Jan 9, 2012
David Brainerd was a missionary to the American Indians in the 1700’s.
He died from tuberculosis in his late 20’s. After he died people found a private journal in which he described his spiritual life.
Here’s one entry that deeply impacted me regarding prayer:
30 Minutes of Dull Prayer — But Then
“I had been thus endeavoring to pray, though as I thought, very stupid and senseless, for near half an hour; then, as I was walking in a dark thick grove, unspeakable glory seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul.
“I do not mean any external brightness, for I saw no such thing. Nor do I intend any imagination of a body of light somewhere in the third heavens, or anything of that nature; but it was a new inward apprehension or view that I had of God, such as I never had before, nor anything which had the least resemblance of it.
“I stood still, wondered, and admired! I knew that I never had seen before anything comparable to it for excellency and beauty; it was widely different from all the conceptions that ever I had of God, or things divine…
“My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable to see such a God, such a glorious Divine Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied that He should be God over all for ever and ever.
“My soul was so captivated and delighted with the excellency, loveliness, greatness, and other conceptions of God, that I was even swallowed up in Him…
“Thus God, I trust, brought me to a hearty disposition to exalt Him and set Him on the throne, and principally and ultimately to aim at His honor and glory, as King of the universe.
“I continued in this state of inward joy, peace, and astonishment, till near dark, without any sensible abatement.”
(from The Journal of David Brainerd, pp.69-70)
- I should not stop praying when I feel dull. I should confess it, ask the Father for help, and keep pressing in. Who knows what God might do?
- What Brainerd experienced sounds like Paul’s description of “beholding the glory of the Lord” (2Cor 3:18). Not that it’s always this intense. I’ve certainly not experienced anything like what Brainerd describes. But reading what Brainerd experienced should make us thirst for more.
- There is “nothing comparable to [God] for excellency and beauty.” Our highest joy is beholding God’s glory in Christ. So why set our hearts on lesser things?
- Isn’t this the reason the psalmists thirsted for God (Psa 63:1), panted for God (Psa 42:1-2), waited on God (Psa 40:1-3)? Let’s join them in this.
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