George Müller And The Secret Of His Power In Prayer
By Andrew Murray
When God wishes anew to teach His church a truth that is not being understood or practiced, He mostly does so by raising some man to be in word and deed a living witness to its blessedness. And so God has raised up in the nineteenth century, among others, George Müller to be His witness that He is indeed the hearer of prayer. I know of no way in which the principal truths of God’s Word in regard to prayer can be more effectually illustrated and established than a short review of his life and of what he tells of his prayer experiences.
He was born in Prussia on 25th September, 1805. His early life, even after having entered the University of Halle as a theological student, was wicked in the extreme. Led by a friend one evening when just twenty years of age to a prayer meeting, he was deeply impressed and soon after came to know the Savior. ...In 1830, he became the pastor of a small congregation at Teignmouth, England. Then in 1832, he was led to Bristol, and it was as pastor of Bethesda Chapel that he was led to the Orphan Home and other work in connection with which God so remarkably led him to trust His Word and to experience how He fulfills that Word….
Moving Forward in Prayer and in Faith
Not long after his settlement at Bristol, the Scriptural Knowledge Institution For Home And Abroad was established for aiding in Day School, Sunday School, Mission and Bible work. Of this institution the Orphan Home work, for which Mr. Müller is best known, became a branch. It was in 1834 that his heart was touched by the case of an orphan brought to Christ in one of the schools but who had to go to a poorhouse where his spiritual needs would not be cared for.
He writes (Nov. 20, 1835), “Today I have had it very much laid on my heart no longer merely to think about the establishment of an Orphan Home, but actually to set about it, and I have been very much in prayer respecting it in order to ascertain the Lord’s mind. May God make it plain.” And again (Nov. 25), “I have been again much in prayer yesterday and today about the Orphan Home, and am more and more convinced that it is of God. May He in mercy guide me.
“The three chief reasons are: 1. 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. 2. The spiritual welfare of the fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.”
After some months of prayer and waiting on God, a house was rented with room for thirty children and, in the course of time, three more, containing in all 120 children. The work was carried on in this way for ten years, the supplies for the needs of the orphans being asked and received of God alone. It was often a time of sore need and much prayer, but a trial of faith more precious than of gold was found unto the praise and honor and glory of God. The Lord was preparing His servant for greater things.
By [the Lord’s] providence and His Holy Spirit, Mr. Müller was led to desire and to wait upon God till he received from Him the sure promise of 15,000 pounds for a Home to contain 300 children. This first Home was opened in 1849. In 1858, a second and third Home for 950 more orphans were opened, costing 35,000 pounds. And in 1869 and 1870, a fourth and a fifth Home were established for 860 more, at an expense of 50,000 pounds, making the total number of the orphans 2,100.
In addition to this work, God had given him almost as much for the support of schools and missions and Bible and tract circulation as for the building of the Orphan Homes and the maintenance of the orphans. In all, he received more than one million pounds sterling from God to be spent in His work during those fifty years.
How little he knew, let us carefully notice, that when he gave up his little salary of 30 pounds a year (while a pastor at Teignmouth) in obedience to the leading of God’s Word and Holy Spirit, what God was preparing to give him as the reward of obedience and faith, and how wonderfully the Word was to be fulfilled to him, “Thou hast been faithful over few things; I will set thee over many things.”
And these things have happened as an example to us. God calls us to be followers of George Müller, even as he is of Christ. His God is our God; the same promises are for us. The same service of love and faith in which he labored is calling for us on every side.
For the Glory of God
In George Müller, we have one of the most remarkable instances on record of God’s Holy Spirit leading a man deliberately and systematically at the outset of a course of prayer to make the glorifying of God his first and only object. Let us ponder well what he says and learn the lesson God would teach us through him:
“I had constantly cases brought before me which proved that one of the greatest things which the children of God needed in our day was to have their faith strengthened.
“I longed, therefore, to have something to point out to my brethren as visible proof that our God and Father is the same faithful God as ever He was, as willing as ever to prove Himself to be the living God in our day, just as He was formerly, to all who put their trust 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 who rely upon Him, but to show them by proofs that He is the same in our day. I knew that the Word of God ought to be enough, and it was by grace enough for me, but still I considered I ought to lend a helping hand to my brethren.
“I therefore judged myself bound to be the servant of the church of Christ in the particular point in which I had obtained mercy, namely, in being able to take God at His Word and rely upon it. The first object of the work was, and is still, that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked; thereby it may be seen that God is faithful still and hears prayer still....
“When I began the Orphan work in 1835, my chief object was to glorify God by giving a practical demonstration as to what could be accomplished simply through the instrumentality of prayer and faith, in order thus to benefit the church at large, and to lead a careless world to see the reality of the things of God by showing them in this work that the living God is still, as 4,000 years ago, the living God. This my aim has been abundantly honored. Multitudes of sinners have been thus converted, multitudes of the children of God in all parts of the world have been benefited by this work, even as I had anticipated.
“But the larger the work has grown, the greater has been the blessing, bestowed in the very way in which I looked for blessing. For the attention of hundreds of thousands has been drawn to the work, and many tens of thousands have come to see it. All this leads me to desire further and further to labor on in this way, in order to bring yet greater glory to the Name of the Lord. That He may be looked at, magnified, admired, trusted in, relied on at all times, is my aim in this service…That it may be seen how much one poor man can bring about by prayer simply by trusting in God, and that thus other children of God may be led to carry on the work of God in dependence upon Him, and that children of God may be led increasingly to trust in Him in their individual positions and circumstances.”