- In a priesthood blessing a servant of the Lord exercises the priesthood, as moved upon by the Holy Ghost, to call upon the powers of heaven for the benefit of the person being blessed. Such blessings are conferred by holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood, which has the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the Church.
Priesthood blessings are available to everyone but should only be given upon request.
- Priesthood blessings are available for all who need them, but they are only given on request.
There are many circumstances where priesthood blessings are appropriate.
- Blessings for the healing of the sick are preceded by anointing with oil, as the scriptures direct.
- Patriarchal blessings are conferred by an ordained patriarch.
- Persons desiring guidance in an important decision can receive a priesthood blessing.
- Persons who need extra spiritual power to overcome a personal challenge can receive a blessing.
- Expectant mothers can be blessed before they give birth.
- Many LDS families remember a sacred occasion where a worthy father gave a priesthood blessing to a son or daughter who was about to be married.
- Priesthood blessings are often requested from fathers before children leave home for other purposes, such as school, service in the military, or a long trip.
- Newly called missionaries often request a father’s blessing before they depart.
- Priesthood blessings are also given in connection with a priesthood ordination or with the setting apart of a man or woman for a calling in the Church.
- Many of us have requested a priesthood blessing when we were about to embark upon a new responsibility in our employment. I received such a blessing many years ago and felt its immediate comfort and long-term guidance.
President Oaks shares an experience by our newly called President of the Church President Russell M. Nelson
- In setting Dr. Russell M. Nelson apart as a stake president, a General Authority blessed him with power to meet the extremely demanding time requirements of his profession as a heart surgeon. Elder Nelson has described how that blessing was fulfilled by significant reductions in the risk of certain heart operations and in the time required for postoperative care. Eight years later, the man who had blessed him became his patient. Elder Spencer W. Kimball was scheduled for a complex heart operation. Presidents Harold B. Lee and N. Eldon Tanner blessed Dr. Nelson “that the operation would be performed without error, that all would go well, and that [he] need not fear for [his] own inadequacies, for [he] had been raised up by the Lord to perform this operation.”That blessing was realized. A little over a year later, his fully recovered and vigorous patient became President of the Church and gave leadership through events and growth that will never be forgotten.
In the above situation, this was an example of a physical blessing given by the power of the priesthood. It is important to remember that Priesthood blessings can also be given for spiritual matters.
- A priesthood blessing is a conferral of power over spiritual things. Though it cannot be touched or weighed, it is of great significance in helping us overcome obstacles on the path to eternal life.
Priesthood blessings can be given to groups of people.
- Priesthood blessings are not limited to those blessings spoken as hands are laid on the head of one person. Blessings are sometimes pronounced on groups of people. The prophet Moses blessed all the children of Israel before his death. The Prophet Joseph Smith “pronounced a blessing upon the sisters” working on the Kirtland Temple. He also blessed “the congregation.” As recently as last April conference President Benson blessed the Latter-day Saints and “good people everywhere … with increased power to do good and to resist evil,” and “with increased understanding of the Book of Mormon.”
President Oaks concludes with advice to the priesthood holders of the church.
- Brethren, young and old, do not be hesitant to ask for a priesthood blessing when you are in need of spiritual power. Fathers and other elders, cherish and magnify the privilege of blessing your children and the other children of our Heavenly Father. Be prepared to give priesthood blessings under the influence of the Holy Ghost whenever you are requested in sincerity and faith.
I needed this reminder about how great priesthood blessings are. I have been blessed so much when someone places their hands upon my head and with the guidance of the spirit, pronounces blessings from heaven upon me. I am grateful for wise and righteous men that are living their covenants. I am grateful for the holy spirit that will guide a worthy priesthood holder to say the things needed to bless peoples lives. Priesthood blessings are a gift to us from God and we would be wise to seek for them when we have physical and spiritual needs.