Do you have someone whose life inspires you? George Muller is one of those people for me.
George Muller lived in England in the 1800s. You see, he saw the needs of the orphaned children around him and knew he had to act. Step by step, he asked God to show him what to do, and he trusted God to bring the necessary resources for it to happen.
In The Autobiography of George Muller, we see how God works in George’s life, from his start as a preacher to the building and leading of an orphanage. Here are a few things about Muller that encourage me to turn to God more often and with a more trusting heart.
Trusting God to Meet His Needs
God had convicted Muller to never mention his need of funds to others. Instead, Muller believed that God would lay it on people’s hearts to give to him, either as a pastor or as the director of the orphanage. That meant he often lived each day and prayed for his “daily bread”–and that of the children’s.
On November 13, 1841, Muller wrote, “I took one shilling out of the box in my house. This shilling was all our money for today. More than a hundred people must be provided for, and this is not the case once in a while, but very frequently. It is infinitely precious to have the living God as a Father to go to for help.”
Listen to what he writes:
God’s timing is always perfect. Why did this money not come a few days sooner or later? Because the Lord wanted to help us by it, and He influenced the donor just then, not sooner or later, to send it. Surely, all who know the Lord must see His hand in this work. I do not mean to say that it would be acting against the precepts of the Lord to seek for help in His work by personal and individual requests to believers. But I operate the ministry this way for the benefit of the Church at large.George Muller
Truly trusting God for daily provisions is something many of us don’t have to worry about. Yet I wonder if there’s a way we can grow in this. Are there needs around us that we could help meet? Could we do with less so that others have what they need?
Prayer for Discernment and Insight
The Autobiography of George Muller is really his prayer journal. It gives us a glimpse into what he prayed, how he prayed, and how God answered.
Muller’s autobiography reveals the thought and discernment behind building an Orphan House rather than simply renting homes along the same street. Over several pages, he details reasons for moving from Wilson Street and reasons for staying there.
Plus, what instigated the thought behind moving wasn’t that God was directly leading George to move, but a letter he received from a gentleman who also lived on Wilson Street who, in a kind way, let Muller know that some of the residents in nearby homes were inconvenienced by the Orphan Houses there.
George’s humility and openness in considering the matter seriously speaks deeply to me. Instead of responding in a negative or unkind way, he set aside time to pray about it.
After I had spent a few hours in prayer and consideration over the subject, I began to see that the Lord was leading me to build. His intentions were to benefit the orphans and better order of the whole work. Furthermore, He wanted to show that He could and would provide large sums for those who need them and trust in Him for them.George Muller
Through his journal, Muller shows how long he prayed about building the Orphan House: “It is now four hundred days since I have been waiting upon God for help to build the Orphan House” (December 9, 1846). His patience and perseverance encourages me to pray just as faithfully and wait upon God rather than make things work on my own or to give up hope altogether.
In fact, George continues to bring the matter before God. “This is one of the biggest steps I have ever taken, and I cannot go about it with too much caution, prayerfulness, and deliberation. I am in no hurry. I could wait for years before taking one step toward this thing or speaking to anyone about it… I will continue, day by day, to wait on Him in prayer concerning this thing until He commands me to act” (December 26, 1850).
Seeking to Encourage Others
Yet Muller doesn’t focus solely on helping the orphans or those who work for him in the orphanage. He intentionally uses some of the funds raised to support missionaries who did not get regular support. “I have asked God to direct me especially to send support to those who might be in particular need. I also tried to share with them an encouraging word to strengthen their hearts in God” (January 25, 1847).
It wasn’t even “just” a financial gift, as helpful as that was; he took the time to write to them to offer support and encouragement. He knew what it was like to rely on God to meet his needs, and he wanted to come alongside these missionaries to uplift them.
Muller’s compassion for others and the way he seeks to encourage them, even as he tries to care for the orphans, is so inspiring to me. I tend to get so wrapped up in my own cares and concerns that seeing the needs of others can be challenging. Can you relate?
If you’ve not read The Autobiography of George Muller, I encourage you to do so.
May Muller’s persevering prayers, his reliance on God to meet his needs, and his compassion for others continue to encourage us to follow his example.