Children are a gift from God. Psalm 127:3 proclaims, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.” As believers we are called to recognize that children belong first and foremost to God. God in his goodness gives children as gifts to parents. They not only have the weighty responsibility of caring for this gift, but also the wonderful privilege of enjoying the gift. Because children belong to God and are given by grace as gifts to parents, it is only proper and appropriate that children be dedicated back to God.
We are not baptizing these children, but rather dedicating them to the Lord. Jesus himself was dedicated as a child and then baptized as an adult. Baptism is done in response to repentance and faith in Jesus. Dedication is done by the parents and involves making a vow to completely submit their child to the will of God and raise that child in the ways of the Lord.
The responsibilities God has entrusted to Christian parents include continuously praying for their children (Job 1:5), instructing them in the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6), setting a godly example (Proverbs 20:7), and disciplining them as the Lord would discipline us (Proverbs 29:15,17; 13:24). These responsibilities can only be fulfilled in Christ’s strength (Philippians 4:13).
We are told in 1 Samuel 1 that Hannah presented her son Samuel to the Lord. In Luke 2:22 we read that Mary and Joseph brought their baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem in order to present him before the Lord. In the same way, these parents today bring their child presenting first themselves and then their child before the Lord our God.
Invitation for parents and children to come forward
We now invite family names to come forward.
Charge and Questions to the Family
PARENTS, I call your attention to the commands of God recorded in Holy Scripture.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 tells us: “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on their 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.”
Ephesians 6:4 says: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” God’s instructions are plain.
PARENTS, you are to love God with all that you are and teach your children to do the same. As you love God and one another, you will model before your child a wonderful love for God that they will want for themselves.
Parents, by coming forward before God and his people, do you hereby declare your desire to dedicate yourselves and your children to the Lord? If so, please respond by saying “we do.”
Parents: We do.
Having come freely, I ask now that you enter into the following commitment in the presence of God and his people. So that your children may walk in the abundant life that Christ offers, do you parents vow by God’s help and in partnership with the church, to provide a Christian home of love and peace, to raise your children in the truth of our Lord’s instruction and discipline, and to encourage your children to one day trust Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord? If so, please respond by saying “we do.”
Parents: We do.
Questions to the Congregation
Invite the Congregation to Stand
Beloved in the Lord, do you earnestly promise to support this family [these families] in faithful prayer, Christian teaching, wholesome example? If so, please respond by saying, “we do.”
Congregation: We do.
Prayer for Parents and Children
Heavenly Father, these your children have brought their children before You today. I pray that You would give them grace and wisdom to carry out their responsibilities as parents. Help them to be godly examples in their homes. I pray that their homes would be a place where each lives for the other and all live for You. And for these children today, we dedicate them to You. I pray that they would be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and that they would be trained in the way they should go. And I pray that one day they would trust You as their own personal Savior for the forgiveness of sin. Amen.”
Seat the congregation. Families may return to their seats.