I also heard Elder McConkie make the statement that we shouldn’t seek a personal relationship with Christ. I believe what he was saying was that we shouldn’t seek an exclusive relationship, in the sense that Heavenly Father is excluded from our worship. This type of relationship is common in today’s Christian theology, and it is not the way of those who receive the higher law.
But, we certainly do have a relationship with Christ, and it is personal because He gave his life for me, he paid for my sins, and speaks to me through the voice of the atonement every day of my life – that makes it personal. That makes it intimately personal because what I hear – nobody else in the world hears. It isn’t the global loudspeaker of the Light of Christ. It is the Still Small Voice of the Light of Christ.
Prayer is a different matter. Christ Himself taught us to pray to the Father. This is the higher law. This is the privilege which Christ purchased by the shedding of His blood. In part, He suffered so that we could pray to the Father – in His name. It is such a high and holy privilege that it honors Christ, and praises Him when we do so. It would be a step backwards in privilege to begin to pray to Christ directly.
We should not use prayer to worship Christ and adore Him directly. The sacramental prayers lead us in covenanting to “always remember Him”. To remember Him with joy, with adoration and worship is not only appropriate, but it is what we promise to do. We remember Him when we obey Him. And we worship Him when we ponder upon the sacrifice He wrought by the shedding of His blood. It is also why I always capitalize even pronouns that refer to Christ, because I adore and reverence Him. These things are not prayer, they are praise; they are covenantal obedience.
I consider that it is wonderfully appropriate to thank the Father for His Son, to worship Christ by worshiping the Father. In the most complete sense, the Father and Son are one. To worship the Father is to worship the Son. To express gratitude to the Father, is to do the same to His Beloved Son. It would be a 5000 year spiritual devolution to pray directly to Christ, who in that day was known as Jehovah, and the only God those generations had access to.
Christ Himself, when accepting His calling to be our Savior said to the Father, “And the glory be thine forever.” When Christ, by completing His earthly mission, became One with the Father, from that moment to this, to praise the Father, was and is to praise the Son.
Even though we are far more familiar with Jesus Christ’s role in our salvation, the truth is that this whole plan; the creation of the earth(s), the work and glory of bringing to pass the exaltation and eternal life of man, the creation of Celestial glories and the perpetuation of the divine genealogy is all the Father’s plan. He sacrificed His son to complete that plan. If the Father had done none of this, we wouldn’t be alive as mortals, wouldn’t be on a pathway to godliness, we wouldn’t be able to repent and shed culpability for sins, and Jesus would not be “the Christ”.
That is the lesson of Abraham’s life – the sacrifice of the Father in giving His Son. As large and glorious as Jesus Christ is to our eternal hopes, the Father is infinitely larger, and the price Father paid is infinitely greater.
This then is the given, and correct and highest order of worship, that in prayer we give all praise and honor and glory to the Father – and we always remember and obey His Son.