God’s Amazing Little Warriors

Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants
You [GOD] have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the foe and the avenger.
Psalm 8: 2 (NKJV)

  • What do scientific studies show that might give us insight into why God chooses to ordain strength from the mouths of infants?
  • How can infants actually use what they learn from before birth until three years of age that would silence the enemy of their souls?

Two Stories of Children Impacted by God's Word

Wesley was amazing! Wesley's parents were startled when they heard their young son quoting the New Testament. They had not taught him to do so.

I met Wesley when he was eight years old. Wesley had the New Testament memorized and also much of the Old Testament. He loved to talk about the kings of Israel, what happened in their kingdom when they obeyed God and what happened when they did not follow God.

When I questioned his parents about what was going on before Wesley was born and during his infancy and early childhood years, they told me Wesley's Father was in seminary. The Father was memorizing the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament, saying it over and over in Wesley's hearing. Little Wesley had simply absorbed God's Word because it was repeated in his hearing. As an adult, Wesley became a pastor and later taught at a seminary. Infants simply absorb what is repeated in their environment.

A woman and boy sitting on the couch talking.

Kylie: "Mommy, why do you cry?" 2-year-old Kylie came into the room to find her mother sobbing. Kylie's mom pulled her daughter close, working hard to calm her sobs. "I'm just missing your daddy." Kylie's dad had passed away unexpectedly when Kylie was two months old. Little Kylie looked up into her mom's tear-stained face and said, "Mommy, it's OK. God's way is perfect, even when sad things happen. We'll see Daddy in heaven." When Kylie's mom told me this story, we were both in tears.

Where had Kylie learned "God's way is perfect even when sad things happen"? In her toddler Sunday school class. The story for the month was about Joseph. Sad things happened in Joseph's life. The memory verse of the month was "God's way is perfect" Psalm 18:30. The theme was, "God's way is perfect, even when sad things happen." Toddlers may be small, but the Holy Spirit and God's Word in them are not small.

When the Word of God is in the mouth of a toddler, the Holy Spirit empowers them to use God's Word to accomplish His purposes. "A little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6b

Infants' Incredible Brains

According to Glen Doman, founder of the Better Baby Institute, there are rapid learning enzymes in infants' brains that begin to diminish after age three. For example, this enzyme enables babies to learn several languages at the same time by the time they are 2 to 3 years old.

An infant's brain at 17 weeks of pregnancy is equipped with one billion brain cells (more than the adult brain), to which are added 50,000 each second, ready to form the foundation of whom he or she will become. How the brain cells are connected to each other is determined by what the infant is exposed to during the last trimester of pregnancy through the first 3 to 5 years of life. [i]

A woman reading to a child on the floor

Babies absolutely love to learn whatever you teach them. They bond deeply with whoever will teach them new things, as opposed to someone who just plays with them. They love to learn the sounds of letters, the names of things, and what the words for those things look like. They even love to learn math! But how do we use what we know about the way they learn to accomplish God's heart and goals?

God is the Master Builder. God invites us to partner with Him to build solid foundations on the bedrock of His Word in the lives of children. God wants that foundation strong enough to stand the storms of life. Jesus said, "Whoever hears My Words, and does them, is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

​God's heart for children is for His Word to be planted in the fertile soil of their hearts. God Word is alive and powerful, able to put a divine stop against evil, comfort them when sad things happen, and empower them to silence the "foe and the avenger." As we bond with them as parents and caregivers, we must also bound them to their Heavenly Father, Jesus, their Savior, and the Holy Spirit, who gives them power, love, and sound, happy minds. [1]

The following is a quote from Lee Ann Mancini, an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is an award-winning Christian children's author. The scientific research I have seen, and my own experiences confirm her conclusions.

The Most Critical Time for Learning is the First Three Years of Life

A woman and baby are reading a book.

"Ninety percent of a child’s brain develops within the first five years of life. However, the most critical time for learning language and speech is within the first three years of life... "The first three years see the most rapid changes of all life... At this time, the brain is the most flexible and prepared to learn." [ii]

As Christian parents and educators, we must get those first three years right. We must build a foundation of God’s Word that will equip “God's Little Warriors” to fulfill God's purposes for their lives—to silence the “foe and the avenger.”

