As we read the glorious account of the Savior’s visit to the American continent, we might long to have been among those who watched as the Lord “took their little children, one by one, and blessed them” (3 Ne. 17:21). Though the Savior is not among us physically, he has made it possible for us to receive priesthood blessings. Some of these blessings are part of essential ordinances—such as confirmations and priesthood ordinations. At other times, blessings of encouragement and direction come as part of namings and blessings of babies, settings apart, and patriarchal blessings. And we can always receive special priesthood blessings for direction, healing, and comfort.
Our challenges vary, but there are times when each of us may feel the need for a blessing from God. These blessings can come through worthy holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood. An elderly woman in frail health who was frequently lonely asked a priesthood holder for a blessing to help her understand the mission God had for her. Another sister, the only Church member among her school faculty, needed help to discuss issues with the faculty over which there had been bitter disagreement. She sought a blessing from her home teacher that she might have the Spirit with her. A mother sought a blessing from her husband at the beginning of each school year to receive the assistance she would need as she worked with their children.
• For what reasons might you ask for a blessing?
The efficacy of a priesthood blessing depends, in part, on the faith of the recipient. To ask for a blessing is itself an exercise of faith. Fasting in preparation for the blessing may increase our faith and sensitivity to the promptings of the Spirit. But our most effective preparation may be establishing daily a relationship of trust with God. This includes prayer, scripture study, repentance, obedience, and sacrifice.
Following a blessing, it helps to contemplate and pray about the words that were spoken. A mother, distraught about a daughter who had left home and had withdrawn from Church activity, asked her husband for a blessing and was promised that this child would one day be a source of joy to her. During difficult months that followed, remembering the blessing gave her courage not to panic or give up. She said, “We really need to listen, write down [the statements or promises that stood out] in our personal journals, refer back to them—go back and remember what the Lord has said—go back and believe.” While it is always appropriate to ask for a blessing in time of need, we should not seek repeated blessings over a short period of time or “shop around” until we find the blessing we like.
God delights to bless us (see D&C 41:1). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive. … He will be inquired of by His children. He says, ‘Ask and ye shall receive’” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 257).
• How can priesthood blessings help you fulfill your life’s mission?