Marissa A. Widdison and Douglas L. Callister, “Friend to Friend: Blessed by the Priesthood,” Friend, Jul 2006, 8–9
While my wife and I served in Eastern Europe, we lived in Russia. One day I spent about an hour in the Hermitage, a famous museum in St. Petersburg. Our guide said to us, “Be careful that you do not touch any of these important treasures, because the great wealth of Russia is found in the Hermitage.”
The next day was Sunday, and during sacrament meeting a young girl was confirmed a member of the Church. As I and other Melchizedek Priesthood holders stood next to her and placed our hands on her head, a thought came to me: “The wealth of Russia is not found in the Hermitage. The wealth of Russia is found in its children. As priesthood holders, we are allowed to stand close, lay our hands upon their heads, and bless the children.”Years ago our youngest child had a serious bone tumor in his lower back. When he was taken to the hospital for surgery, I overheard the doctors in the hallway talking about his condition. They said it was likely that nothing could be done to save our boy’s life.
When I went back in my son’s room, I tried to encourage him. I assured him that he was receiving the finest medical care. He said, “Daddy, I’m not counting on the doctors. I’m counting on my blessing. You laid your hands on my head, and you blessed me. And I have faith that the blessing will be fulfilled.”
My son was healed. His life is an example of the power of a priesthood blessing. One of the lessons I’ve learned through my Church service is that our Father in Heaven loves little children. He loves to bless them, and He often blesses them through His priesthood servants.
(Side Note: I know there is a picture of a young boy receiving a Priesthood Blessing I think it belongs to one of the Primary manual picture packets, but for the life of me I can't find it right now.)
Picture of Hermitage http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hermitage_from_inside.jpg
Picture of children above: Russian children wait for the arrival of the Olympic flame during the Olympic torch relay in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 5, 2008. St. Petersburg is the third stopover of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games flame relay outside the mainland of China. (Photo credit: Li Han)
What Is the Priesthood?
The priesthood is the power and authority of God. By his priesthood power the heavens and the earth were created. By this power the universe is kept in perfect order. Through this power he accomplishes his work and glory, which is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).
Our Heavenly Father shares his priesthood power with worthy male members of the Church. The priesthood enables them to act in God’s name for the salvation of the human family. Through it they can be authorized to preach the gospel, administer the ordinances of salvation, and govern God’s kingdom on earth.
Why Do We Need the Priesthood on the Earth?
We must have priesthood authority to act in the name of God when performing the sacred ordinances of the gospel, such as baptism, confirmation, administration of the sacrament, and temple marriage. If a man does not have the priesthood, even though he may be sincere, the Lord will not recognize ordinances he performs (see Matthew 7:21–23). These important ordinances must be performed on the earth by men holding the priesthood.
Men need the priesthood to preside in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to direct the work of the Church in all parts of the world. When Christ lived on the earth, he chose his Apostles and ordained them so that they could lead his Church. He gave them the power and authority of the priesthood to act in his name. (See Mark 3:13–15; John 15:16.)
Another reason the priesthood is needed on the earth is so we can understand the will of the Lord and carry out his purposes. God reveals his will to his authorized priesthood representative on the earth, the prophet. The prophet, who is President of the Church, serves as the spokesman for God to all members of the Church and all people on the earth.
James E. Faust, “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: Sacred Priesthood Blessings,” Friend, Oct 2004, 2
From an October 1995 general conference address.
President Faust explains how priesthood blessings strengthen and magnify us.
A priesthood blessing is sacred. It can be a holy and inspired statement of our wants and needs. If we are in tune spiritually, we can receive a confirming witness of the truth of the promised blessings. Priesthood blessings can help us in the small and great decisions of our lives. If, through our priesthood blessings, we could perceive [see] only a small part of the person God intends us to be, we would lose our fear and never doubt again.
As a small boy, I remember being intrigued [interested] by my grandmother’s magnifying glass which she used in her old age to read and do needlework. When the glass was in focus, everything I looked at was greatly magnified [made larger]. But I was most intrigued by what happened when the lens concentrated the sunlight on an object. When it passed through the magnifying glass, the sunlight’s power was absolutely amazing.
Blessings strengthen and magnify us. In the Church, blessings are available to all who are worthy through those authorized to give priesthood blessings. Worthy fathers and grandfathers, as well as other Melchizedek Priesthood holders, may give blessings to members in times of sickness and when important events occur. Such individual blessings are part of the continuous revelation that we claim as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Like the images in my grandmother’s magnifying glass, [through priesthood blessings] we can become stronger, our talents and ability can be magnified and multiplied, our understanding can be greatly enlarged, and our spirituality can flower.
Show a Magnifying glass to children and let them experience what President Faust did with his grandmother's magnifying glass.