George Muller: A Biographical Summary of the Man Who Fed Orphans and Received Millions by Prayer Alone
When Thanksgiving rolls around each year, I tend to think about George. He is a historical father to me and I am so thankful for his life--for he has inspired my own! The story that comes to mind is when those that ran the orphanage he started came to him one day, anxious because they had no food left to feed the children. George calmly told them to have the kids sit at the table to prepare for a meal. When he gave thanks for the food, there was no food on the table--yet alone anywhere in the home! But in a matter of minutes after finishing his prayer of thanksgiving, the children had milk and bread for a meal. How did this happen, you ask? Keep reading and you will find out!
George Muller is one of the most amazing mentors I have ever had! Since he died in 1898 and I wasn't born until 1977, you might wonder how it is that he's mentored me. All he had to do was to live his life and all I had to do was to read what he wrote and what others wrote about him. I consider him to be one of the most significant historical mentors in my life. His life has encouraged and inspired me to step out in faith and imagine the unimaginable. So today on Thanksgiving, I dedicate my Hub to the life and faith of George Muller! May you be inspired by this humble man as I was and increase in faith.
(P.S. Don't forget to read about another one of my favorites--Andrew Murray!)
THE YOUNG AND FOOLISH GEORGE
George Müller was born in Prussia in 1805. His father was a tax collector who cunningly pressured the tax payers to give more than the required amount. Young George was always watching. As a young boy, he followed in his father’s footsteps of stealing, cheating, and the love for money. By the time he was ten years old, he had repeatedly taken government money from his father (Müller 1905, 1). One day, Müller’s father detected his son’s theft, so he left George alone in a room with money to see what he would do. George decided that nobody would notice if he took one, little bill off of the pile of his father’s money. He folded it and stuffed it into his shoe. When his father returned to the room, he asked George if he had taken the money. George quickly answered that he would never do such a thing. George’s father first had him turn out his pockets—no money. So then he commanded George to remove his coat—still no money. Shirt—pants—still no money. Finally his father demanded that he remove his shoes. His father was outraged at the sight of the lost bill folded inside of his son’s shoe. “You little thief!” he cried out. But George responded by asking why it was that if his father could steal from the peasants, why could he not steal from him? His father, red with rage, yelled that collecting taxes was not stealing, as he reached for the cane in the corner of the room (Fern 1986, 10). George received such a severe beating that he made a promise to himself that night. He decided that from that point forward he would never again get caught (Benge and Benge 1999, 15).
As George grew up, he continued to live in sin. At the age of fourteen his mother died. The night of her death he had been out playing cards and drinking. At the age of sixteen, he went on a trip to see a girl that he had taken an interest in. He stayed in expensive hotel after expensive hotel and eventually ended up going to an inn where he continued his extravagant spending, though by this point he had no money left. He decided to ditch the bill. He was caught, arrested, and thrown into jail. While talking to a thief that he shared a cell with, he told stories of his adventures and even made up stories that were untrue to impress his fellow criminals (Müller 1905, 4). He spent Christmas in jail. He was finally released when his father sent the funds necessary to pay his outstanding debt. His father beat him severely and made arrangements to send him away to Halle University under strict supervision of a tutor (Müller 1905, 5). George secretly applied for another school so that he would not have to endure the strict discipline his father had set up for him. He went to Nordhausen for two and a half years. His outward behavior was exemplary and everybody loved him—but his heart continued to be deceitful and wicked (Müller 1905, 7).
He eventually transferred to Halle University where he continued his schemes and devious ways. He decided to pursue a well-paying and respectable profession and began his studies to become a Lutheran pastor. By day he was a student of divinity, yet by night he frequented the taverns and drank and gambled, and pawned his valuables as he ran out of money. Deep inside, he knew that this way of life was empty. He desired a change. Yet still—his heart was as far from God as ever (Müller 1905, 7).
