"You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
—The Apostle Paul, Acts 20:18-24
David Brainerd was an American missionary to the Native Americans in the early 1700s. His biography has become a source of inspiration and encouragement to many, including great missionaries such as William Carey and Jim Elliot. David understood the need to expand his capacity to pray for his friends. Here is a brief testimony from his diary:
Feeling somewhat of the sweetness of communion with God and the force of His love and how it captivates my soul and makes all my desires and affections to center in God, I set apart this day for fasting and prayer to God, to bless me in view of preaching the Gospel. I had life and power in prayer this afternoon. God enabled me to wrestle ardently in intercession for my friends.
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 God's grace were opened to me. I wrestled for absent friends and for the ingathering of poor souls. I was in such agony from sun half an hour high till near dark that I was all over wet with sweat. Oh! my dear Savior did sweat blood for these poor souls! I longed for more compassion toward them. I was under a sense of divine love, and went to bed in such a frame of mind, with my heart set on God.
Questions for Reflection:
1) Do you have a testimony from fasting and prayer? (Please let me know).
2) When is the last time you wrestled with God over the souls of men and women in your life?
3) When is the last time you tasted the sweetness of God's grace deep with in your soul?
4) Do you hunger for God more than you do for his blessings?
Heavenly Father, as I prepare to come into your house this weekend, increase my hunger for you alone. I long for you to be my greatest desire. Capture all my affections and replace them with your heart for those who are far from you. Bless the preaching of the Gospel. Let many of those who we have been praying for be drawn to hear what your Spirit will say. Let compassion and love be evident from the parking lot to the pulpit. Prepare me to be a sanctuary for you. In the precious Name of Jesus, Amen.
On the journey with you,