It is right for churches to set aside special seasons for praise, thanksgiving, prayer and confession, and for the ministry of the Word. Such occasions may be specially convened in connection with some particular blessing in the life of the church, or may be regularly observed. They may be related to the history of the church or the pastorate, to some new evidence of the Lord’s grace, or to a deeply felt need of humbling before God. It should always be ensured that the occasion is not merely routine, that its full meaning is understood by all, and that its primary aim is not the raising of funds or any such object, but the glorifying of God.
Thanksgiving for a child
Children born to christian parents have providential blessings which others do not have. They have the advantage of christian instruction, godly example, family worship and that loving care and discipline which is the fruit of the gospel. This does not mean that they are necessarily elect and will certainly become christians in later days. They still need, like all others, the sovereign regenerating work of the Holy Spirit leading to personal repentance and faith, if they are to be the children of God.
We have no direct New Testament command to present our children in public worship, although we have the example of Christ blessing infants. Where the children of believers are presented before the Lord in a service, the act will be regulated by the following considerations:-
1. Thanksgiving is being offered for the life given to the child, and the life spared to the mother. God’s goodness in all respects is always to be acknowledged.
2. The parents are acknowledging their responsibility before God, solemnly committing themselves to it in the presence of the Lord and his gathered people, and seeking divine help for their task.
3. The gathered church is recognising its part in the life of the family, pledging itself to prayer and encouragement and praying for the child that the Lord will add to those blessings already given, those special favours designed for his own.
Mark 10:13-16; Luke 2:28.