There are plenty of people in this world who don’t believe in God, who are real atheists, and there are others who don’t believe it’s possible to know, who are agnostic. There are many who believe in a Supreme Being, but who eschew organized religion. Many of these people have never prayed. There are also those of many faiths who read prayers or who utter memorized prayers, and those for whom God is not very personal, who may be in charge, but who is far away.
I am a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church.” I think I did believe in God before I was introduced to Mormon missionaries, but He was not personal to me. Since I was raised without any religion in my home, I really had no set of beliefs or doctrines, just a nebulous feeling that there must be a God. The Mormon missionaries asked me to pray and find out for certain. They were sure I would “get an answer,” something I had never considered. I had always viewed prayer as a one-way communication from people to God, giving gratitude and asking that needs be fulfilled.
I suppose that my first prayer was much like anyone’s in my position. Finding a way to be alone, I knelt and asked, “Is there anyone up there?” Suddenly, a feeling washed over me, something I had never before experienced. It came from above and filled me with warmth, a solid assurance that yes, God was there, had always been, and that He was gladly manifesting Himself to me, now that I had finally asked.
I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ, and during the first few years had several personal revelations that powerfully answered my questions about some important decisions. I asked God whether a certain man was the one I should marry. That was important enough for the Lord to speak to me through the Holy Ghost, yes.
I had only had one “priesthood blessing,” however. A priesthood blessing is when a man who holds the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood lays his hands upon your head and blesses you, as a conduit of revelation from God, with healing, comfort, or prophetic information. After I was married, my husband, a worthy priesthood holder, was willing to give me priesthood blessings whenever I felt I needed one. Over the years, I was healed many times through priesthood power, sometimes really miraculously. Other times, I learned a great deal about myself, things I hadn’t realized, and I don’t think my parents or husband realized.
I began to learn how intimately the Lord knows us. Even in our formative stages, He knows both our weaknesses and our potential. In fact, He knew us for an eternity before we were born, and He knows which of our weaknesses are the temporary trappings of mortality. Sometimes predictions received through revelation were almost unbelievable, way beyond my current ability, things I had never even considered. But they did unfold like a perfect flower, coming to pass naturally, and yet miraculously.
God knows each one of His children this thoroughly, and He is willing to use that knowledge to guide us through our lives and our trials, if only we come to Him and ask, and then respond with action after we receive His guidance. Once a connection is established and we learn to pray always, this guidance continuously flows on a daily basis. In times of desperate trial, the Lord gives us more.
How would your life change, learning that God knows and loves you intimately? Would you be more forthcoming in your communications with Him? Would you trust His judgment more? Would you make yourself a clean vessel in order to receive His spirit? Would you turn your life over to Him, so He could use you in His service to touch the lives of others?
God’s love is infinite. His central purpose is to exalt us.