Founder of the Bristol Orphanage
George Müller (1805-1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He was well-known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans. He did all of this by seeking means from God through prayer.
A Brief Biography by Samuel Prime
“I went accordingly to my room, and locked my door, and putting the Bible on a chair, I went down on my knees at the chair. There I remained for several hours in prayer and meditation over the word of God; and I can tell you that I learned more in those three hours which I spent in this way, than I had learned for many months previously.”
“Lastly, if God does bless us in reading His word, He expects that we should be obedient children, and that we should accept the Word as His will, and carry it into practice. If this be neglected, you will ﬁnd that the reading of the Word, even if accompanied by prayer, meditation, and faith, will do you little good. God does expect us to be obedient children, and will have us practice what He has taught us. The Lord Jesus Christ says, ‘If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’” And in the measure in which we carry out what our Lord Jesus taught, so in measure are we happy children. And in such measure only can we honestly look for help from the Father, even as we seek to carry out His will.”
“To wait before Him, weighing candidly in the scales every consideration for or against a proposed course, and in readiness to see which way the preponderance lies, is a frame of mind and heart in which one is ﬁtted to be guided; and god touches the scales and makes the balance to sway as He will. But our hands must be off the scales otherwise we need expect no interposition of His in our favour."
“I had a secret satisfaction in the greatness of the difﬁculties which were in the way. So far from being cast down on account of them, they delighted my soul."
“In reading about all these answers to prayer, the believing reader may be led to think that I am spiritually minded above most of the children of God, and that therefore the Lord favors (me) thus. The true reason is this. Just in as many points as (I am) acting according to the mind of God, in so many (am I) blessed and made a blessing."
“For more than ten years at a time-as from August 1838, to April 1849, day by day, and for months together from meal to meal-it was necessary to look to God, almost without cessation, for daily supplies.” “The income has been for some time past only about a third part of the expenses. Consequently all we have for the support of the orphans is near gone; and for the ﬁrst four objects of the Institution we have nothing at all in hand. The natural appearance now is that the work cannot be carried on. But I believe that the Lord will help, both with means for the orphans and also for other objects of the Institution, and we shall not be confounded."
Trials Are the Food of Faith—“God delights to increase the Faith of His children. Our Faith which is feeble at ﬁrst, is developed and strengthened more and more by us. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hand as a means. I say - and say it deliberately - trials, obstacles, difﬁculties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of Faith. I get letters from so many of God’s dear children who say: “Dear Brother Mueller, I’m writing this because I am so weak in faith.” Just so surely as we ask to have our Faith strengthened, we must feel a willingness to take from God’s hand the means for strengthening it. We must allow Him to educate us through trials and bereavements and troubles. It is through trials that Faith is exercised and developed more and more. God affectionately permits difﬁculties, that He may develop unceasingly that which He is willing to do for us, and to this end we should not shrink, but if He gives us sorrow and hindrances and losses and afﬂictions, we should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that Faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us."
Müller's Secret of Victory—“'There was a day when I died’; and, as he spoke, he bent lower, until he almost touched the ﬂoor. Continuing, he added, ‘Died to George Müller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren or friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.’”
The Purpose of His Work—“The primary object I had in view in carrying on this work…that it might be seen that now, in the nineteenth century, God is still the Living God, and that now as well as thousands of years ago, He listens to the prayers of His children and helps those who trust Him.”
“I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.”
On the Necessity of Using Available Resources To Gain the Full Blessings of God—
“There is sufﬁcient in all the houses for dinner. He has said, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,’ so that we may boldly say, the Lord is MY helper.” In the afternoon of the same day he writes: “I have delayed writing as long as I could. The Lord has not sent any thing, but the sisters can do without taking in bread, and they had money enough to pay for the milk, except sister —, who has, however, received a few shillings for some articles of her own, that she sold. Thus we are supplied with the absolute necessities for today.” In reference to the last lines I make a few remarks. At ﬁrst sight it might appear as if it were a failure of the principles on which we act, that now and then individuals who are connected with the work have been obliged to sell articles of their own to procure things which were needed. But let it be remembered, that under no circumstances prayer for temporal supplies can be expected to prevail with the Lord, except we are willing to part with money or any needless articles which we may have of our own
. Indeed an Institution like the one under my care should not be carried on by any rich believer, on the principles on which we, by grace, are enabled to act, except it be that he were made willing himself to give of his own property, as long as he has any thing, whenever the Institution is in real need.”
