This post is based on an article in the March 2011 issue of KidsView.
"Baptism is a symbol."
Baptism is more than a symbol. It's kind of hard to explain, but we are actually, in a sense buried with Christ through baptism as 1 Peter says.
"Some churches, for example, choose a grade level or age as the right time: "Kids should be in fifth grade and at least 11 years old before they can be baptized.""
Before you are baptized, you must repent of your sins. To repent means to die to yourself. You say you're sorry and ask for forgiveness for all the bad things you've done. You don't need to name every bad thing you've ever done in your life since this would be impossible. Just name some of the big sins you know you have and then just ask him specifically to forgive you for any other sins you've committed.
Also in this prayer, you should make clear that you want to stop doing these things and follow Jesus, doing whatever He tells you to instead of following your own desires.
Repentance can only really happen at a certain age. To come to Christ in this way, you need to understand two things.
First, you need to understand the concept of turning your life around. You are literally embarking on a whole new life when you repent and are baptised. You need to have reached an age when you are mentally and emotionally mature enough to understand this.
Second, you need to understand that Christianity is for life. You can't just be a Christian for a few days and then forget about it. You can't just follow Jesus for a while and then give up because your friends make fun of you or there are things you want to do that Jesus doesn't want you to. You need to have reached an age where you are capable of truly being responsible.
"Why do I want to be baptized? Is it because my best friend wants to be baptized at the same time? (That may not be a good enough reason.) Is it because I want everyone to know how much I love Jesus? (Good reason!)"
Ultimately, the reason you should want to be baptised is because it is what Jesus has commanded in order to be saved.