THE TURNING POINT—A YOUNG MAN MADE NEW
But God had plans for Müller and brought into his life an acquaintance from former days by the name of Beta. Müller remembered Beta to have been a religious man and a hope sparked inside him, that perhaps Beta would help him change his ways. Beta, however, had strayed from his faith and was eager to befriend Müller for his reputation of being the life of the party. But Beta’s days of partying were short-lived, and he was soon convicted of his sinful ways and returned to his roots of faith. George’s interest was peaked and he began to question Beta. Beta told George about a Bible study he had begun to attend. As George listened, he became so eager that he invited himself to go with Beta to the next Bible study. Beta reluctantly agreed, fearing that this would not be a suitable environment for someone like George (Müller 1905, 9).
Soon after, George and Beta walked into the home of a man by the name of Wagner to attend the Bible study. First, they sang hymns. Then a missionary from Africa fell to his knees to ask for a blessing upon the meeting. George said of this situation, “This kneeling down made a deep impression upon me; for I had never either seen anyone on his knees, nor had I ever prayed myself on my knees” (Müller 1905, 9). As George and Beta walked home that evening, George spoke these words to Beta: “All we have seen on our journey to Switzerland, and all our former pleasures, are as nothing in comparison with this evening” (Müller 1905, 10). That night, George felt a deep peace upon him as he lay, happily, in his bed.
This was the turning point in George’s life. He stopped dead in his tracks down the road of sin and turned and ran with all his might towards God. He discarded his old life of drinking, lying, and habitual sin. He read and studied the Scriptures with unbridled enthusiasm, began to read missionary papers, and started to pray regularly. He decided that he would like to become a missionary and began to ask God for direction.
In 1826 he decided that he should become a missionary either in the East Indies or among the Jews in Poland. However, he was offered an opportunity in 1828 to study Hebrew and Chaldee with the London Society in order to promote Christianity among the Jews (Sword of The Lord Publishers, 2006). Before Müller could obtain a passport for England, however, he had to overcome an obstacle. Every male Prussian graduate was required to serve one year in the army, provided he was healthy. Müller did not know how to solve this problem—but God did! Müller became very ill. He suffered a hemorrhage in his stomach and remained very weak for almost a month. It was during this time that Müller had his physical for the army and was rejected, as he was found unfit for service. His health eventually returned and on February 3, 1829, he left for London (Steer 1985, 26).
During his time in England, Müller worked hard, praying about the most minute matters. Müller recalled, “I looked up to the Lord even whilst turning over the leaves of my Hebrew dictionary, asking His help, that I might quickly find the word” (Steer 1975, 29). On May 15, 1829, twenty-three year old Müller became sick again and felt positive that he was dying. He was not fearful but instead yearned to be with the Lord—but it was not his time to go and he recovered his health once more. He was advised to spend some time in the country for a change of air. After much prayer, he left for South Devon. During the summer of 1829, in Teignmouth, Müller befriended a man by the name of Henry Craik. This was the beginning of a friendship that would last for thirty-six years (Steer 1985, 29).
Henry Craik told Müller stories of a dentist by the name of Anthony Norris Groves. He was told of how Groves had given up his fifteen-hundred-pound-a-year practice to go to Persia as a missionary with his family, depending on God alone for his needs. Hearing of Groves made a profound impression on Müller. Little did he know that he would one day be very well acquainted with a member of the Groves family.
George had been so inspired by the stories that Henry had told him about Groves, that upon his return to London, George decided he would stop reading books about the Bible, and instead would read only the Bible. When he had read through the entire Bible, he would start at the beginning and read it again. The more George read the Bible, the more he was changed. God began to show him that the Word of God, alone, is the ultimate authority of spiritual things and that its secrets could be explained only by the Holy Spirit (Benge and Benge 1999, 69).
When George returned to London, he exhorted his brothers to join him every morning for prayer and reading the Scripture from 6:00 am until 8:00 am. He would spend several hours in prayer during the evening, and would often pray late into the night, unable to sleep due to the joy of his communion with God (Müller 1905, 35).
