The source of my confusion is (as it was for dp) the sudden transition from talking to the Father to addressing the infant. It seems awkward.
Hal, thank for you for your thoughts.]]>
First, we have four children. For the first two, I didn’t give much thought to their blessings … much like when a person requests a blessing (b/c he or she is sick), I didn’t think about the words I was going to say. I felt that the Spirit would guide me. However, for our third child it was different. I was walking back to my car after class one night and began to think about his blessing. Thoughts and words came to my mind … they flowed freely and I felt the Spirit strongly (to the point of tears). It was truly unique and special to me. I kept contemplating those words that came to my mind during the next few days. Eventually I wrote them down. Because of other family crises, we didn’t bless our 3rd until the following month. On his blessing day, I prayed to have the Spirit with me as I gave him his blessing. It was emotional and I have no doubt that he will receive the blessings mentioned.
Our 4th was just born. I imagine that I’ll contemplate what I’ll say in her blessing having faith that the Spirit will prepare me as needed.
Second, when we blessed our 2nd child, I had the same question about addressing Heavenly Father at first, but then switching to addressing the child. It all seemed unorganized to me. I did some research on it, but didn’t find much. We were at BYU at the time and so I’d pay attention to the 2 or 3 baby blessings each month. Some followed the above mentioned pattern while others continued to address Heavenly Father throughout the blessing. I was still confused. Eventually I came across Luke 2:76-79. It was like a light bulb went on in my head. Zacharias gave John the Baptist a baby blessing and he addressed John directly. So the whole addressing Heavenly Father at first and then addressing the child made perfect sense to me after reading that passage.
Anyway, I hope my 2 cents add to the discussion.]]>
Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name.” (D&C 20:70)…The person who gives the blessing:
1. Addresses Heavenly Father.
2. States that the blessing is given by the the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
3. Gives the child a name.
4. Gives a priesthood blessing as the Spirit directs.
5. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.
Compare the pattern for baptism and confirmation, which have specific wording explicitly addressed to the ordinance receiver, for example:
The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name: Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
A better example might be consecration of oil, where one is instructed to address Heavenly Father, not the container, nor the oil. After the preamble, some might say “I consecrate this oil for the healing of the sick” others may say “We ask thee to consecrate this oil”.
So it is probably not a hard and fast rule, but performing a baby blessing in a manner different from all other personal blessings definitely raises eyebrows. Jesus said, “Take up thy bed and walk”, not “Father, please bless this man to take up his bed and walk”.]]>
But I do also think we are often blessed with things which we don’t fulfill out of our own bad choices/ agency.]]>
That makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, it answers two questions, for I had also wondered why baby blessings are uniquely initiated as prayers.
To be more precise, we could say it’s two ordinances in one. The first one is prayer-like (sacrament, dedications of graves, temples, homes, etc.) and the second is a (father’s) blessing.
Would you say this explanation is widely known, or was I just not paying attention?
On topic, this may answer Don’s question. If the 2nd part is just a priesthood blessing, it works like any other such blessing. So all the same factors (Holy Ghost, spirit of prophecy, faith, etc.) enter in.]]>
As to how they work, I think that some times they do and sometimes they don’t. There are three possibilities in the moment for them working. 1) the person blessing is pronouncing prophecy, e.g., “insert name, you will grow up and be strong.” 2) the person is actually blessing the child, e.g., “insert name, I bless you to grow up and be strong.” 3) the person blessing is giving counsel to the child (I haven’t really ever understood this one, but it seems pretty common), e.g., “insert name, listen to your parents.”
As for the blessing not working, there is always the possibility that the person blessing either doesn’t have the gift of prophecy or faith sufficient to ennact the blessing.]]>