I have a dear friend who calls me when the struggles of life get real. After we chat for a little while, I usually ask the same question. Did you have a priesthood blessing yet? And she usually says, “Why do I never remember that?”
Perhaps that is typically the first question I ask her because, during hardship, I want the support and blessings of my heavenly associates. Is there ever a time when a priesthood blessing isn’t appropriate? Probably. But for now, let’s address the circumstances when you should ask.
First, illness obviously. Many times, physical issues feel totally out of our control. When we don’t have the whole picture or we lack understanding, it is wise to seek heavenly assistance.
Second, when we are going through difficult trials, the world around us can feel especially heavy and dark. We are all in need of emotional and spiritual healing, comfort and a power greater than our own to cast out the darkness. There are times we might need extra help to forgive someone who has wronged us or to be forgiven for an error of our own.
Times in my life
There are times in life when we are traveling or trying something new when it is wise to seek a blessing of safety or wisdom. In college, I asked for blessings before especially difficult exams or when I was expected to fulfill great obligations. Children can receive father’s blessings before they start a new year of school or anytime a new opportunity arises.
What about loneliness and depression? Have you ever felt like your prayers were only going as far as the ceiling before they just floated off into nothingness? Trying to escape the weight of isolation can be extremely difficult during dark days.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Life in today’s world can be at times so complicated and the challenges so overwhelming as to be beyond our individual capacity to resolve them. We all need help from the Lord. Yet there are many individuals who don’t know how to receive that help. They feel their urgent pleas for help have often gone unattended. How can that be when He Himself has said, “Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”? ...But He also declared, “Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.” 1
I learned that the Lord asks us to do our part as well. Ought I to ask for a blessing for an exam if I wasn’t willing to study for it myself? Should I ask for a blessing every time I feel depressed if I am not willing to think of other’s needs before my own? Should I ask for a blessing of new employment if I am not willing to put my resume out and attend interviews? If I only have time to bemoan my fate, we can’t expect the Lord to do much for us.
Elder Scott continued his address saying, “The Lord has the power to bless us at any time. Yet we see that to count on His help, we must consistently obey His commandments… It is evident that He intends that we do our part. But what, specifically, are we to do? No one would expect to receive a result from physical law without obeying it. Spiritual law is the same. As much as we want help, we must expect to follow the spiritual law that controls that help. Spiritual law is not mysterious. It is something that we can understand. The Savior declared, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” 1
When we are willing to do our part, as we strive to be obedient to our Lord, and as we reach out for His counsel, we have every right to ask for priesthood blessings. He is always willing to bless us. The question is now are we willing to put forth the faith and effort to receive His counsel? I hope we can all answer yes.
- “Obtaining Help from the Lord”, Elder Richard G. Scott, October 1991 General Conference