—Taken from his Narratives
Müller's Conditions for Obtaining Answers to Prayer—
"Let us adore the Lord’s kindness! See how seasonably the Lord sends the help. As our need is, so He remembers us. It is not now and then that He is mindful of us, but continually. As surely as we stand in need of any thing, He sends it; be it money, provisions, clothes, or any thing else. We may be allowed to be poor, yea, very poor; we may have to pray again and again to our Father before the answer comes; we may be reduced so as to have from mal to meal to wait upon Him; yea, according to all outward appearance, the Lord may seem to have forgotten us :—but, amidst it all, as surely as we really need any thing, in His own time and way does He send help. Perhaps you may say; “But how would you do, in case there were a mealtime to come and you had no provisions for the children, or they really wanted clothes, and you had no money to procure them?” Our answer is, such a thing is impossible as long as the Lord shall give us grace to trust in Him,
(for “whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed,”) and as long as He shall enable us to carry on the work in uprightness of heart. But should we be ever so left to ourselves as to forsake the Lord and trust in an arm of ﬂesh, or should we regard iniquity in our heart i. e. wilfully and habitually do any thing, either in connexion with the work or otherwise, which is against the will of God, then we may pray and utter many words before Him, but He will not hear us
, as it is written: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalm lxvi. 18. I, therefore, beseech all who love our Lord Jesus and who may read this, to entreat Him on behalf of all of us who are engaged in this work, that He would be pleased to continue to give us faith, and that He would keep us from living in sin
Stories of Answered Prayer
The Secret of Prevailing Prayer
This is a precious chapter from George Müller's book Counsel for Christians. Here is a sample: "thus, beloved friends, you and I shall find again and again that the answer is delayed; and the question is, shall we give up praying, or shall we continue? The temptation is to cease praying, as though we had given up hope, and to say, "It is useless; we have already prayed so long that it is useless to continue." This is just what Satan would have us say; but let us persevere and go on steadily praying, and be assured that God is both able and willing to do it for us; and that it is the very joy and delight of His heart, for Christ's sake, to give to us all things which are for the glory of His name, and our good and profit. If we do so, He will give us our desire. As assuredly as we are the children of God, if we pray perseveringly, and in faith, the prayer will be answered. Thus let us learn from this precious instance regarding prayer, which the Holy Ghost has given for our encouragement."
Motives in Prayer
"This circumstance now led me to lie low before my God in prayer, and to examine my heart once more as to all the motives concerning it; and being able, as formerly, to say that his glory was my chief aim, i. e., that it might be seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in the living God, and still continuing in prayer. I was at last brought to this state, that I could say from my heart that I should rejoice in God being glorified in this matter, though it were by bringing the whole to nothing." (Read more from Müller on this subject)
Hints on Praying
Here Müller talks about what it means to lay our burdens on God: "Dear brethren and sisters, are you in the habit of rolling all your burdens on the Lord? Just as trials come, do you bring them back to your heavenly Father? This is the reason why He lays them on you. And if you make the attempt to carry them in your own strength you will oblige your heavenly Father to increase the trial and burden, so that by the weight you may be at last forced to come to Him, and leave it with Him." (Read more from Hints on Prayer)
How to Strengthen Faith
"As with reference to the growth of every grace of the Spirit, it is of the utmost importance that we seek to maintain an upright heart and a good conscience, and, therefore, do not knowingly and habitually indulge in those things which are contrary to the mind of God, so it is also particularly the case with reference to the growth in faith. How can I possibly continue to act faith upon God, concerning any thing, if I am habitually grieving Him, and seek to detract from the glory and honor of Him in whom I profess to trust, upon whom I profess to depend? All my confidence towards God, all my leaning upon Him in the hour of trial will be gone, if I have a guilty conscience, and do not seek to put away this guilty conscience, but still continue to do things which are contrary to the mind of God. And if, in any particular instance, I cannot trust in God, because of the guilty conscience, then my faith is weakened by that instance of distrust; for faith with every fresh trial of it either increases by trusting God, and thus getting help, or it decreases by not trusting Him; and then there is less and less power of looking simply and directly to Him, and a habit of self-dependence is begotten or encouraged. One or other of these will always be the case in each particular instance. Either we trust in God-and in that case we neither trust in ourselves, nor in our fellowmen, nor in circumstances, nor in any thing besides-or we trust in one or more of these, and in that case do NOT trust in God." (read more from Strengthening Faith)
