I have always appreciated that my husband has been ready and willing to use the priesthood power and authority in our home whenever it has been needed or requested.
When my oldest was only three years old, I found him sitting close to his new sleeping baby brother with both of his little hands on that tiny head. I listened to a sweet, sincere prayer by my kiddo for his new sibling. It was an angelic moment which happened on more than one occasion. He had seen the power of the priesthood in action, and as part of his divine calling and responsibility that he didn’t even understand yet, he was eager to use it.
When I see people suffering, I am quick to think of the Savior going about doing good. He walked among the people of all stations and blessed the humble, the meek, the ill, the diseased and many others. It was through His power and the holy priesthood that He blessed them with encouragement, hope, healing, and direction. But the Savior didn’t go around blessing everyone He saw. It wouldn’t be right for members of the church today to stand on the street offering to give blessings to those who might want them. These are thoughtful, sacred and holy experiences that need to be understood and appreciated.
Bless the entire human race
The Lord has given us the gospel on this earth to bless the entire human race. When the Savior walked the earth, He blessed and taught those who were ready and willing to listen to Him. He didn’t ever force a blessing on someone who wasn’t willing to accept it. When our good priesthood holders visit the sick or the lonely to administer these sacred ordinances of health or comfort, the most important thing is that the recipient has faith in God’s power and that they understand that it is done by His authority. If they understand and know these things, the promises made in the blessing will be well received and treasured.
In the Family Guidebook under the heading Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings, it says, “Worthy men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood also may give blessings of comfort and counsel to their wives, extended family members, and others who request them.” (2006, pp18-25) It says nothing about church membership being a requirement to receive a priesthood blessing. These shouldn’t be requested out of curiosity but for a real need with faith in the Lord.
President Kimball declared: “The power of the priesthood is limitless, but God has wisely placed upon each of us certain limitations. I may develop priesthood power as I perfect my life, yet I am grateful that even through the priesthood I cannot heal all the sick. I might heal people who should die. I might relieve people of suffering who should suffer. I fear I would frustrate the purposes of God.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, pp. 103, 99.).
Priesthood blessings are not intended to create or develop faith, but they are there for those who can show faith in their God first. They may sometimes calm the storms, other times they may calm the sailors amid the storm. As a worldwide church, we welcome everyone to experience the rich blessings of the gospel including the power of the priesthood as we all strive to have faith in our eternal Father in Heaven.