If you’ve never been religious, or you’ve come from a religion where Heavenly Father is seen as a distant, misty sort of being, you may find it challenging to build a relationship with Him. Suddenly you’ve been instructed to love someone who is nearly a stranger to you. How do you build the kind of close, loving relationship with your Father in Heaven you’ve seen in other members?
In any relationship, the first step is to gather information. You need to know more about God from the perspective of your new faith. The missionaries have given you a starting point and some basic, beginning information. Why not start a notebook in which you record scriptures and commentary from church leaders about God the Father? Each time you find a scripture, record it in your notebook, adding your own thoughts and questions. When your home teacher comes, you can ask the questions you’ve saved up.
An important second step to building a relationship with God is to spend time with Him. The more time you spend in His company, the better you will know Him. Set aside quiet, uninterrupted time to pray every day. As you go about your ordinary day, you can also have more informal discussions with Him. Ponder what you’re learning while you complete mindless tasks and then talk to Him about those thoughts when you pray.
Living the gospel is another way to get to know God. If you want to know Him better, live as He lives. You know the way God would live. He keeps the commandments we do, and Jesus Christ, who came to earth, set an example for us on how to live as God does.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: (1 Peter 2:21)
Following the Savior’s example will help you learn to understand Heavenly Father better. When you keep a commandment, you get a sense of why it matters, and you better understand why you’re asked to keep it. This brings you closer to your Heavenly Father. Keep a journal that records how you feel as you’re keeping the commandments. If you feel the Spirit, you know you’re doing the right thing and becoming more like God.
Journaling is another way to get to know God the Father better. Try recording in your journal at least one way God has blessed you each day. When you see the kinds of things He is doing for you, you’ll have a better sense of what matters to Him. Write about your growing relationship with God, so you can go back later on and see how everything progressed.
It’s only a matter of training for us to do it again while here, and to ensure we return home to Him in the future. Now is the time to rebuild the relationship that will last forever.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.