The Sunday Morning Session of the April 1974 General Conference featured two talks that both spoke of the empowered role of parents, and specificallly fathers, in the home. Reading these two talks helped me recommit to doing as much as I possibly can to bless my family through my priesthood power.
First, Elder L. Tom Perry as a newly called member of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke about his childhood and the blessing of spiritual protection from his parents:
“We were dressed in our home each morning, not only with hats and raincoats and boots to protect us from physical storm, but even more carefully our parents dressed us each day in the armor of God. As we would kneel in family prayer and listen to our father, a bearer of the priesthood, pour out his soul to the Lord for the protection of his family against the fiery darts of the wicked, one more layer was added to our shield of faith.”
He then emphasized, “While our shield was being made strong, theirs was always available, for they were available and we knew it.”
I love how he describes each day and each prayer as adding an additional layer to a shield of faith. Each single act of prayer may be inconsequential, but together they forge an incredible layer of enduring protection. Our children both need to develop their own shields and also be able to lean on and rely on ours.
Elder Perry continued emphasizing the power and efficacy of this shield:
“I know by personal experience the value of having noble parents to build around their children a protective shield of faith of our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ. I give you my witness that it works. Should not every child of God be given that opportunity in their lives–to start each day having their fathers blessing their home and giving them that protective shield of faith as they depart from the home to go about their every activity.”
Next, Elder Delbert L. Stapley recounted the story of the savior’s ministry to the Nephites. He spoke of the Savior’s profound prayer of faith and love for the people. He then linked that prayer to our own spiritual capacity and opportunity in the home:
“Do we feel the sweet spirit of those gathered and the great love Christ expressed to these good faithful people? Here was the great Master Teacher himself giving a lesson in prayer. He was setting the example of being concerned enough about others to pray for them, to pray for their specific and individual needs. He admonished them, ‘Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; Pray in your families unto the Father, … that your wives and your children may be blessed.’ (3 Ne. 18:19, 21.)
Do we understand what Christ is saying? He is telling us that as he prayed to the Father and healed the sick and blessed the children, that we also have the right to pray for those in need and to bless our own families. This is not only a blessing to us, but a safeguard to family life, to bring us closer together in love and harmony through such a spiritual influence.”
These are beautiful words that stir the soul. Just as the savior healed and blessed and prayed for others, so to can we heal, bless, and pray for our family. We can provide that same level of protection and peace that the savior gave.