I do not want to comment much here, but let the writer speak for himself. It is David Brainerd, choosing to spend a day in fasting. While he’s not feeding on the normal food, he chooses instead to feed on the Word, with outstanding results. This diary entry comes before the real breakthrough in awesome revival amongst the Indians, which is also revealing. Here Brainerd is clearly reading right through whole books of the Bible, and this shows how extended consecutive reading of the Bible, rather than hermetic chunks, helps us to identify most powerfully with the characters in the Old Testament stories:
Thurs Nov 3 Spent this day in secret fasting and prayer, from morning till night. Early in the morning I had some small degree of assistance in prayer. Afterwards read the story of Elijah the prophet, 1 Kings 17, 18 and 19 chapters, and also 2 Kings 2 and 4, chapters. My soul was much moved, observing the faith, zeal and power of that holy man; how he wrestled with God in prayer, &c. My soul then cried with Elisha, ‘Where is the Lord God of Elijah!’ Oh, I longed for more faith! My soul breathed after God, and pleaded with him, that a ‘double portion of that spirit’, which was given to Elijah, might ‘rest on me’. And that which was divinely refreshing and strengthening to my soul was, I saw that God is the same that he was in the days of Elijah. – Was enabled to wrestle with God by prayer, in a more affectionate, fervent, humble, intense and importunate manner than I have for many months past. Nothing seemed to hard for God to perform; nothing too great for me to hope for from him. – I had for many months entirely lost all hopes of being made instrumental of doing any special service for God in the world; it has appeared entirely impossible, that one so black and vile should be thus employed for God. But at this time God was pleased to revive this hope.
– Afterwards read the 3rd chapter of Exodus and on to the 20th, and saw more of the glory and majesty of God discovered in those chapters, than ever I had seen before; frequently in the mean time falling on my knees, and crying to God for the faith of Moses and for a manifestation of divine glory. Especially the 3rd and 4th, and parts of the 14th and 15th chapters, were unspeakably sweet to my soul: my soul blessed God, that he had shown himself so gracious to his servants of old. The 15th chapter seemed to be the very language which my soul uttered to God in the season of my first spiritual comfort, when I had just got through the Red Sea, by a way that I had no expectation of. O how my soul then rejoiced in God! And now those things came fresh and lively to my mind; now my soul blessed God afresh, that he had opened that unthought-of way to deliver me from the fear of the Egyptians, when I almost despaired of life.
Afterwards read the story of Abraham’s pilgrimage in the land of Canaan: my soul was melted, in observing his faith, how he leaned on God: how he communed with God, and what a stranger he was here in the world. After that, read the story of Joseph’s sufferings, and God’s goodness to him: blessed God for these examples of faith and patience. My soul was ardent in prayer, was enabled to wrestle ardently for myself, for Christian friends, and for the church of God. And felt more desire to see the power of God in the conversion of souls, than I have done for a long season. Blessed be God for this season of fasting and prayer! May his goodness always abide with me, and draw my soul to him!