Develop a personal relationship with God, Elder Juan A. Uceda tells BYU-Idaho students

Elder Juan A. Uceda speaks at Devotional. Courtney Mitchell
BYU-Idaho Devotional. Fall Semester. Guest Speaker Elder Juan A. Uceda greeting students. Nov 2017 Ericka Sanders

“The Lord Jesus Christ invites us to pray and to establish a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father,” Elder Juan A. Uceda of the Presidency of the Seventy told BYU-Idaho students at a devotional on Nov. 28. “Through His wonderful example, He has taught us how to establish and maintain that intimate relationship with His Father.”

The scriptures teach that God wants His children to ask Him for things. The Greek word for “ask” means to beg, crave or implore. “The Heavens will not be opened if we just say prayers,” Elder Uceda said. “The heavens will be opened if we beg, if we crave, if we implore, if we pray from the heart.”

To avoid vain words or repetition in daily prayers, Elder Uceda said that one should prepare to pray. “Before starting a personal prayer, we could read a scripture or we could briefly ponder all of our blessings,” he said.

Elder Uceda asked the audience when the last time was that they felt something while praying. “If you do not remember when was the last time you felt something as you were praying, then you must do something about it.”

The enemy of righteousness doesn’t want anyone to pray “because he knows that the moment you start praying from the heart, you obtain power — spiritual power — and he loses influence over you,” Elder Uceda said. “A mighty prayer provides spiritual power to face anxiety, depression, doubts about your own faith. A personal relationship with your Father in Heaven through prayers from the heart, through mighty prayers, will give you power to make the right decisions.”

Prayers offered from the heart will open heaven and give one spiritual power to face temptations. “Feelings of peace, of comfort, of joy, of love, are some of the feelings that come to you when the Heaven is opened,” Elder Uceda said.

In the scriptures, Jesus teaches all how to pray. Elder Uceda said, “Jesus prayed first thing in the morning. … He would look for a solitary place to pray. In other words, he would avoid any distractions, he would unplug himself from the world in order to establish a connection with the heavens.”

Heavenly Father uses prayers to teach His children important lessons. “As you strive to be humble and honest and sincere in your prayers you will find that it will be easier for you to accept His will, even though this will not be what you were praying for.”

Mighty prayers reach the heavens, Elder Uceda said. “One of the meanings of the word ‘pray’ in Hebrew is ‘to speak.’ And that very thing is what we do when we pray to our Heavenly Father: we speak to Him.”

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