One person who has encouraged many people in prayer – while confusing many others! – is George Mueller, a Christian evangelist and the director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England.
He cared for more than 10,000 orphans during his life.
Many people have been confused by George Mueller’s great answers to prayer.
In one well-known story, all the orphans are sitting down, hundreds of them, and there is no food. So they all pray.
Meanwhile, a bakery truck breaks down in front of the orphanage, and they bring the bread inside because it is going to spoil. It’s a great answer to prayer.
In another story, Mueller is talking to the captain of the ship as they are coming into the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River.
As they move into the river, it becomes foggy, and the captain stops the ship because he’s unable to navigate without visibility. Mueller is going to be late for his speaking engagement.
I would have said, “I’m going to be late!” But Mueller isn’t content to say that. Instead, he urges the captain to start the engine and the captain says, “No way!” So Mueller goes inside to pray, and when they come out, the fog is lifted.
These wonderful answers to prayer are what fascinates us about George Mueller.
But these amazing answers aren’t what made him a great man.
The greatness of George Mueller is that he knew how to get up in the morning and pray. His whole motivation in getting up was to glorify his Father. He delighted in his Father.
And that’s what we can learn from him – not how to get impressive results, but to learn how to enjoy God.
Mueller himself identified two things that had to happen in his life before he could really delight in God in the midst of warfare –
- He realized that he had to die to what George Mueller thought about George Mueller. We really can’t live for God’s glory or enjoy fellowship with him if we are always thinking about what we thought of ourselves.
- The second thing that had to happen was that he had to die to what other people thought about George Mueller. We have to put away our reputation, living before God rather than living for the approval of other people.
Here’s what I want to challenge you to do. Ask some people you know and trust to pray these two things for you. Ask them to pray that you would die to what you think about yourself and that you’d die to what others think about you.
As that begins to happen, you’ll discover the joy of fellowship with the Giver of all good gifts.