Every year before the first day of school I give my children a Father’s Blessing. A Father’s Blessing is one given to his children by power and authority of the Priesthood. While we traditionally give them before school, Father’s Blessings and other priesthood blessings are given to provide direction and comfort as guided by the Spirit.
I remember with fondness all the times my Father gave me a blessing before the new year. Me and my sister would gather in the front room and each take our turn. His words were wise and kinds and helped me feel safe for the challenges ahead. I could feel the Holy Ghost, and so could he. I knew that my Dad had faith in the power of God and took his obligation seriously. I don’t think Dad ever finished a blessing without being in tears.
It is an honored time for me to be able to bless my children. I try to be sensitive to the Spirit and say the things that God wants my children to know. I try to remember that a blessing given by the Priesthood is to be regarded as if Christ were giving it himself.
In the Book of Mormon there is an account of when Jesus visits the Americas after His resurrection. One of the sweetest moments of His visit comes when he asks all the children to be brought to Him. “…And he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.” (3rd Nephi 17:21). I often think about what He said to them and how they would have felt.I asked my 5th grader Garren about how he felt after getting his blessing. He said, “I don’t feel worried anymore about school and I feel safe.”
Blessings can be for any time we feel that need of additional guidance and comfort. I will still ask my Dad for a blessing when I am home and in need. My sister Summer related an experience to me today of a blessing from our Father and the comfort it gave her.
“When I was near the end of my second pregnancy I received a blessing from my father and while it was a wonderful experience filled with the spirit there wasn’t one thing that really stuck out to me. The day after my sons complication free birth, while in the hospital, he stopped breathing and turned blue. He has been choking on fluid and having trouble regulating his breathing. They rushed him away, I was all alone and the first thing I thought to do was call my dad. I remember clear as day that he said “remember what I said in your blessing? I said that while things may not go as planned, everything would be okay”. I felt an immediate peace come over me and knew that Heavenly Father had a plan for this sweet baby and that he was taking care of him. And he did. He is now a loud, caring, goofy 4 year old who made quite an entrance in to the world and continues to do so every day.”
Father’s Blessings are not merely a Latter-day principle. Even Prophets from the Old Testament and Book of Mormon gave blessings to their sons. We can read of the blessings that Jacob, of the Old Testament (Genesis 48), gave to his sons and also the blessings of Lehi, of the Book of Mormon (2nd Nephi 4), to his sons.
Here in Arizona we start school very early. You might not have had your kids start yet. I wanted to share some instructions from the Family Guidebook.
“A father who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood may give father’s blessings to his children. Such blessings may be especially helpful when children go away from home, such as to attend school or go on missions, or when they begin employment, get married, enter military service, or face unusual personal challenges. These blessings can be a great strength to a family. A family may record a father’s blessing for family records, but it is not preserved in Church records. Parents should encourage children to seek father’s blessings in times of need.
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.
To give a father’s blessing or other blessings of comfort and counsel, a man who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, either alone or with one or more worthy men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, places his hands lightly on the head of the person receiving the blessing. No oil is necessary for such blessings. The one giving the blessing:
1. Calls the person by his or her full name.
2. States that he is giving the blessing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
3. Gives a blessing as the Spirit directs.
4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Fathers, look for opportunities to bless your children; children, ask your Father for a blessing when you are in need; Mothers, if you do not have a Priesthood holder in your home ask your Home Teacher, Bishop, or someone you trust to serve.
How have you been blessed by a Father’s Blessing?