The Diary of David Brainard

I was listening to the audio book of the Diary of David Brainard on my way up to Morgan Hill today and I thought I would share one quote (out of many) that hit me.

It is from his entry on April 26, 1745

“But of late I have seen it my duty to divert myself by all lawful means, that I may be fit, at least some small part of my time, to labor for God. And here is the difference between my present diversions, and those I once pursued, when in a natural state. Then I made a God of my diversions, delighted in them with a neglect of God, and drew my highest satisfaction from them. Now I use them as means to help me in living to God; fixedly delighting in him, and not in them, drawing my highest satisfaction from him. Then they were my all; now they are only means leading to my all. And those things that are the greatest diversion, when pursued with this view, do not tend to hinder, but promote my spirituality; and I see now, more than ever, that they are absolutely necessary.”

Entertainment and leisure is always a difficult subject, at least for myself – and I think there is much room for me to grow in this area of my life.  For I fear that too often I find my rest in the world rather than in God, I look to the world to give me respite from my daily activities rather than to God.

How foolish it is for me to think that the world has something better to offer than God, and that I would find any real rest apart from God.

So what does it look like to rest in God and not in the world?  What ways have you found useful to rest in God rather than in the world’s entertainment?

You can read this book online at Google Books: The Life and Diary of David Brainerd



  1. According to David in Psalm 119, the law/statutes/commandments/words/ordinances/precepts/judgments are where to turn for something to delight in, to view as more precious than gold or silver, to “taste” as sweeter than honey, to be revived by, and many, many other things.

    I don’t pretend to have attained to anything close to David’s view of the whole of Scripture, let alone the law – but I desire to. When I do meditate on Scripture and the Holy Spirit reveals something that I hadn’t seen before, what a joy that is!


  2. Gostaria de saber como adquirir: Livro e ou material sobre a Vida de David Brainard , pode ser em PDF, Doc, etc…

    Aguardo resposta



  3. Nathan, I’ve read about half of David Brainerd’s diaries (back about nine years ago) and was challenged at the time by his rigor and intensity in ministry and piety.

    Since then, I’ve come to believe that while many kinds of recreation have become local gods among Western and American Christians, we have, in fact, learned some things since Brainerd’s day about the “re-creative” nature of diverted, indirect worship–the kind of worship that takes place when we play.

    This works into a view of Sabbath: when we sleep, we take a miniature sabbath, as we do when we eat, and when we do other “worldly,” but spiritual activities.

    G. K. Chesterton is a champion of this theme; listen to this:

    You say grace before meals. All right.
    But I say grace before the play and the opera.
    And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
    And grace before I open a book,
    And grace before sketching, painting,
    Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
    And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

    (I got that poem from his commentary on 1 Timothy, and included it in a recent sermon on 1 Timothy 4:1-5.)

    Because of my view of the unity of body and soul, I’m less concerned today than I was ten years ago about “worldly” vs. “pious” recreation, and am more concerned about infusing my vita piae with joy.

    I read Piper along these lines the other day, and it inspires me: “sin is what we do when our hearts are not satisfied with God….No one sins out of duty.” (Posted here:

    Thanks again for reading Brainerd, and writing about him. Thanks for asking the hard questions.

    Your brother,

    Phil Henry


  4. I am looking for the audio book of the Diary of David Brainerd. I am currently going though “The life and diary of David Brainerd” by Baker Book House. I would enjoy having an audio of his diary for the times on the road.

    Thank you,



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