What Does the Bible Say About Equipping Children?

"Therefore, you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

A family reading together on the couch

"And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, "that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land." (Deuteronomy 11:18-21, New King James Version. Emphasis is mine.)

As a child, I remember Bible verse plaques and pictures containing Bible verses on the walls of our home. Those scripture verses became very important to me. God and His Word were a big part of our family life.

Other principles God showed me for equipping our children are found in Jesus' prayer in John 17:14-24.

"I have given them Your Word. ...
I’m not asking You to take them out of the world,
but to keep them safe from the evil one. ...
Make them holy by Your Truth;
teach them Your Word, which is Truth.
Just as You sent me into the world,
I am sending them into the world.
And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them,
so they can be made holy by Your Truth."

One day, as I was meditating on Jesus' prayer in John 17, I realized I needed to sanctify myself—dedicate my time and energy as a parent and teacher—as a "holy sacrifice" for my children and students so they can be made holy by God's Truth. God is asking me this, "Are you willing to do whatever it takes to empower children with My Word? Are you willing to joyfully put My Word into their hearts and mouths so they will silence the foe and avenger?"

That is not an easy question to answer. So many things clamor for time and energy. However, the rewards are immense when the answer is, "Yes, Lord, send me! I began to pray for myself, "Turn my eyes away from worthless things! Help my heart to be one with the father’s heart. Keep my eyes on His goals. Deliver me and the children in my life from the evil one."

God's Word Equipped a 5-year-old to Stand Strong

I heard this story from Lydia's parents at a seminar designed to help parents equip small children with strong foundations of God's Word. Before Lydia was born, the parents played the audio Bible through earphones into the womb each day, and the mother also read the Bible out loud. After Lydia was born, the parents either read the Bible out loud to her or an audio version was heard in the home daily.

When Lydia was in kindergarten, Lydia's teacher complained to her parents that Lydia absolutely refused to color the coloring page for the day. Lydia's dad asked her, "Why wouldn't you color the coloring page today?" Lydia answered, "aw, dad! You know, the Bible says witches are bad." Her parents had never discussed witches with Lydia. However, God's Word planted in the soil of her heart gave her discernment and courage to stand strong when asked to do what she felt was wrong—to color a picture of a witch.

An Example for Christians from Muslims

Not long ago, I was invited to attend the birth of the baby of one of the Afghan ladies I tutor. Muslim families who practice their religion often have the Quran playing in the home. Before birth, their babies hear the Quran daily. Immediately after birth, the oldest male in the family reads the first chapter of the Quran into the ears of the child. It would be wonderful if Christian parents would give the same importance to God's Word. Praise God for those who do.

A man and an old man holding white pillows.

A Muslim grandfather reads the Quran into the ears of a newborn baby.

Infant's Preferences Established Before Birth

In the Better Baby Institute, we were told of a study that demonstrated that what a fetus is exposed to before birth affects the child's preferences after birth. In this study, the researchers had several moms read a Dr. Seuss book to their unborn child daily. After birth, the researchers watched the babies' responses as the mothers read the same book, then read a different Dr. Seuss book to the baby. The babies showed a definite preference for the book the mother had read before birth, but not to the other book. (Here is a website where science writer Annie Murphy Paul talks through new research that shows how much we learn in the womb: What Babies Learn in the Womb


A more recent study demonstrated a similar conclusion, only using better technology. This is what it showed:

"By the time they're born, babies prefer and recognize their mother's voice. In one study, doctors gave day-old infants pacifiers that were connected to tape recorders. Depending on the babies' sucking patterns, the pacifiers either turned on a tape of their mother's voice or that of an unfamiliar woman's voice. The amazing result: 'Within 10 to 20 minutes, the babies learned to adjust their sucking rate on the pacifier to turn on their own mother's voice,' says the study's coauthor, William Fifer, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. "This not only points out a newborn's innate preference for his mother's voice, but also a baby's unique ability to learn quickly." (For the full article, click here, "Read More...")

