When faith and faithfulness are added to priesthood authority, marvelous things can happen in the lives of men, women, and families. We learn in the scriptures that after the Lord "called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matthew 10:1; see also Mark 3:14; Mark 6:7; and Luke 9:1). . . .
Such great and powerful miracles of healing, restoration, and revelation righteously enacted through the authority of the priesthood occur in our day as well. May I share one experience of my own?
Some years ago I heard a young woman talk about the physical struggle her older sister was having with her health during a difficult pregnancy. I was touched by the story and concerned about the girl's sister and her unborn child, and I wished there was something I could do for her. But it wasn't until later that evening while I was reading the scriptures that the unmistakable impression came that I needed to visit this sick member of the Church. Having received similar promptings from time to time, I have learned not to question them but to simply respond. So I asked my wife to go with me to visit this young wife and mother.
"I don't know for sure why I'm here," I said when her husband answered our knock at their door, "except that I have had a strong prompting that I need to see your wife."
"Brother Ballard," the young husband replied, "I don't think she'll see you. She has been so sick she hasn't seen anyone."
"Please just tell her that we're here," I said, "and why we're here."
While waiting we browsed through some of the family photographs on display in the living room. There was a picture of one of their children, who was seriously disabled. There was also a photograph of a younger child, healthy in every way and anxious to have a new little brother or sister with whom to play. My wife reminded me of the stillborn child that had been born to the couple, as well as the unusual physical toll each pregnancy had taken on this young mother. The decision to have another child must have been difficult for the couple. They had likely made the matter a subject of the most careful, prayerful consideration, and had received spiritual assurance that all would be well—which doubtless made the current crisis all the more disconcerting.
At last the woman joined us in the living room. She was obviously weak and in considerable pain, suffering with a severe case of shingles that covered the left side of her face and neck with huge, blistered lesions. According to the husband, her blood platelet level was so low that her life—as well as the life of her baby—was at risk.
I took her hand in mine and told her the simple truth: "The Lord has sent me here to give you a blessing." Her husband, his father, and I placed our hands on her head, and I felt spiritually impressed to give her a blessing of complete and total healing.
"At that moment," she later wrote of the experience, "I felt a force move through my body and out through my toes. . . . I know the Spirit of the Lord was there, Brother Ballard. I felt it. I heard it speak through you. . . . It gave me the strength to faithfully endure and accomplish a task that seemed impossible. After the blessing I knew in my heart that we would be blessed with a healthy baby."
And they were.
"Our new little son has been such a light and great joy in our life," the young mother wrote. "Through this little guy the Lord sent us a beautiful gift of love."
Wondrous miracles do happen through the authority of the priesthood. In most instances, however, priesthood authority works quietly and simply in the lives of those who respect and live worthy of it. It enables believers to make sacred covenants with the Lord through baptism, and to renew those covenants each week at Church services through partaking of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Priesthood blessings offer comfort and peace and the courage to cope with life's challenges.