Cover of the book "Priesthood Power: Blessing the Sick and Afflicted" from Covenant Communications.

"Priesthood Power: Blessing the Sick and the Afflicted," by Larry Barkdull, Covenant Communications, 79 pages, $11.95

Have you ever wondered how a priesthood blessing works? The book "Priesthood Power: Blessing the Sick and the Afflicted" is a tome of more than 200 quotes, scriptures, stories and personal insights by author Larry Barkdull concerning the Lord's commission to priesthood holders to bless the sick. It explains that performing this sacred ordinance is a delicate process. A priesthood holder must consider many elements beyond simply receiving the Melchizedek priesthood.

In the first three chapters of the book, the text delves deeply into the topic of faith in Jesus Christ. Barkdull feels that priesthood holders must not only have faith but also comprehend how faith works. To comprehend faith, you must understand him and how he works. For example, when people think how they are going to accomplish a task, they typically think of exerting some kind of physical force. The Lord accomplishes his work by the power of his words. God said, "Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).

An interesting concept that permeates the book is the need for priesthood holders to be sanctified in order to perform priesthood blessings. Sanctification comes by preparing to be a conduit for the spirit. Instead of leaving the topic of sanctification at that, the book continues with a bulleted list of practical ways to prepare for giving a blessing and gaining sanctification.

One of the hallmarks of the Savior's ministry was his ability to heal the sick and afflicted unequivocally. Barkdull bravely addresses the concern some members of the church have when a priesthood blessing seems to go unanswered. He does a good job of explaining why the answer to a righteous request is sometimes no. It tests patience and requires us to remain faithful even in affliction. A priesthood holder not able to heal the sick should not be disparaged but is given the opportunity to nurture the afflicted until the Lord makes his will known.

Although the author explains that the book is a "must-have for every bearer of the Melchizedek Priesthood or for anyone preparing for the priesthood," many of the faith-promoting quotes and stories can be found in other LDS publications. However, the benefit of owning the book is the gathering of these items in one place.

"Priesthood Power: Blessing the Sick and the Afflicted" is a little larger than a pocket-sized book with 79 pages and can be read quickly. It builds a chapter-by-chapter foundation to help priesthood holders prepare for, understand and give blessings. The content is thought-provoking, so several readings will garner additional insight. The book makes a great reference for anyone trying to understand more about how the priesthood ordinance of blessing the sick works.

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