A MAN OF FAITH IN ACTION
As he spent more time in prayer and in the Word, George soon decided that it was time for him to leave the London Society, for he felt that he could not submit to all its rules and feared there was not enough room for the leading of the Holy Spirit. He left in 1830 and became the pastor of a small congregation at Teignmouth. In the same year he married Mary Groves, sister of the dentist that he so admired, Anthony Groves. George adopted the same principle by which Groves lived, that man ought to depend on God alone, praying to Him and trusting that He would meet every need—physical as well as spiritual. Driven by this belief, George “abolished pew-rents, refused to take a fixed salary, or to appeal for contributions towards his support—simply placing a box at the door of the church for freewill offerings—and he resolved never to incur debt either for personal expenses or in religious work, and never to lay up money for the future” (Ross n.d.).
In 1832 George moved to Bristol, England, where he would live for the remainder of his life. It was here that Müller cared for a congregation as a preacher, and among being involved with other organizations, founded the Scriptural Knowledge Institution in 1834. During his life, the Institution financed almost eighty day-schools for children and half a dozen adult schools. In one year’s time, Müller became responsible for educating nearly seven thousand children! The schools ranged in location from Spain to India to Italy and England, among other countries (Steer 1985, 25). It was also in Bristol that Müller began his labor among the orphans, for which he is predominantly known.
George’s ultimate goal was to bring glory to God. He explained in some of his writings that his number one reason for opening the orphanage was that, “God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened.” He continued on to say that secondarily, he was concerned with the spiritual and physical welfare of fatherless and motherless children (Murray, n.d.). George was very passionate about having a visible proof to point to, for his brothers and sisters in Christ, to show them that God is the same faithful God as He ever was. He said:
…very rarely did I see that there was a stand made for God, that there was the holy determination to trust in the living God, and to depend in Him…My spirit longed to be instrumental in strengthening their faith by giving them not only instances from the Word of God of His willingness and ability to help all those who rely upon Him, but to show them by proofs that He is the same in our day” (Steer 1985, 15).
Bit by bit the proof for which he longed to show to others began to become evident in his story, beginning with the care of only a few children. Müller began the orphanage work that would grow to one day house, feed, care for, and educate many children. His first orphan home opened on April 11, 1836 with 26 children. In the coming years, four more orphanage houses would be built. From 1848 to 1874 money miraculously came in for each and every need George prayed for. He went from caring for 130 orphans to over 2,000, with his last orphanage being opened on January 6, 1870 (Reese 1975, 11). There were many days that George lived day to day—even hour by hour—in hopeful and prayerful expectation to get his and the orphans’ needs met. Over the next sixty years God would send more than $7,500,000 to supply his needs (Sword of The Lord Publishers 2006).
By 1841, however, he had a paradigm shift in what he believed his ultimate purpose to be. While strengthening others’ faith to bring glory to God was still very important to him, he realized that there was something more important, still. Of this transformational spiritual discovery he said:
I saw more clearly than ever that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not how much I might serve the Lord, or how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished…I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God, and to meditate on it, that thus my heart might be comforted,encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditatingon it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord (Steer 1985, 60).
GEORGE’S KIND OF PRAYER
There are many amazing stories of how George Müller relied upon the Lord for each and every need. I believe it is worth taking a look at the way Müller thought about God. The nature of reality according to George Müller was that we are to take God on His word and rely on it (Steer 1985, 16). This requires faith—and we are called to live by faith and not by sight. Müller says of faith:
…it is the very time for faith to work, when sight ceases. The greater the difficulties, the easier for faith. As long as there remain natural prospects, faith does not get on as easily…as when all natural prospects fail...we have to believe what God says. Nor must we look to our feelings, nor expect help from our natural fallen reason; nor must we be discouraged though all appearance were against what God says; for faith begins when sight fails. As long as we can see with the natural eye, and our natural fallen reason will yet help us, faith is not needed…we should therefore pray, ‘Lord, increase my faith!’ (Steer 1985, 33).
