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Let me just start by admitting this is a trick question. We all need blessings, and probably men and women need them in equal measure. But I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that women seek them out the most. But does this mean they need them the most? I don’t think so.
We can all speculate as to why women seem to ask for more blessings than men do. I think it’s fair to generalize here that men are more reluctant to admit they need help. We’re all guilty of trying to be independent and solve life’s problems all by ourselves, but I’d say from years of experience, that men have the lion’s share of this macho thinking, if we can call it that.
Not long ago I was chatting with various LDS women who had real, pressing problems and concerns. I asked each of them if they had sought out a Priesthood blessing. It was as if they had all conferred privately and agreed upon a response. Every one of them said, “Well, no, I didn’t think this was that big of a deal.”
Wait a second. Your son got arrested, your doctor recommended a scan for cancer, you lost your job, your mother wants to move in with you (granted, not all of these were happening to the same person), and you thought none of them were a big enough deal?
Sometimes we act as though Priesthood power is a finite amount of juice and we don’t want to use it all up. As if there’s a fishing limit in play here, and you don’t want to catch more fish than the law allows. Or as if it’s only for use in grand emergencies, and you’d better have two severed legs and be lying there in a coma or it’s not serious enough to trouble a Priesthood holder.
I think the adversary is behind this notion that we aren’t worthy, or our situation isn’t dire enough, or we’re big babies if we can’t handle our current challenge. I can almost hear him whispering, “You’re going to bother someone over that? Get a grip.” Or, “Man up. You can handle this” to men.
In truth, even Satan knows this is a direct pipeline to Heavenly Father’s words to you. He will do whatever he can to keep us from studying scriptures and praying because he wants to close off that conduit. And getting a Priesthood blessing is even more of a disaster from his viewpoint—it’s basically a direct channel to God.
When a worthy holder of this amazing power places his hands upon your head, he is no longer just saying what he personally thinks, but uttering words given to him by your loving Father in Heaven. We could compile volumes of stories about people being blessed in specific ways, about precise concerns they’ve shared with no one else, which the person blessing them nevertheless addressed in detail.
Seeking a blessing of comfort is probably the least-requested yet most needed blessing. Most of us seek back-to-school blessings, and blessings prior to a surgery, but too many of us think it’s trivial to enlist God’s attention when we’re simply going through an emotional crisis.
And I say simply with awareness of its irony, because emotional crises are not simple or small at all. Every one of us has moments in life—many of them—when we want to burst into tears, sink into despair, or even give up entirely. Life offers us sorrows, heartbreaks, confusion, and disappointment, and we need help with that as much as we need help during a surgery.
Not long ago I was feeling burdened down by my list of worries, my concerns that I keep trying to hand over to Christ, yet which come creeping back, usually at night. And finally I realized that yes, this is bigger than I can surmount alone. I need my Heavenly Father’s help. I asked my husband for a blessing and the comfort and peace that poured forth were astonishing. Why hadn’t I availed myself of this grand blessing sooner? We often suffer needlessly, when assurance from God is so available. For those without priesthood holders in their homes, there are home teachers and loving ward members who are happy and willing to help.
And this brings me to men. I’m aware of several men who doubt themselves, whose marriages are at risk, who feel disappointed with what they’ve accomplished in their lives, who are trying to do more than they even need to, who have wayward children breaking their hearts—yet what percentage seek a Priesthood blessing? How much more confident they could feel, how sure of God’s love for them, how motivated to keep on. They just need to ask.
And think of the honor this is for a man, to be asked to give a blessing. Someone has given you a vote of confidence that they know you are worthy to speak in God’s behalf. Someone is placing their happiness in your hands for a moment, knowing you will tell them God’s will. Someone believes in you enough to be vulnerable, to share a bit of their heart with you. Wow.
I hope we’ll all think about how often we have—or haven’t—sought out a Priesthood blessing, and even pray about whether this might be a good idea for you, to help you meet the trials you’re facing at this very moment. We have such a great blessing from our loving Father in Heaven. Let’s use it.