Prayer Conditions & Resources
Here is one of the conditions that Müller cites: "I have not the least doubt because I am assured that it is the Lord’s will to save them, for He willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4). Also, we have the assurance ‘that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” (1John 5: 14)" (Read more from George Müller" Prayer Conditions & Resources)
The Secret of His Power in Prayer
Notice what George Müller says on obeying: "‘The result of this was, that the ﬁrst evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. ‘But the particular difference was that I received real strength for my soul in so doing. I now began to try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were of real value.’" (Read more from The Secret of His Power in Prayer)
Obtaining God's Guidance
Be slow to take new steps in the Lord’s service, or in your business, or in your families. Weigh everything well; weigh all in the light of the Holy Scriptures, and in the fear of God. 2. Seek to have no will of your own, in order to ascertain the mind of God, regarding any steps you propose to take, so that you can honestly say, you are willing to do the will of God, if He will only please to instruct you. 3. But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek for His help, and seek it earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, and expectingly: and you will surely, in His own time and way, obtain it. (Read more on God's Guidance from George Müller)
On Preaching and Choosing a Text
"I do not presume to know myself what is best for the hearers, and I therefore ask the Lord in the ﬁrst place, that He would graciously be pleased to teach me on what subject I shall speak, or what portion of His word I shall expound. Now sometimes it happens, that previous to my asking Him, a subject or passage has been in my mind, on which it has appeared well for me to speak. In that case I ask the Lord, whether I should speak on this subject or passage. If, after prayer, I feel persuaded that I should I ﬁx upon it, yet so, that I would desire to leave myself open to the Lord to change it, if He please." (Read more on preaching and choosing a text)
How to Study the Bible
"First of all, it is of the utmost moment that we regularly read through the Scripture. We ought not to turn over the Bible, and pick out chapters as we please here and there, but to read it regularly through. We should read carefully and regularly through the Scriptures. I speak advisedly, and as one who has known the blessedness of thus reading the Word for the last forty-six years. I say forty-six years, because for the first four years of my Christian life I did not carefully read the word of God. I used to read a tract, or an interesting book; but I knew nothing of the power of the Word. I read next to nothing of it and the result was, that, though a preacher then, and though I had preached in connection with the establishment made no progress in the divine life. And why? Just for this reason, that I neglected the word of God." (Learn more from Müller on how to study the Bible)
Revival at Müller's Orphanage
Read of a revival that occurred at George Müller's orphanage in Bristol England: "On May 26, 1857, the death of an orphan, Caroline Bailey, took place. The death of this beloved girl, who had known the Lord several months before she fell asleep, seems to have been used by the Lord as a means of answering in a goodly measure our daily prayers for the conversion of the orphans. It pleased God at the beginning of the last period mightily to work among the orphans, so that all at once, within a few days, without any apparent cause, except it be the peaceful end of the beloved Caroline Bailey, more than fifty of these girls were brought to be under concern about their souls, and some with deep conviction of sin accompanying it, so that they were exceedingly distressed." (Read the rest of this short excerpt on revival from George Müller)
Christian Devotedness (Anthony Norris Groves)
Here is an excerpt from a little tract that changed Müller's life: "The principal points to be attended to, in the above passage, are,—The importance attached to a “single eye” and the clear declaration of our Saviour, that riches disturb the clearness and simplicity of its vision;—God’s care of the lowest of his creatures, and his provision for those which have neither storehouse nor barn;—the inference thence deduced by our Saviour, that he will much more care and provide for those who singly and earnestly seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, though they have neither store-house nor barn;—and the source of all our distrust and doubt, clearly intimated in the expression—'O ye of little faith.'" (Read more on being a devoted Christain form Anthony Norris Groves)
A Happy Heart, My Chief Business (Letter from George Müller to Hudson Taylor)
