Scope: I'm seeking answers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The concept of a "personal relationship" is fairly natural and intuitive when we think of the interactions between two human beings, like friends, spouses, or parents and children. However, attempting to extrapolate this intuition and understanding to a relationship between a human and God isn't immediately obvious. Let me explain why I think this. In human interactions, we can dissect a "personal relationship" into several core components:

  • Awareness or Perception: In a personal relationship between two individuals, each person must be aware of the other's presence. Put simply, they must be able to perceive each other's existence and acknowledge their presence. It doesn't seem logical to claim that A has a personal relationship with B if A isn't aware of B's existence or cannot perceive B's presence. There must be a means for both parties to perceive and be aware of each other's presence for a genuine personal relationship to exist. In human interpersonal relationships, this perception and awareness is possible through our natural senses and a well-functioning brain capable of sound cognitive processing. This combination enables us to decode and interpret sensory input into meaningful concepts, like perceiving another person's presence.

  • Communication: In a personal relationship between A and B, communication is essential. A should be able to convey coherent messages to B, and vice versa. Moreover, A must recognize when B initiates communication and vice versa, which ties closely to the previous point on awareness and perception. A needs to be able to distinguish between moments when B is speaking and moments when B is not, making it possible for A to have reactions such as "Ah, B is addressing me now" (and vice versa).

  • Interactivity: Beyond communication, it should be possible for A and B to engage in many other forms of interaction. While communication is crucial, human interaction can extend to many more activities. For instance, A and B can play a game of chess together, play table tennis together, practice synchronizing moves in a dance routine (like tango) together, take turns driving a car together, and so forth. Notice how these specific examples require fairly equal involvement from both parties.

I might be overlooking some features, but the ones I've mentioned appear to be quite fundamental, particularly in human interpersonal relationships.

Regarding the concept of a "personal relationship" between a human and God, do the features I outlined (awareness or perception, communication, interactivity) retain their importance? Are there additional crucial aspects? Are there interactions that are possible between two humans but are not possible between a human and God? Conversely, are there interactions that are possible between a human and God but that are not possible between two humans?

In short, is there an established list of essential attributes in the LDS Church defining a "personal relationship" between a human and God?

References to official or reputable LDS sources are encouraged.

1 Answer 1


Yes, though most of it is awareness and communication focused and there is the added complexity of long distance relationship thrown in. Below are several articles with lists on how to build a relationship with God (I have provided an initial quote and then a summarized list, each article goes into greater detail and has additional sources).

How to Build a Relationship with God

We have an innate desire to love and be loved. That is why personal relationships matter to us and why we sacrifice our time and energy to keep them healthy. Effective two-way communication and service provide fuel for our relationships with family, friends, and associates. The same is true of a relationship with God.

A relationship with God is different from our relationships with the people in our lives. For instance, those people may seem easier to reach. However, while we may not talk to God face-to-face, we can each have a deeper, more loving connection with Him than we can with anyone else.

  • Talk to Him through Daily Prayer
  • Read the Scriptures
  • Serve Others

3 Ways You Can Build a Relationship with God

As we come to know God, we will find more peace, happiness, and meaning in our lives, even in a world of chaos. You can build and strengthen your relationship with God by focusing on these three things.

  • Study God’s words
  • Talk to God
  • Follow Jesus Christ

Strengthening My Relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

The older I get, the more I realize how much I rely on relationships—relationships with friends, family, and even the delivery people who never fail to bring me my latest online order (bless them).

And for years, I knew that the frequent counsel from our Church leaders to build relationships with Heavenly Father and the Savior was true and important.

But I just couldn’t figure out how to actually do that.

Earthly relationships with my friends and family involve having conversations, sharing inside jokes, and spending time together. So the thought of having a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, who aren’t physically present, always seemed so abstract to me.

However, as I was pondering, I realized that everyone’s relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is personal and unique. So what if I applied some practical approaches that have helped me develop strong relationships with my loved ones here on earth to my relationship with Them? -Communicate honestly, out loud, and with real intent through prayer.

  • Be a good listener.
  • Show Them appreciation.
  • Make sacrifices for Them.
  • Learn about Them.
  • Spend quality time with Them.
  • Serve together.
  • Show Them trust and commitment.
  • Admit when you’re wrong.
  • Learn how They show you love.

A Personal Relationship with Our Heavenly Father through Prayer

Now, please do not ask me how it is possible that millions of people can pray at the same time, and in different languages, and our Father in Heaven is ready to listen and to answer at the same time. I cannot understand how that happens. But I know it works!

Just like a mobile phone, prayer works, even though we may not understand exactly how. But there are some things about prayer that we do understand.

  • Pray from the Heart
  • Prepare to Pray
  • Pray Even When It’s Hard
  • Spend a Moment in Heaven
  • Follow the Savior’s Example
  • Remain Humble
  • Seek Earnestly
  • Believe That He Will Listen

See also:

Most of the references are about prayer, which is a combination of awareness/perception and communication. Some of the items might fall under interactivity, like service, but nothing in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doctrine discounts the potential of other ways of interacting with God or future interactivity.

IMO interactivity is not required for a relationship, in that plenty of people have inter-personal relationships with just perception/awareness and communication. Whether it's with someone on the web, a coworker, sick/bed bound friend/family member, or a long distance relationship; communication and awareness/perception is what is most important. Interactivity can/does/will strengthen relationships, but it isn't required.

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