PREPARING FOR YOUR PATRIARCHAL BLESSING
Prepared by The Committee of Restoration Patriarch-Evangelists
When we come to God for a patriarchal blessing we are committing ourselves to His Way of living.
Little children receive a blessing before they are aware of what is happening or able to comprehend its meaning. More mature people come devoutly and with the expectation of receiving a blessing, the spirit and meaning of which they might enter into fully.
The patriarchal blessing is a ministry available to members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Generally, those who are mature enough to receive God's counsel with understanding, and who are members in good standing, are eligible to receive a patriarchal blessing. Patriarchal blessings are usually not given soon after baptism.
Those receiving blessings are to be persons of sound moral quality. They are to be honest, clean and wholesome in influence. This does not mean they must be persons without weakness or who do not make mistakes, however. The blessing is to help them to achieve spiritual strength.
Only one such blessing is given in a lifetime, unless there are very unusual circumstances involved. In any event, it is the responsibility of the Patriarch- Evangelist to determine when it is appropriate to give a patriarchal blessing to those who have requested one.
The pattern for patriarchal blessings goes back into early Hebrew history. Jacob (Israel) called his sons to him and one by one they received the benediction of their father. Each received counsel in accordance with his nature and needs.
This is what a patriarchal blessing seeks to do today.
It is well that those who are to receive a patriarchal blessing shall make some definite preparation. This preparation should include prayer, meditation, self- examination, fasting (as health permits), and reading of certain scriptures and meditation upon them.
The one receiving a patriarchal blessing should have some clear ideas concerning the purpose of the blessing and what may be expected. The primary purpose of the patriarchal blessing is to give an authoritative, priestly blessing, invoked by a spiritual father representing God and the church.
The patriarch places his hands on the head of the person receiving the blessing and offers a prayer which commends the person to God and opens channels whereby God's expression in counsel, encouragement, direction, correction and support might be given. This blessing is one which says, "You will be blessed, if . . ." It may provide guidance and inspiration which will assist the person in planning a course of life and in making decisions that are pleasing to God.
While the spirit of prophecy may be present during the blessing, it must be remembered that it has more important functions than just predicting future events. It would be an error to think of the blessing simply as an adventure in prying open the windows of the future.
This ordinance coupled with faithful obedience to the will of God brings divine blessing and guidance and may be a help through an entire lifetime.
Other important elements of the patriarchal blessing include the giving of comfort when needed, or admonition, and, especially, good counsel as to a godly way of life and to the rededication and reconsecration of one's life. It will bring a benediction from above, to help one in making adjustments to life and its problems. It may also include the naming of lineage (Doctrine and Covenants 125:3).
No one should come seeking a blessing in any spirit of lightheartedness, or of curiosity. The approach must be made seriously, out of a real personal desire and sense of need, and in a prayerful spirit. One must be ready to listen and willing to accept, comply with, and heed any counselor admonition received. Coming in that spirit you will be blessed according to the promises of God.
Some suggested scriptures for reading are:
Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 and 86
Book of Mormon
2 Nephi 13: 27-32
Mosiah: Chapters 1. 2 and 3
Moroni: Chapter 10
Holy Scriptures - Inspired Version
Matthew: Chapters 5, 6 and 7
John: Chapter 14
Romans: Chapters 8 through 15
Hebrews: Chapters 9 through 13.
The candidate and the patriarch will meet at the appointed time and place in a setting that is conducive to worship and away from noise and distraction. The blessing will be recorded so that it might be subsequently transcribed and the original given to the candidate with a copy kept on file.
Generally there is no one else present during the blessing. Also, the patriarchal blessing is a private document and should not be casually handed around. The general principles of the blessing should be noted and one should not attempt to identify small details and become bogged down in speculation over little things.
The blessing will usually provide basics, which can be applied to specific situations. One will find counsel rather than specific answers to specific questions. It should be expected that through the years, and as one matures, the patriarchal blessing will continue to provide counsel and guidance, in line with a growing conception of God and of I one's stewardship of life.
It is vitally important to remember that the promises of God are made on condition that one meets the essential requirements for fulfillment. Realizing this and using your patriarchal blessing wisely will enrich your life and discipleship.
The spirit of the patriarchal blessing is caught up in the benedictory prayer of Moses and Aaron:
The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make his face shine upon you, And be gracious unto you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
And give you peace, now and ever more.