This man, without a doubt, was one of the most significant men of the 19th century. He was known as “God’s Millionaire” or “the 19th century Apostle” with good reason. When on March 10, 1898 he closed his eyes to this world forever, he had in his lifetime prayed for roughly 23 million dollars for the construction of orphanages, support for the orphans, distribution of Bibles and tracts, support for missionaries, and the maintenance of schools. In his simple, childlike faith, he had received all he asked for from his heavenly Father.
When considering such a huge accomplishment, the question arises: “What prepared this man for such an enormous task?” Perhaps he was the son or the grandson of a devoutly religious preacher or man of prayer. Oddly enough, this assumption would be completely erroneous. Up until his twentieth year, he was living a sinful and wicked life. One day, he was invited to a Bible study which was held in the home of a businessman, where, to his great amazement, people knelt in prayer and openly prayed from the heart. This made such an impression on him that without delay he also started to pray. He did not rest until he had the assurance of God’s acceptance and the forgiveness of his sins.
After his conversion, George Mueller had one goal: to consecrate his life to the service of his Lord. He studied theology and traveled to England in 1826 as a missionary to the Jewish people. Soon thereafter, he preached the Word, serving in a small church. Since it was problematic in 1830 for this little flock to provide a regular wage for him, he proposed to rely solely on his Lord to provide for his daily bread. During this time, he often encountered people who had to work 14 to 16 hour days and naturally could not muster enough desire and energy at the end of their shift to study God’s Word and strengthen themselves in prayer.
When he admonished these people to work less, trust God more, and care for the needs of their souls, they would often reply: “What does prayer help? If we don’t work, we have no food.” That always cut into George’s heart, and he wrestled prayerfully with thoughts of how he could prove to these people that the Scripture still rings true: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
The result was that George founded “The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad.” Shortly thereafter, his orphanage venture followed. It must be noted that Mueller strived to glorify God, the One who answers prayers, above all. To prevent anyone from saying that he might secretly rely on wealthy friends or donors, he determined to never apply to any charity for monetary support. He also decided not to share the status of his bank account. He resolved to completely and totally trust in God!
How did God respond? He revealed Himself to the prayers of His faithful servant. George received donations amounting anywhere from 2 cents to 188,000 dollars. He was as thankful for the first amount as for the latter. At times, his bank account accumulated tens of thousands, while there were other times when he didn’t know at the beginning of the day where he would find money to pay for the midday meal. However, there was never a time when his children gathered for a meal and he had nothing to give them. God always provided His help at exactly the right time!
We must marvel when we try to visualize how Mueller managed this project for 64 years and eventually housed 2000 boys and girls in five orphanages, for which he daily needed 1411 dollars to operate. The question arises: how was it possible that this man did not buckle under such a load or despair or lose faith?
The answer is simple: he believed the Holy Scriptures and was a prayer warrior. His Bible was his textbook for every step of his life. In his later years, he read through the entire Bible four times a year. In total, he read the Bible one hundred and fifty times, from cover to cover. To him, every promise was a divine affirmation, the directions to the unfathomable treasures of his heavenly Father. Did he ever expect more than God could give him? No, never! God’s riches are inexhaustible!
The second source of power for George Mueller was his devout prayer life. Before meeting anyone in the morning, he spent an hour or two in prayer with his Lord. He usually read a few verses of the Holy Scriptures, thought about them for a while, and then fell on his knees to let the full truth from God make its imprint on his soul. Then he arose, continued reading, then prayed again and again. And then, when he stepped from his room, he was prepared for whatever the day would offer, having been equipped from God’s storehouse. One should not think, though, that when Mueller brought a petition to the Lord one day, the answer would follow the next day. Oh no! There were concerns that he continually brought to the Lord for fifty long years. And then finally, they were answered!
Isn’t Mueller’s prayer life like the voice of a mighty prophet calling into our unbelieving time: “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2)? In the face of these facts, no one may claim, “Prayer doesn’t help!” We should answer to that, “Go to Bristol and see! Just go and see that unwavering prayer is capable, not only of a lot but of everything!”
Dear reader, why don’t you try it? If your sins, or the worries of everyday life, are weighing heavily on you, why don’t you just simply carry them to the Lord and heavenly Father? Count on Jesus and the entire supply of His promises. Do not cease to pray, and soon you will be able to see and experience for yourself that God still answers prayers today. He will answer yours!
As simple and plain as his life was, so also was the end of George Mueller’s life. Even at the age of 93, the entire responsibility and administration rested on his shoulders. His mail exchange was so vast that he needed seven people to assist him in this capacity. Along with that, he occasionally held services at his advanced age. Even on the last evening of his earthly existence, he still led a prayer service. Afterwards, without any exceptional afflictions, he went to bed as usual. The next morning, as his housekeeper knocked at his door to bring his usual 7:00 a.m. cup of tea, there was no answer.
Additional help was called, and together they found the faithful servant of God dead, lying beside his bed. The doctor determined that his death had occurred about an hour earlier. His heart had finally given up.
Tens of thousands gathered for his funeral, coming from all corners of the country. One thousand four hundred orphans grieved their beloved “father” as they formed the procession behind his casket.
Although God called this willing and useful brother home to his final reward, He has remained the same, unchangeable God. Dear reader, what hinders you from becoming a follower of Jesus Christ and a prayer warrior like George Mueller? You can start a prayer life as well.
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