As Christians, we are given a tremendous responsibility when the Lord blesses us with a child. God entrusts us with the responsibility of raising that child in the Lord and establishing early in life a foundation built upon Jesus Christ. It is this tremendous responsibility that causes us to consider child dedications as “family dedications.” We feel that the whole family unit needs to be lifted up to the Lord so that each member will be able to keep his or her responsibilities.
Children are a heritage from the Lord. He gives them to us as a blessing, and because of this, we must be ready to give them back to Him. Dedication is about being willing to totally submit our children to the will of God.
A clear example of “dedicating” a child to the Lord is given to us in 1 Samuel 1:11, 26-28. Hannah, unable to have children for many years, was weeping before the Lord because of her condition. As she was weeping, she made a vow to God. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life… (v 11).
God honored Hannah’s request and gave her a son named Samuel. Hannah, in keeping her vow, dedicated (or set apart) Samuel unto the Lord. This is a beautiful picture of what our attitudes should be toward our children and their relationship to God. We are to strive to “set apart” our children to God until the day that they can make their own choices. We pray that when they are able, they will make their own decisions for Jesus Christ, be baptized, and live lives that honor the Lord.
By dedicating your children to the Lord, you are making a vow to raise them in His ways and not your own. You are committing yourself to this promise and are choosing to do all you can, with the help of God’s Spirit, to keep it. A parent’s responsibility is to teach the Lord’s children how to live. That is an awesome responsibility!
Three essential ingredients in Child Dedications
- The Parent’s Commitment
To train, teach, and guide… being responsible to raise their child in “the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:7)To pray… as Paul prayed for Timothy, his “child in the faith,” (2 Timothy 1:3) seeking the Lord’s wisdom, insight, and understanding for yourself and your child. (James 1:5 & 5:16, Ephesians 1:16-19)
To lead… as examples of a godly man and/or godly woman for this child to pattern him/herself after; exhibiting in daily living what it means to live as believers, individually and as husband and wife. (1 Corinthians 4:16, 1 Timothy 4:12)
- God’s Grace
In child dedication, we make room for God to extend His blessing, enabling power, and wisdom to parents for the fulfilling of their assignment in raising their child. Our goal is to release God to do a work of love and grace in the child’s life, moving him/her to Christ as the earliest possible age and to accept his/her own assignment as a believer.
- The Church’s Support
The congregation, while bearing witness to the parent’s commitment, makes their own commitment to the family and to the child being dedicated. In receiving the child into the fellowship of the church, the congregation commits themselves to support the family in raising of their child by means of prayer, encouragement, and direction offered through the Sunday School and other children’s ministries.
Impress [God’s commandments] on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,
when you lie down and when you get up.
Train a child in the way
he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Bring them up in the training
and instruction of the Lord.