But Müller pointed out that in order for God to listen to our voice, we must also listen to His. Müller advocated that we can not simply plead for God to meet certain needs and continue to live our lives at our own discretion; but rather our “whole life must be under the supremacy of the word: the word must be dwelling in us” (Murray, n.d.).
One example of such faith is demonstrated by a story from Müller’s life that is often titled, “When the South Wind Blew.” The year was 1857 and Müller was informed that the boiler which fed the radiators in the orphanage had a serious leak. Since the boiler was entirely surrounded by brickwork the project would be quite an ordeal. With winter approaching, George was concerned about the well-being of the children. Müller finally determined that he must leave the matter entirely in God’s hands—for he knew not an easy remedy. A day was chosen for the workers to come. But a few days before the workers were to come, a frigid north wind began to blow. The repairs could not be put off and so George did what he knew best—he prayed. The first thing he prayed for was that God would be pleased to change the north wind into a south wind. The second thing he requested is that the workmen would be given “a mind to work” as he recalled how much Nehemiah had accomplished because God had given the people a “mind to work”. The evening before the job was to be done the north wind continued to blow bitterly. But on the day of the repair—the south wind blew—just exactly how George had prayed! The weather was so fair that no fire was needed. The brickwork was removed and the repairs were made. Later that day, George went into the cellar to inquire about the progress of the work. The man in charge suggested that the fellows work late into the evening and then come back in the morning. But the lead workman insisted that they would stay until all the work was done. George remembered the second part of his prayer to give the men a “mind to work”. And so, by the morning, the repair had been made and the fire was again lit (Steer 1985, 175).
Perhaps one of the most well-known stories about how God answered George Müller’s prayer was the time that the orphanage had run out of food and money, completely. Upon hearing of the needs, Müller grabbed the hand of a young girl named Abigail and said to her, “Come, see what our Father will do.” He led her into the dining room. The table was set and the children were waiting for the prayer and their morning meal. Müller lifted his hands and prayed: “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” Immediately afterwards there was a knock at the door and there stood the baker. He explained to George that he could not sleep the night before because he felt that somehow George would not have bread for breakfast. So he awoke at two o’clock in the morning and began to bake. George gave thanks and then there was a second knock at the door. The milkman stood at the door and explained that his milk cart had broken down outside of the orphanage and that he would like to give the children fresh milk in order that he could take some of the weight off his wagon to fix it (Steer 1975, 182).
George was constantly teaching lessons of faith to people all around him, just like he did to Abigail, that day. There were a few educational aims that he deemed important, over and over again, by the way in which he lived his life and the words of advice he gave to others. The attitude that he probably thought to be most important was one of a love for the Holy Scriptures. Early in his Christian life he shut himself into a room to pray and meditate over Scripture. He recalled about that experience that he had “learned more in a few hours than…during a period of several months previously” (Murray, n.d.). Throughout his life he exhorted others to read the word of God as often as possible in order that God may teach though the Holy Spirit. He said:
…the Spirit explains the word by the word. And if he enjoys the reading of the word little, that is just the reason why he should read it much; for the frequent reading of the Scriptures creates a delight in them, so that the more we read them, the more we desire to do so. Above all, he should seek to have it settled in his own mind that God alone by His Spirit can teach him, and that therefore, as God will be inquired of for blessings, it becomes him to seek God's blessing previous to reading, and also whilst reading. He should have it, moreover, settled in his mind that although the Holy Spirit is the best and sufficient Teacher…we may have to entreat Him again and again for the explanation of certain passages; but that He will surely teach us at last, if indeed we are seeking for light prayerfully, patiently, and with a view to the glory of God (Murray, n.d.).
