I have read previous posts on this topic here but wanted some clarification. I want to transfer merit (I am familiar and have great faith and practise with the Therevada tradition, and so am interested in this strand of Buddhism...), to someone who is currently experiencing great difficulties and is not open to buddhism or really anything that can help. If I were to transfer merits, it would have to be done without the person knowing and I was wondering if this would give any benefit to the person. Any advice given to this person directly would definitely be unwelcome.....and I want to help in whatever way possible.
It was once said that...
If you were to go along the north bank of the Ganges giving and sacrificing and encouraging others to do the same, no merit comes of that, and no outcome of merit. --SN42.13
A more effective approach to merit is given in AN5.45:
When a mendicant enters and remains in a limitless immersion of heart while using a robe … alms-food … lodging … bed and chair … medicines and supplies for the sick, the overflowing of merit for the donor is limitless … These are the five kinds of overflowing merit, overflowing goodness. They nurture happiness, and are conducive to heaven, ripening in happiness, and leading to heaven. They lead to what is likable, desirable, agreeable, to welfare and happiness.
Merit flows as gifts are used towards progress along the Noble Eightfold Path.