From the Diary of David Brainerd:
“I retired early this morning into the woods for prayer; had the assistance of God’s Spirit, and faith in exercise; and was enabled to plead with fervency for the world, and to intercede for dear, absent friends. At noon God enabled me to wrestle with Him, and to feel, as I trust, the power of divine love, in prayer.”
“In the forenoon, I felt the power of intercession for precious… souls; for the advancement of the kingdom of my dear Lord and Savior in the world; and, withal, a most sweet resignation, and even consolation and joy, in the thought of suffering hardships, distresses, and even death itself, in the promotion of it; and had peculiar enlargement in pleading for the enlightening and conversion of the poor heathen.”
“In the afternoon, God was with me of a truth. Oh, it was blessed company indeed! God enabled me so to agonize in prayer, that I was quite wet with perspiration, though in the shade, and cool wind….I think I had more enlargement for sinners than for the children of God, though I felt as if I could spend my life in cries for both.”
“This morning I spent about two hours in secret duties, and was enabled, more than ordinarily, to agonize for souls.”
“Spent this day alone in fasting and prayer, and reading in God’s Word the exercises and deliverances of His children….It is better to wait upon God with patience, than to put confidence in anything in this lower world.”
And then the thunderous answers began to arrive.
“Lord’s day, Dec. 29. Preached from John iii. 1-5. A number of white people were present, as is usual upon the sabbath. The discourse was accompanied with power, and seemed to have a silent, but deep and piercing influence upon the audience. Many wept and sobbed affectionately. And there were some tears among the white people, as well as the Indians. Some could not refrain from crying out, though there were not many so exercised. But the impressions made upon their hearts, appeared chiefly by the extraordinary earnestness of their attention, and their heavy sighs and tears.
After public worship was over, I went to my house, proposing to preach again after a short season of intermission. But they soon came in one after another, with tears in their eyes, to know “what they should do to be saved.” And the divine Spirit in such a manner set home upon their hearts what I spoke to them, that the house was soon filled with cries and groans. They all flocked together upon this occasion, and those whom I had reason to think in a Christless state, were almost universally seized with concern for their souls.
It was an amazing season of power among them, and seemed as if God had “bowed the heavens, and come down.” So astonishingly prevalent was the operation upon old as well as young, that it seemed as if none would be left in a secure and natural state, but that God was now about to convert all the world. And I was ready to think then, that I should never again despair of the conversion of any man or woman living, be they who or what they would.”
Do we want such revival? Then we too must give ourselves to painful contestation with God in secret prayer. Though we anticipate providential ends, we must never forfeit their biblical means.