What Will I Say?

by John Allen Whatey

Listen Download Print Share

Bless a dying woman? I didn’t know what to say, but the Lord did.

One day my missionary companion and I received a phone call from a ward mission leader. He told me there was a woman who was dying and wanted the elders to give her a blessing. I immediately felt uncomfortable but said we would do it. As I hung up the phone, I couldn’t help but think, Bless someone who is dying? What kind of blessing do you give to someone who is about to die?

Before we left I knelt down and prayed. I asked Heavenly Father to help me exercise my priesthood.

We met the ward mission leader outside the house where the woman was staying. He told us they hadn’t expected her to live through the previous night.

The mother led us to the room where her daughter was. She knocked on the door and said, “Honey, the elders are here to give you a blessing.” As she opened the door, I caught my first glimpse of the woman.

My heart ached as I saw her lying on the bed. She was a woman in her mid-40s and completely bald due to medical treatment. She slowly opened her eyes, and I smiled as kindly as I could.

It was decided that my companion would anoint her and I would seal the anointing.

My mind raced as I tried to think of what to say, but nothing seemed right. My companion finished, and I looked at her, so frail looking, so weak. What am I going to do? I thought. Just bless her was the reply to my silent question.

I felt a great calm come over me as I laid my hands upon her head. I called her by name, stated my authority, and paused. Then the Spirit took over. Words flowed to my mind as I blessed her. Where was all this coming from? It was amazing. Never before had I given a blessing like this.

I closed in the name of Jesus Christ, took my hands off her head, and wiped my eyes. I had started crying almost as soon as I had begun. She took my hand in hers and whispered, “Thank you.”

“Thank you” was all I could say in return. Everyone in the room was crying. The mother said, “You can feel the Spirit so strongly.” The woman’s sister took me aside and said, “Thank you. She has been so scared. That was exactly what she needed to hear.” As I left I thought about what had happened. I should have remembered that blessings don’t come from men. They come from God through men. That blessing was exactly what she needed to hear because Heavenly Father knew what she needed.

The priesthood isn’t a power that is used over someone, and it doesn’t make a priesthood holder more special than others. But it provides a way for our Father in Heaven to help us in very special ways. Through the priesthood great blessings are brought into the lives not only of those who receive the blessings but of the priesthood holders as well.

Illustrated by Paul Mann