Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
PARENTAL PROMISES IN THE DEDICATION OF THEIR CHILDREN
1. Do you today recognize these children as the gifts of God and give heartfelt thanks for God's blessing?
Children are a gift of the Lord;
the fruit of the womb is his reward.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.
2. 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?
These are words taken from the dedicatory statement (see below) that will be said over the children. What you should mean when you say "we do" is that you heartily agree with these words. "Surrendering worldly claims" means that you will allow this child to follow God wherever God leads and put no obstacle in the way of obedience to Christ (1 Samuel 1:27-28). It means that you will delight in the child's coming to love God more than you (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), and in doing that, love you as he ought (Matthew 10:37). Indeed, it means that you will bring up the child with the hope and the prayer that this will happen as early as possible (Psalm 78:5-7).
3. Do you pledge as parents that, with God's fatherly help, you will bring up your children "in the discipline and instruction 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?
The reference here is to Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Also see Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Psalm 78:5-7.
4. 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?
This promise takes into account the inadequacy we all properly feel in facing the responsibility to meet our children's varied needs. The phrase "through God's blessing" is meant to signify our reliance as parents on God for what we need from God in order to be what our children need from us. Therefore, this promise is a pledge to trust God to fulfill the promise of 2 Corinthians 9:8, "God is able to provide . . . in abundance for every good work." (This includes all the demands of parenting.)
5. 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 fulfillment of all his promises to them, even eternal life; and in this faith follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings?
This question is built on the two questions that we ask all baptismal candidates when they stand in the waters of baptism.
1) Are you now trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and for the fulfillment of all his promises to you, even eternal life?
2) And do you intend by faith to follow Jesus as Lord and obey his teachings? Our assumption is that all parents will want their children, above all things, to come to this all-important point of putting personal faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
“[Name of child/children], together with your parents, who love you so much, we now dedicate you to God surrendering all worldly claims on your life/lives in the hope that you will belong wholly to Him.”