Müller also asserted that we should exhibit an attitude of peace, joy, and happiness (Steer 1985, 24) and that these things will manifest when we know the heart of God—which will come when we pray with expectation (Steer 1985, 39). It was important, said George, to pray to God, alone, to meet every need.
Each of Müller’s needs was attended to by God. George never told anybody what his needs were. He expressed his needs to God alone, with full expectation that his prayers would be answered (Sword of The Lord Publishers 2006). Müller’s dependence on God to meet his needs is quite inspiring, however what really makes his life amazing is that his needs were quite large! He wrote of some of these needs in 1874:
…with a work requiring about $264,000 a year…I have placed myself in the position of having no means at all left; and 2,100 persons, not one daily at the table, but with everything else to be provided for, and all the funds gone; 189 missionaries to be assisted, and nothing whatever left; about one hundred schools with 9,000 scholars in them, to be entirely supported, and no means for them in hand; about four million tracts and tens of thousands of copies of the Holy Scriptures yearly now to be sent out, and all the money expended…I commit the whole work to Him, and He will provide me with what I need, in the future also, though I know not whence the means are to come (Reese 1975, 11).
OLD FAITHFUL—GEORGE CONTINUES ON
George continued to work hard and kept a meticulous journal detailing each prayer request and how God answered each petition. His fellow worker and friend, Henry Craik, died on January 22, 1866, followed by the death of his wife, Mary, on February 6, 1870. On the Sunday that she passed away, George fell to his knees and thanked God for her release. He spoke of how though he felt a void is his heart and missed his lovely wife more and more every day, he would not have taken her back if he had the power to, because her happiness of being with the Lord was a joy to him. God, Himself, had called her home and he was satisfied with knowing that God could only do good. But still—those were hard days for George. In the months following her death, he became, for a period of time, ill, and wrote about Mary: “my earthly joy was all but gone” (Steer 1975, 228-229). Yet still he trusted in God’s goodness.
With his wife gone, George decided it was time to make sure that there would be someone to run the orphanage when he was gone. He asked Jim Wright, whom George had known since he was a child, to consider being his successor. Jim had been George’s assistant, running the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. After thinking about it for some time, Jim and his wife, Annie, decided that they would step into the role. But Annie became gravely ill and died. George’s daughter, Lydia, stepped in to fill the role. As they all worked together, Jim and Lydia fell in love, and eventually married. After George saw how happily married Jim and Lydia were, he decided that he, too, would remarry. There was a woman by the name of Susannah Sangar that he had been friends with for more than twenty-five years. She was a hard worker and George knew that she would make a good wife. They married on November 30, 1871, two weeks after Lydia’s wedding (Benge and Benge 1999, 182).
Susannah was about twenty years younger than George and was full of life and energy. Jim and Lydia ran the orphanage very effectively and George decided that it was a good time for him and his new wife to turn their attention to some other projects. By this time, George was well-known and there was quite a demand to have him come and speak at various congregations. In the Spring of 1875, George and Susannah began a preaching tour around England. Though George was now seventy years old, he was full of life and vitality. In fact, he felt healthier than he had felt in his youth! He preached for Charles Spurgeon, at outdoor meetings, and churches all around the country. Wherever he preached, large crowds gathered. In August of 1877, George and Susannah boarded a ship to take a trip to North America. George preached and shared the message of the gospel every chance he had. In fact, George had an amazing opportunity to demonstrate the power of prayer while aboard the ship (Benge and Benge 1999, 181-183). A thick fog had appeared and the ship crawled along at a very slow pace to avoid crashing into the rocky coastline. Because of this, the ship had gotten behind schedule. This caught George’s attention because he did not want to miss his first scheduled speaking engagement. He sought out the captain and shared his need to make it to his destination on time. The captain laughed at George, claiming that it would not be possible to stay on schedule and that the fog was too dense. George responded by saying that if the captain could not get him there on time that he would ask God to do it. “Impossible,” the captain said, to which George replied, “…my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God, Who controls every circumstance of my life” (Steer 1975, 243). He urged the captain to follow him down to his cabin where he uttered a simple prayer, asking God to lift the fog. George then encouraged the captain to open the door to see what God had done—sharing with him that God had had always answered prayer. Sure enough, the fog was gone without a trace and George remained right on schedule (Benge and Benge 1999, 186).
