Marking our children for God is nothing new; Hannah marked her child for God even before she became pregnant:
And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts; if thou wilt...give unto thine handmaiden a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life.... (1 Sam. 1:11)
I really admire Hannah's faith. She could easily have become discouraged and depressed being married to Elkanah; he had another wife, Peninnah, who had children.

But Hannah had been unable to conceive, and she bore the shame of her barrenness with a heavy heart. Hannah prayed and wept bitterly before the Lord.

Perhaps you, or someone you know, desires to conceive a child; but the doctors have said that it is impossible. I want to encourage you because when Wally and I got married, we wanted to have children; but we were told that we couldn't have a baby. Every doctor I visited told me I had inherited sterility problems; and therefore, it was impossible for me to have a baby.

I have to admit, my faith wavered; but not Wally's. One day I asked him, "How does your faith remain so firm?" He answered, "Because I have the faith of Jesus, Marilyn." Thirteen years after we were married, I gave birth to a lovely baby girl.   

Sarah certainly was our miracle baby, and we marked her life according to God's goals for His children. She has grown into a lovely, young woman—born again, and Spirit-filled.

Hannah also had gone to the Lord and said, "Lord, if You will give me a son, I will give him back to You, and he will serve You all the days of his life." God remembered Hannah. She and her husband had a son and named him Samuel which means "heard of God." Samuel's mother really had marked his life with a godly goal, to be a servant unto the Lord.

Did you know that when we dedicate our children to God, we actually are marking them for God's service? And, by faith, we also can mark our children before they are conceived.

We can pray, "Father, I thank You for the children that I will bring into this world. I am asking you to bless them, and I am claiming them for your kingdom. They are not going to waiver to the right nor to the left, but they will serve you forever."

What are we doing? We are saying, "God, I set myself in agreement with the eternal goals that You have set for my children's lives. I am going to pray, witness, and instruct them according to Your Word and trust You for the rest" (see Proverbs 22:6).

That's what Hannah did—she raised Samuel according to the Word of God, and at the appointed time, Hannah took Samuel to study under the high priest Eli.

It couldn't have been easy for Samuel living with Eli, because Eli definitely was not a very godly man. He certainly hadn't marked his children because they were the absolute pits! Nevertheless, it was necessary for Samuel to live in that atmosphere.

Doesn't this bring to mind the terrible temptations that our children are faced with today at the school they attend or on the television programs they want to watch and in the music they prefer?

That's why we Christian parents must begin to Satan-proof our children by marking them for God at an early age.

I believe that part of the reason why Samuel did not backslide—despite all the sin around him—was because his mother had marked him for God. Hannah literally Satan-proofed Samuel, and today we can do the same for our children.

Source: Standing In The Gap by Marilyn Hickey
Excerpt permission granted by Marilyn Hickey Ministries