Testimony of George Muller
George Muller lived 1805 – 1898. He was born in Prussia but lived most of his adult life in England. He travelled extensively, particularly in his later years. The quality he is most remembered for is his faith. He denied that he had ever received ‘the gift of faith’ and that the kind of faith he exercised was just the ‘ordinary’ kind which all who are born of God possess. He lived a life of unswerving trust in God, for many things, but most of all he is remembered for his faithfulness in the matter of trusting God to supply all his needs. In particular the many thousands of orphans he cared for in his lifetime. During a time in England when most orphans lived in miserable workhouses or on the streets, like Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Mueller took them in, fed them, clothed them, and educated them. He built them a magnificent home on Ashley Down near Bristol. And he did it all without ever making one plea to ‘man’ for help. His principle was sound and solid; he would only ever make his needs known unto God and, of course, God was never late, though the timing was very ‘last minute’ on many occasions.
It is important to note that he wasn’t merely concerned with the temporal welfare of the orphans. Many came to knowledge of God as they passed through those doors. Even above this, Muller gave as his first motive the fact that he desired that Christians of that day should be stirred and emboldened by seeing a testimony of living faith in the Living God.
George Mueller is widely considered one the greatest men of faith since the days of the New Testament. Through his orphanage in Bristol, Mueller cared for as many as two thousand orphans at a time—more than ten thousand in his lifetime. Yet he never asked others to help meet the needs of his ministries. he only went to God in prayer. Only through his annual reports did people learn after the fact what the needs had been during the previous year and how God had provided.
A Man of Prayer
Mueller had over fifty thousand specific recorded answers to prayers in his journals, thirty thousand of which he said were answered the same day or the same hour that he prayed them. Think of it: that’s five hundred definite answers to prayer each year—more than one per day—every single day for sixty years! God funneled over half a billion dollars (in today’s dollars) through his hands in answer to prayer.
How did George Mueller pray? He said that for the first ten years of what he called his “life of faith”—referring not to when he was unknown but to ten years of trust in God and remarkable answers to prayer—he often struggled to get into the spirit of prayer, in other words, to really feel like praying. Until, that is, he made one slight alteration in his method. Here’s how he described the change:
The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this: formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer. . . . But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then really began to pray.
I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental [today we would say “experiential”] fellowship with God, I speak to my Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word. It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point.
Once he began the practice of conversing with God about what he found in the Word of God and through strengthening his fellowship or relationship with God, he “scarcely ever” suffered with those problems in prayer again. It's when we see God as a real person, one who we can get to know better and learn about the things that He has for us through His Word. Praying through a passage of Scripture as he went “walking about in the fields” was the uncomplicated method that transformed the daily experience of one of the most famous men of prayer in history. It's about friendship with God.
And it can transform your prayer life just as easily.