From 1875 to 1892 George and his wife traveled around the world preaching and sharing the amazing faithfulness, power, and love of God. They traveled 200,000 miles in 17 years! His second wife passed away on January 13, 1894, after 23 years of marriage. He was, at that time, 89 years old and decided to return to the orphanage to live out the rest of his days. He preached his last sermon on Isaiah’s Vision on March 6, 1898 at Alma Road Chapel in Clifton. On March 10th, 1898, the maid went to his room and found him dead by the side of his bed. His funeral was held on March 14th. It was an event unlike anything else Bristol had ever seen before. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets. He was buried next to his two wives (Reese 1975, 13).
Often times people look at Müller’s life and assume that they could never live in such a way—that he must have been special in some way to receive such favor from God. But God does not favor one over another—so what were the methods by which Müller was able to live such an illuminating life of faith? In theory—the method is quite simple. The hard part is believing enough to live it out. According to Müller, in order to live the life of faith one must simply know God and trust Him. To know God one must spend time reading His word, daily. The reading of the Word must be done with prayer, for Müller was convinced that the only way for the Word to truly transform one is by the power of the Holy Spirit. In trusting God, one should turn to Him for every request—and to ask Him, and Him alone, to provide for each and every need. Of this method Müller said:
It is through THE WORD, AND THE WORD ALONE, that the Spirit teaches, applying the general principles or promises to our special need. And it is THE SPIRIT, AND THE SPIRIT ALONE, who can really make the word a light on our path, whether the path of duty in our daily walk, or the path of faith in our approach to God. Let us try to notice in what childlike simplicity and teachableness it was that the discovery of God's will was so surely and so clearly made known to His servant (Murray, n.d.).
What, specifically, might it look like to “do life” Müller’s way? How might the objectives and methods mentioned be carried out in a practical sense? The first step is to forgo one’s own will in order to truly let God direct. One needs only the Bible, time, and ears to hear in order to take this step. Müller explained how he set out to complete this step of the process:
I seek at the beginning to get my heart in such as state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter…I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions. I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. It I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Spirit guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them…thus through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge; and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly (Steer 1985, 41).
Müller would never talk with anybody but God concerning His needs. Müller believed that God is more than capable of influencing the hearts of others and therefore petitioned God, alone (Steer 1985, 49). This ultimately brought more glory to God, as people would answer Müller’s needs, specifically. Müller also did not want to be influenced by any external influences. He did not want to make decisions based off of feelings or others’ excitement or disapproval of a particular concept. When necessary, He would wait for years when seeking God’s direction. Yet at the same time, if God told him to “Go now” he would do so. Because He desired to do God’s will, he left the results in God’s hands and therefore did not worry or become anxious. He knew that at the right time God would do the right thing (Steer 1985, 43). And so the crux of this lifestyle is a cycle of praying, reading the Word, listening for God, and then obeying Him when He gives a directive. All of this is motivated by one’s love for God and is to be characterized by a spirit of joy, not obligation.
A MAN OF CHARACTER
One thing that is so amazing about the life of George Müller is that he did more than simply speak of his beliefs—He lived them out every day! There are many things that can be said of his character, namely that He was a great man of prayer, which has already been demonstrated. I believe that among some of Müller’s most note-worthy attributes were that he was simple, faithful, and peaceful. On the surface these attributes may not seem outstanding—but to truly carry on this sort of life is quite remarkable! Müller said of his simplicity, “…the Lord very graciously gave me, from the very commencement of my divine life, a measure of simplicity and of childlike disposition in spiritual things, so…I was enabled to carry most minute matters to the Lord in prayer” (Murray, n.d.). Looking back on his life, the observer can see how God provided faithfully—yet Müller lived moment by moment, not having knowledge of his future. He simply took God at His word. “How little he knew…that when he gave up his salary…in obedience to the leading of God’s word and the Holy Spirit, what God was preparing to give him as the reward of obedience and faith…(Murray, n.d.). Time after time, Müller had great faith because He recognized that the God he served was always faithful first.
