David Brainerd and the Life of Prayer

The following is based on a Kairos Journal article:
David Brainerd lived the life of holiness and prayer.

David BrainerdHis diary is a record of hours spent in prayer.

“When I return home, and give myself to meditation, prayer, and fasting, my soul longs for mortification, self-denial, humility, and divorcement from all things of the world.” …

“I have nothing to do, with earth but only to labor in it honestly for God. I do not desire to live one minute for anything which earth can afford.”

“Feeling somewhat of the sweetness of communion with God and the constraining force of his love, and how admirably it captivates the soul and makes all the desires and affections to center in God, I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer, to entreat God to direct and bless me with regard to the great work which I have in view of preaching the gospel, and that the Lord would return to me and show me the light of his countenance. I had little life and power in the forenoon. Near the middle of the afternoon God enabled me to wrestle ardently in intercession for my absent friends, but just at night the Lord visited me marvelously in prayer. I think my soul was never in such agony before. I felt no restraint, for the treasures of divine grace were opened to me.

I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, for multitudes of poor souls, and for many that I thought were the children of God, personally, in many distant places. I was in such agony from sun half an hour high till near dark that I was all over wet with sweat, but yet it seemed to me I had done nothing. O, my dear Saviour did sweat blood for poor souls! I longed for more compassion toward them. I felt still in a sweet frame, under a sense of divine love and grace, and went to bed in such a frame, with my heart set on God.”

It was prayer which gave to his life and ministry their marvelous power. It was prayer that gave his soul an awareness and abhorrence of personal sin. It was prayer that centered his heart in God. It was prayer that made him long for more of Jesus. It was prayer that motivated his service.

Why must we pray?

Because we are followers of Jesus and Jesus prayed. Because Jesus commanded us to pray. And because the apostles followed that example, they prayed and commanded prayer. Because the testimony of the saints down through the ages demonstrates that praying saints are powerful saints. So my counsel is to:

Pray til you pray.


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