A few years ago, our church changed the way we dedicate babies and children. We moved dedications to an intimate time outside the busyness of a normal weekend service. We created an intentional environment for families to invite the people they want to stand with them as they raise their child. We encouraged them to bless that child together as a group.
In our dedication class, we talk about the power of blessing our children as well as give them examples of how to do it. At our most recent dedication service, there was a family dedicating their two preschool-aged children. They had taken what we had talked about in our class and told their life group and family about the differences between a regular prayer and a blessing. They explained that a prayer is having a conversation with God and a blessing is speaking truth over our children and to them. When it came time to speak the blessings, they passed the children around from person to person.Each adult either knelt down to look in the children’s eyes or picked them up to their own level to speak their blessings over them. There was not a dry eye in their circle or with our staff! It was absolutely beautiful.
While that was a beautiful thing in a formal setting, blessing our children can be part of your normal rhythm. In Michelle Anthony’s book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, she says, “In the midst of raising our children in imperfect circumstances, we cannot afford to neglect serving and blessing others in our local churches. We build “family” in the truest sense of the word when we do so, and the dividends are eternal.” (p. 124)
I encourage you to build a tradition of blessing your children
with your faith community. It can be as simple as starting a tradition
of blessing at birthday parties, or maybe at your weekly life-group gathering. I have even seen some parents ask friends and family to send blessings on important dates like the first day of school or graduation. Whatever you choose, blessing your children and the children of your faith community is an act with eternal rewards.