Finally, Müller was a peaceful man. One would think that living a lifestyle such as his—not knowing where the money would come from for the next day’s needs—would be tough on the nerves. Müller had no source of security in earthly things but instead relied on an unseen God to meet not only his needs, but the needs of the thousands of children that were under his care. Müller wrote regarding his peace:
…I had no anxiety; for I considered that as long as I really sought to serve the Lord, that is as long as I sought the kingdom of God and His righteousness, these my temporal supplies would be added to me. The Lord mercifully enabled me to take the promises of His Word and rest upon them…(Steer 1985, 20).
I cannot tell you how happy this service makes me. Instead of being the anxious, careworn man many persons think me to be, I have no anxieties and no cares at all. Faith in God leads me to roll all my burdens upon Him (Steer 1985, 23).
The character and life of George Müller is more than inspiring. His story has interwoven itself into my story, for one cannot read about a life such as his and remain the same. My faith has been increased greatly by studying his life. At one time he spoke the following words:
Let us have heart-work; let us be genuine. Brethren and sisters, we should live so as to be missed—missed both in the Church and in the world, when we are removed! Oh how rapidly is time hastening on! We should live in such a manner as that, if we are called hence, our dear brethren and sisters might feel our loss, and from their inmost souls exclaim, ‘Oh that such a one were in our midst again!’ We ought to be missed even by the world. Worldly persons should be constrained to say of us, ‘If ever there was a Christian upon earth, that man was one’ (Steer 1985, 112).
George Müller fulfilled his own words, as he was such a man. I hope to be such a woman. The things that I’ve learned from Müller will most definitely have an influence in my ministry context; in fact, they already have. I’ve always believed in the necessity and the power of prayer—but for a long time did not pray as often as I knew I should have—and did not pray with the confidence and boldness as one of God’s chosen daughters. I think one of the obstacles I ran into was that I made things too theological and complex. I would accumulate knowledge in my head and spend so much time in the cognitive domain that often times the information was slow to move into the realm of the heart. As long as the information stayed in my head, it did not manifest itself into faith by action. Müller’s life has taught me of the simplicity of child-like faith. I no longer have the need to “figure it out” and am comfortable with leaving the results up to God. I trust God with all I do—big and small—and when I trust Him things always end up working out for the better—though they hardly work out the way I would have planned, myself. All I know is that when George prayed, heaven responded. I expect the same to be true for you and I as well!
If you liked reading about George Muller, check out some hubs on related topics:
Benge, Janet and Geoff Benge. 1999. George Müller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans. Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing.
Müller, George. 1905. Autobiography of George Muller. G. Fred Bergin, compiler. Bristol, England: John Wright and Co.
Murray, Rev. Andrew. N.d. “George Muller, and the Secret of His Power in Prayer.”
http://www.holytrinitynewrochelle.org/yourti17492.html (accessed 11/01/06).
Reese, Edward. 1975. The Life and Ministry of George Mueller, 1805-1898. Glenwood, Illinois: Fundamental Publishers.
Ross, Stephen. N.d. “George Müller: Preacher and Philanthropist.”
http://www.wholesomewords.org/biography/biorpmueller.html (accessed 11/01/06).
Steer, Roger. 1975. George Müller: Delighted in God! Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers.
Steer, Roger. 1985. Spiritual Secrets of George Müller. Wheaton, Illinois: Harold Shaw Publishers.
Stocker, Fern Neal. 1986. George Mueller: Champion of Orphans. Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association.
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