A few years ago, I wrote an extended piece on the life of George Muller. I have used this piece in various settings, so many of you may have already seen it, but I wanted to post it again this week to expose it to a broader audience. In my life, I have never been so moved by the life of a historical figure as I was by George Muller. I will post another chapter of this paper each day this week. Let me know what you think! NOTE: If you are looking for a great biography about Muller, A.T. Pierson’s “George Muller of Bristol” is outstanding, and a key source in the preparation of this paper.
Day Five: To God Be The Glory
As seen above, George Muller was certainly a man of prayer, who took God at His Word and trusted Him for great things. One of the greatest by-products of this life of faith is the way in which God received all the glory and honor for all that was done in and through George Muller and the Scriptural Knowledge Institute. This was by no accident. Indeed, Muller set out to live a life that would cause all who saw it to praise God for His work here on earth. A.T. Pierson writes, “If he, a poor man, without asking anyone but God, could get means to carry on an orphan house, it would be seen that God is faithful still and still hears prayer.”
With each prayer request that was answered, and with each miracle that God worked, Muller was determined to not let the wonder people expressed center around him, but continued to point people back to His Provider God. Even the publishing of his annual reports and journals was a cause of great concern for George Muller. He did not want these reports to in any way be construed of his boasting in anything other than what God had done. To that end, Muller titled his journals “The Lord’s Dealings with George Muller” in an attempt to show that it was God who was the lead character and primary mover in his life. Muller even hesitated in even distributing his first copies of “The Lord’s Dealings” out of a fear that it might somehow turn the focus away from God and onto himself. In the end, however, Muller did release his journals, and we are so thankful that he did. In them, we see God work in powerful ways, and God gets the glory as a result.
When George Muller started his orphan work in England, there were only 3,600 orphans in orphanages in England. Due primarily to his orphan houses, and orphan houses that were inspired by the Lord’s dealings in Bristol, 100,000 orphans were being cared for in England just fifty years after Muller began the orphan houses on Ashley Down. To that end, God received great glory and honor as people saw his good works, and glorified their father in heaven.
The orphan houses at Ashley Down never bore Muller’s name. Instead they were referred to as simply, “The New Orphan House at Ashley Down” or other non-descript name. Muller insisted on this so that people would not think that George Muller had provided a home for these orphans. Instead, he wanted people to know that it was God who had provided the orphanage, and therefore God would receive the glory.
In the last annual report that Muller would issue before his death, he once again focused people on the great things God had done so that God would receive the glory and credit for all that had happened. Summarizing his life in ministry, Muller said, “The primary object I had in view in carrying on this work was 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 in Him.” Up to the end of his life, Muller remained focus on the glory of God, and set as his mission the task of helping others trust God to work His power in their lives. When great need is met with great faith and brought to a great God in prayer, God receives much praise when He answers that prayer.
When examining the life of George Muller and his practice and teaching on prayer, much can be said and much can be seen. Indeed this paper could be twenty times as long, and still yet scratch the surface of all the things which Muller saw God do in answer to prevailing prayer. However, what has been seen is the core of his teaching and practice of prayer. Namely, that people should recognize their needs and believe that God can work to meet that need, then bring the need before God in a specific request, and wait for His provision so that He receives the glory. A.T. Pierson said of the life of George Muller, “His one supreme aim was the glory of God; his one sole resort, believing prayer; his one trusted oracle, the inspired Word; and his one divine Teacher, the Holy Spirit.” Hopefully this paper has supported that central thesis.
In closing, at George Muller’s funeral, James Wright took the stage to provide some closure to the many eulogies and kind words that were said on George Muller’s behalf. Wright said, “He used often to say to me, when he opened a letter in which the writer poured out a tale of sore pecuniary need, and besought his help to an extent twice or three or ten times exceeding the sum total of his (Muller’s) earthly possessions at the moment, ‘Ah! These dear people entirely miss the lesson I am trying to teach them, for they come to me, instead of going to God.’ And if he could come back to us for an hour, and listen to an account of what his sincerely admiring, but mistaken, friends are proposing to do to perpetuate his memory, I can hear him, with a sigh, exclaiming, ‘Ah! These dear friends are entirely missing the lesson that I tried for seventy years to teach them. That a man can receive nothing except it be given him from above.’ And that, therefore, it is the Blessed Giver, and not the poor receiver, that is to be glorified.” As we conclude this brief survey of George Muller’s life, let us not merely marvel at this man’s faith. Let us rejoice at the object of His faith, and join his example in trusting God on our knees.
 Ibid, 124.
 Pierson, 79.
 Ibid, 129.
 Ibid, 274.
 Ibid, 205.
 Pierson, 291-292.
 Ibid, 212.
 Pierson, 292.