A Public Commitment of Parents and Child to the Lord
The responsibility of parenting is very significant. For this reason many parents commit themselves and their child to the Lord asking God's help, often in a public gathering. Some parents choose baptism focusing on God's faithfulness, others dedication focusing on our responsibility. Both expressions emphasize and important truth. Either a larger public or a small home commitment should be very personal and can be very flexible.
If you are considering such a step with your child, here are some elements I would like to commend:
Expression of Purpose: e.g. "Our children are a trust from the Lord. Children are given in love from the Lord, always belong to Him and are to be nurtured in their love and knowledge of Him. For this reason we as parents dedicate ourselves to love and disciple our children to follow our Lord Jesus and dedicate our children to Him who has entrusted them to us."
Scripture: example of a child dedication to the Lord e.g. I Samuel 1:27-28
Blessing of the child based on the meaning of his or her name with a verse of scripture speaking of God's high purpose implicit in that name: Let me share and example from the dedication of our grandson Kai:
"Kai Christopher John Moerman, today you are dedicated to the Lord!
"Kai - your name means "Ocean." Our prayer for you is that your name will remind you of the promise that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14)
"Christopher - your name means "Christ-bearer" or "He who holds Christ in his heart." May you do so always, revealing to all, in the words of Colossians 1:27 "Christ in you, the hope of glory" thereby pointing many into His Kingdom.
"John - your name means "God is gracious and merciful, showing favour."
"When Gabriel announced the coming of John the Baptist to Zachariah and Elisabeth, he said, "you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." (Luke 1:13-17)
"And Kai, may you set your heart to becoming a fully devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, now and for eternity..."
The Lord will do His part, and far more. (Parents names), and all of us who receive the awesome privilege of being parents, have our part in responding to His covenant...
Parental commitment: e.g. (Parents names), as parents of (child's name)...
Do you today recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God's blessing?
Do you now dedicate your children to the Lord who gave them to you all, surrendering all worldly claims upon their lives in the hope that they will belong wholly to God?
Do you pledge as parents that, with God's gracious help, you will bring up your children in the love and knowledge of the Lord, making every reasonable effort, with patience and love, to build the Word of God, the character of Christ and the joy of the Lord into their lives?
Do you promise to provide, through God's blessing, for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs of your children, looking to your own heavenly Father for the wisdom, love and strength to serve them and not use them?
Do you promise, God helping you, to make it your regular prayer that, by God's grace, your children will come to trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins and for the fulfilment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?
Prayer for Child and his/her Parents: e.g. for God's blessing, protection, wisdom and all that each will need for the exciting journey ahead. My preference when possible is for all who are able to gather around, touch parents and child gently, pray in turn spontaneously, share addition scripture and words of encouragement...
Commitment of supportive community to parents and child:
Question to the Family / Community witnessing this dedication: "Do you promise today to support (Parents names) in their vital task of raising (child's name) to follow Jesus Christ and renew afresh vows you may have made regarding your own children?"
Community Vow: "We do, God giving us grace."
A Blessing: e.g. Jude 24-25
It's important to understand this presentation ceremony does not give salvation to our child. The responsibility to introduce our children to love and follow Christ remains ours. Here are some important elements of discipling our children to the Lord Jesus.