Born Language Learners

My granddaughter, Amanda, is an example of both language learning and preferences being set in the womb. At 18 months old, she was listening to her favorite worship tape. My daughter, Milea, and I were talking at the kitchen table. Amanda came over to the table and pointed to the salt shaker, looking very puzzled, saying, "Salt - salt?" It suddenly dawned on me—she was connecting the salt to the song she was listening to: "Be exalted. Be exalted. Be exalted, Oh LORD!" It seemed she was wondering why we should praise God.

A baby with its hands over his mouth.

Babies probably don't reason like this, but babies do draw their own conclusions about words.

Recently, Milea told me the rest of the story. Before Amanda was born and in early infancy, Milea and her husband Steve played one specific worship tape to her. The song "Be Exalted" by Pete Sandez was on that tape. Perhaps that's why Amanda loved the songs on that tape so much. Amanda's preferences were indeed formed before birth and in early infancy.

A little girl sitting on the floor in front of a fireplace.

A Lesson About How Much 3-Year-Olds Can Learn

When attending the Early Childhood Education program of the University of the Nations in Hawaii, I watched in amazement as a three-year-old boy stood and quoted the first chapter and part of the second chapter of Genesis and an explanation of how the story of creation and Adam and Eve related to Jesus. How had he learned it?

It so happened that during the quiet Montessori activities, before science time, the teachers usually played a 13-minute audio tape recording of what this little boy was quoting. The words were spoken with soft music in the background on the recording.

On this day, the tape broke. The teacher said, "The science tape broke today. Who would like to say the words from the tape?" Many children raised their hands. To my utter surprise, the teacher picked this three-year-old boy who quoted the tape! When he would pause to think of the next word, the other children filled it in. They all had it memorized! I was astounded!

The instructors told me they discovered the children had this tape memorized when they heard the children quoting the tape on the playground!

Infants and Toddlers Rapidly Calculate How to Get What They Want

Babies and toddlers make very rapid and complicated calculations about how life works and what is important to caregivers. Babies, toddlers and young children do what works: if it doesn't work, they stop doing it. Toddlers know how to manipulate their care givers to get what they want.

An Example of Parenting Skills: One day, I offered to care for a friend’s daughter, Lisa, when she was almost three. I needed to go to the grocery store and wanted to take Lisa with me. The mother said, "Oh NO! Don't take her to the store. She will beg for things. If you don't get her what she wants, she will throw a fit and scream until you give it to her." I decided to test my skills as a certified parent educator and assured the mom that I could handle it.

Before we went into the store, I told Lisa if she begged for something, I would ignore her. I demonstrated what "ignoring" would look like by turning my back on her. I also told her when we were through shopping, she could have a coin for the candy machine. Lisa was good for the first aisle. Then she saw something she wanted and began to beg. I turned my back to her. Her begging got louder and louder. I turned around and said with a twinkle in my eye, "Remember, I'm ignoring you." She got quiet. She was good for two more isles, then began to beg again. I turned my back to her. This time, she immediately stopped begging. When we were through, Lisa got her treat.

Back home, Lisa asked for a cookie. Since I like to say ‘yes’ first, then state the conditions, I said, "Sure. As soon as we have lunch, you can have a cookie." Lisa screamed, "AAAAAA! I want it NOW!" I turned my back to her. Lisa stopped mid-scream and said matter-of-factly, "Oh! That doesn't work with you, does it?" I just laughed and said, "No, it doesn't. Let's have lunch, and then you can have your cookie."

Infants - Amazing Learning Geniuses

Dr. Alison Gopnik says, "Babies are very good at taking in lots of information from a lot of different sources at once." Adults can't do that. "We are wrong when we say babies and young children are bad at paying attention or that their attention span is short. In truth, they are bad at NOT paying attention!" In other words, they are multitasking. That's why the children in the preschool class where I interned could memorize a 13-minute tape while busy doing their Montessori activities.

A woman is holding a baby and smiling.

Psychologist Alison Gopnik, in her YouTube TED talk "What Do Babies Think?" says, "Babies and young children are like the Research and Development division of the human species." The baby's brain is the most powerful learning computer on the planet."

God built into infants and little children the urge to run every new thing they encounter through a set of scientific tests! What does it taste like? What happens when I shake it, bang it on a table, or throw it on the floor? Can I pull it apart or tear it? Will it fit in my ear? How about my nose?