Child or Baby Dedication is an act whereby parents present their child before the Lord and make a commitment to raise and train that child in accordance with His ways, to become a Christ follower. This may be done within the context of the Christian community in a formal or informal manner or even in a home among a believing family.
Is Child Dedication Biblical?
Read 1 Samuel 1 and Luke 2:22 to see examples of Hannah and Joseph and Mary respectively, presenting their children before the Lord.
Children are a Gift Given to Parents
Children are a gift from God. Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord. They are 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. Our response should be to dedicate them back to God and ask for His grace, wisdom and guidance in caring for and raising His most valuable and precious possessions.
Parents are called to raise their children tenderly, in the training and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (Amp) “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them tenderly in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”
To further explain this, the original Greek words in this text carry the following meanings:
- To rear up to maturity, that is, (generally) to cherish or train: – bring up, nourish.
- Tutelage, that is, education or training; by implication disciplinary correction: – chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.
- Calling attention to, that is, (by implication) mild rebuke or warning: – admonition.
From this and other Scriptures, we determine that our responsibility as parents is:
- To love, cherish and nurture.
- To train, educate and instruct.
- To discipline and correct.
How Do We Train our Children?
We find some guidance in the Old Testament in the verses known in the Jewish tradition as “The Shema”. These were recited as a daily prayer.
Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NKJV)
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Here, we as parents are instructed to love God and put His word into our hearts. Then we are to teach them to our children and talk about them in the routine of our daily lives – in our homes, in the car, at bedtime and in the morning.
The Father’s Blessing
Our words carry great power. With them we can bless and bring life or curse and cause destruction. See Proverbs 18:21. “We can expect God to do great and marvelous deeds when we call forth the promises of His Word for our loved ones. As you bless your children in the name of the Lord, you will see God fill their lives with good things and bring full salvation even to your children’s children. (See Psalm 103:17-18)” [Mary Ruth Swope, The Power of Blessing your Children]
We understand the demands placed on single parents and strongly encourage single parents to form part of the community of believers for encouragement, support and to experience an expanded family life.
Pastoral support and a variety of parenting courses are available. Please enquire at the church office for further information.