although these three individuals act with one purpose, the scriptures reference many instances that show that each is distinct. Stephen, for instance, saw the “Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). During the baptism of Jesus, the three members of the Godhead manifested themselves separately: Jesus was being baptized, God the Father spoke audibly from heaven, and the Holy Spirit was seen “descending like a dove” (see Matthew 3:16–17). Jesus also spoke often of His Father as a distinct personage, separate from Himself (see Matthew 7:21; John 5:17–19; Luke 2:49).
He is your Heavenly Father
God the Father is just that: the Father of your spirit. You are His child, and He loves you. The Apostle Paul in the New Testament frequently reminded his followers of this, calling God the “Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12:9) and teaching that “we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). In the Old Testament, Malachi asks, “Have we not all one father?” (Malachi 2:10) and God Himself uses parental terms when He says, “I am a father to Israel” (Jeremiah 31:9).
He has a plan for you
God not only created your spirit but He also prepared a plan for your mortal life. The big picture is that you are here to prove yourself through faith and obedience so that you can return to live again with God and the people you love. And on an even more personal note, God has given you specific gifts as well as challenges to test you in this life. And as you come to know Him, He will be there to help you all along the way.
How can you get to know God?
Developing a relationship with God might seem overwhelming, but consider it from another perspective: As you get to know other people, you begin to understand their likes and dislikes. You appreciate their strengths and respect their desires. You talk to them often and come to feel a close friendship and love. This is also how you come to know God.
Learn about God
God created heaven and earth (see Psalm 121:2). He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). Through the power of the Holy Ghost, His presence can be felt everywhere at once (see Psalm 139:7–12). He is your Heavenly Father, and His Only Begotten Son is Jesus Christ.
We can learn much about God from the scriptures. In a way, reading the Bible and Book of Mormon is like studying a biography of God that covers thousands of years, from many perspectives. You’ll get to know what brings Him happiness, gain a respect for things He’s done, and get a feel for how He speaks to people just like you.
Speak to God
You might think that actually speaking to God is reserved for prophets or miraculous events. But you, like Moses, are able to speak to our Father in Heaven “as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11), and you can do so at any time. Think about that. God wants to hear from you because He loves you. He wants to know about your worries, your concerns, your joys, and the blessings you appreciate. He wants to have a conversation with you. Try it.
Listen to God
A conversation involves two-way communication, and that is also true of prayer. While at first you might think you’re the only one talking, God speaks back. Some people in the scriptures experienced this audibly, such as Adam and Eve, who “heard the voice of the Lord God” (see Moses 4:14) in the Garden of Eden, Moses (see Exodus 19:9), and the child Samuel (see 1 Samuel 3:8–10). Other times, God answers more subtly. The prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon observed, “I was led by the Spirit” (1 Nephi 4:6). The Holy Spirit often communicates God’s will and approval by bringing a feeling of peace to your heart. This may happen when you read a scripture that feels as if it were meant for you personally. Or when something happens (often through the actions of another person) that answers your prayer. When you speak to God and tune in to receive His response, you will come to know Him through His answers.
Put your trust in God
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,” says the Bible, “and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6). If you want to have a relationship with God, put your trust in Him that He will also do His part. The Book of Mormon prophet Alma taught that just wanting to know God is a good place to begin: “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27).
God is real. He knows you and loves you. And He wants you to come to know Him better. Start today.
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