Lessons in Prayer from George Muller

George Müller (1805-1898) is regarded as one of the most remarkable Christians in the church’s history because he fully lived by faith.  His life story has inspired many believers to greater heights of faith and more faithfulness in prayer. He lived during the nineteenth century in Bristol, England. Besides pastoring a large church, he led four far-reaching, influential ministries. Today, people know him best for one of those —his orphanages. In a time when most orphans in England lived in miserable workhouses or on the streets (like in Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist), Müller would house, feed, clothe, and educate them. Müller cared for as many as 2,000 orphans at a time through his orphanages—more than 10,000 in his lifetime. Yet he never talked about the needs of any of his ministries, even when asked.  He committed to going to God only in prayer. Only through his annual reports would people learn after the fact what the needs had been during the previous year and how the Lord had provided.

He recorded over 50,000 specific answers to prayer in his journals, 30,000 of which he said God answered the same day or the same hour that he prayed them. That’s an average of 500 definite answers to prayer each year—more than one per day—every day for sixty years! God entrusted Müller with over half a billion dollars (in today’s money) in answer to prayer.

How did George Müller pray? He said that for the first 10 years of what he called his “life of faith,” he often struggled to get into the spirit of prayer. Like us, he often didn’t not feel like praying and couldn’t focus for long.  Then something changed.  He described it in his own words:  “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 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.”

What made the difference?  He started praying through the Word of God.  He would read or recite a passage of Scripture as he knelt, sat or walked outside.  It kept his mind and heart focused on God.  He was reminded of God’s promises which strengthened and increased His faith.  He listened as God spoke to Him through Scripture.  He based His speaking back to God on that same Scripture.

Clearly God had a special purpose for him.  His plan for us might be different.  Praying Scripture is not a guarantee to get God to do whatever we want, but it is a good way to strengthen our faith connection and deepen our communication with Him.  Have you been trying it?  Like the ad says, “Try it.  you’ll like it!”

Matthew 7:7 ”Ask, and it will be given to you seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Have you been praying Scripture to God this past week?  If so, continue what you have been doing.  If not, try it with Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-14.


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