I found this letter among the personal papers of Hudson Taylor. Here is an excerpt: "I have in my own experience found it of the utmost moment to make the care about my own soul the chief business of my life. Abundant as my work is, so much so, that if I had strength to work 24 hours every day, I would not accomplish what is ready for my hands, and feet and head, and heart; yet with all this I consider my first business to be, and my primary business, day by day, to get blessing for my own soul, food for my own soul, to be happy in the Lord; and then to work, and to work with all diligence." (Read more from the letter)
A Conversion in George Müller's Life
He speaks of a deeper conversion in this excerpt from an address to pastors: "“That leads to another thought—the full surrender of the heart to God. I was converted in November 1825, but I only came, into the full surrender of the heart four years later, in July 1829. The love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone, and the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. God, God, God alone became my portion. I found my all in Him; I wanted nothing else. And by the grace of God this has remained, and has made me a happy man, an exceedingly happy man, and it led me to care only about the things of God. I ask, affectionately, my beloved brethren, have you fully surrendered the heart to God, or is there this thing or that thing with which you are taken up irrespective of God? I read a little of the Scriptures before, but preferred other books, but since that time the revelation He has made of Himself has become unspeakably blessed to me, and I can say from my heart, God is an infinitely lovely Being. Oh! be not satisfied until in your inmost soul you can say, God is an infinitely lovely Being!” (read the rest of Müller's address)
On the Danger of Debt and Surety
Müller had strong feelings on debt and surety that should be heeded more in our day: " The way in which Satan ensnares persons, to bring them into the net, and to bring trouble upon them by becoming sureties, is, that he seeks to represent the matter as if there were no danger connected with that particular case, and that one might be sure one should never be called upon to pay the money; but the Lord, the faithful Friend, tells us in His own word that the only way in such a matter "to be sure" is "to hate suretyship." (Prov. xi.15.) The following points seem to me of solemn moment for consideration, if I were called upon to become surety for another" (Read more of Müller's thoughts on this sobering subject)
James Wright's Liberality
Read about the liberality of James Wright, the husband of Müller's daughter Lydia, who directed the orphanage after George Müller died. (Read "Mr. Wright's Liberality"
On the Conversion of Children
Here are brief thoughts on the conversion of children: "I add, as an encouragement to believers who labour among children, that during the last two years seventeen other young persons or children, have been received into fellowship, among us, and that I am looking out now for many more to be converted, and that not merely of the orphans, but of the Sunday and day-school children." (read the rest of this article)
Müller even wrote about the importance of seeking God's will when traveling: "Seek always to ascertain carefully the mind of God, before you begin anything; but so in particular before you go on a journey, so that you may be quite sure that it is the will of God that you should undertake that journey, lest you should needlessly expose yourself to one of the special opportunities of the devil ensnare you." (read more of Müller's thoughts on travel)
This is one of my favortite readings from George Müller on how God develops faith in his children: "I say - and say it deliberately - trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of Faith. I get letters from so many of God's dear children who say: "Dear Brother Müller, I'm writing this because I am so weak in faith." Just so surely as we ask to have our Faith strengthened, we must feel a willingness to take from God's hand the means for strengthening it. We must allow Him to educate us through trials and bereavements and troubles. It is through trials that Faith is exercised and developed more and more. God affectionately permits difficulties, that He may develop unceasingly that which He is willing to do for us, and to this end we should not shrink, but if He gives us sorrow and hindrances and losses and afflictions, we should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that Faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us." (Read more from Müller on this subject)
Living By Faith
We sometimes have the idea that living by faith quickly brings great resources our way. George Müller lived by faith as few have ever lived since. What did it mean on a practical basis for him? This page shares a typical scenario, as well as his later reflections on the impact of trials on his ministry.
"Greater and more manifest nearness of the Lord’s presence I have never had, than when after breakfast there were no means for dinner, and then the Lord provided the dinner for more than one hundred persons
; or when, after dinner, there were no means for the tea, and yet the Lord provided the tea; and all this without one single human being having been informed about our need." Read the entire article on living by faith
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