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Missionary Biography: David Brainerd (1718-1747)

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Written by BGU

Skinny, pale, and sickly, David Brainerd was quoted by one online biography as being completely unqualified to work in a modern missions agency, yet he was regarded as an incredible pioneer in missions, despite being despondent, melancholy and ill all the time.Throughout the 29 years of his life, Brainerd suffered weakness and pain, yet this caused him to look upon death as a sweet relief as opposed to a frightening fate. Still, phsyical sickness was not the only ailment that tormented him. He constantly battled depression, feelings of self-condemnation, and legalism. His journal is filled with more cries of an aching soul than an aching body. While on his journeys to preach the Gospel, Brainerd took a personal journey into God’s sufficient grace for him. Penetrating the dense wilderness, he insisted in ministering to fierce groups of Native Americans. Because of this sickness his ministry lasted only three years, but what a legacy that this man’s life was! Through his biography we see how dependent the man was on the Lord. He prayed, and his prayers were verbose, frequent, and fervent.

Heart set on preaching Christ where He has not been preached, he rejected invitations to join sound Christian ministries in pale-face populated areas such as Millington, Connecticut and Easthampton, Long Island. He continued his work among the natives and is said to have, by the end, baptized seventy-seven individuals.

More information on David Brainerd can be found here.

May many others be shaken out of living, as Brainerd says, “at the rate of common Christians,” and be inspired to live lives of fervent prayer, genuine piety and holy passion for souls.

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