Arranged from the book, THE LIFE OF TRUST, by George Müller (1805-1898)*


George Müller’s exemplary life of faith and prayer cannot be credited to a Christian upbringing. Born in 1805 in Prussia, his childhood and early teens were devoid of Christian training and influence. He had no Bible to read. His father gave to him and his brother considerable money for their age, which allowed them to indulge in sinful habits. After a time, however, the youthful George settled down to earnest study and eventually came to master six languages, including Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

His father encouraged him to become a minister, as that would provide a good living, and his father could live with him comfortably upon retirement. And so young George entered divinity school. Even though a divinity student, he had no knowledge of what salvation meant. Though he continued in sinful living, the desire of his heart was to reform, but his repeated efforts to do so ended in dismal failure.

Turning Point

 


When about twenty years old, George Müller was invited to the home of a true Christian for a Saturday night prayer meeting. The meeting consisted of Bible reading, prayer and the reading of a printed sermon. Being deeply impressed, he went home with joy in his heart. God had begun a work of grace in his heart and this was a turning point in his life. Although not all sinful habits dropped off at once, his life was different. He began to read the Bible and to pray. Sinful companions were given up, and he now loved Christian fellowship and sought it out whenever possible. Now and then he walked ten or fifteen miles to hear a godly preacher. His fellow divinity students ridiculed him. When he wrote to his father and brother about his newfound joy, his father angrily objected.

New light and help came to the young Christian when a professor who was a true believer, Dr. Tholuck, came to the divinity school. George also met with some other believing students who held a service each Lord’s Day evening. The desire grew in his heart to live wholly for God, and he began in earnest to prepare himself for the Lord’s service and to pray concerning God’s will for his life.

With the encouragement of godly Dr. Tholuck, he made application to go as a missionary to the Jews. He was asked to come to London for a six-month probation period of study. His father agreed that he might go, but there was a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Young men in Prussia were to serve for a time in the army. Only after being examined by a physician and declared physically unfit was an exemption granted, enabling him to set out for missionary training.

After arriving in London and studying hard, the zealous student’s health became so bad that it appeared he might not even live. Praying consistently for the Lord’s will, he began to recover. Spending time in the country aided his recuperation. Coming under the teaching of a godly brother there, he began to understand that it was vital to rely more on the Holy Spirit for guidance, particularly in preparing for preaching. Laying aside commentaries and all other books, he spent time reading and studying the Word of God alone.

George Müller wrote: "The result of this was that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was that I received real strength for my soul in doing so…."

Returning with new vigor to London to take up his studies again, he suggested to fellow students that they meet in the mornings from six to eight for prayer and reading the Scriptures and sharing what the Lord seemed to be showing them. Several times after evening devotions, he "found communion with God so sweet" that he prayed until midnight, and then went to the room of a brother for another hour or two of prayer. Being almost too full of joy to sleep, he nevertheless was up at six o’clock for prayer with fellow students.

Again the earnest student’s health began to fail, and he felt he should spend no more time in study but get on with service for the Lord. Ministry opened to him among Jewish people in London, but the missionary society released him from the obligation to serve with them in order to be free to serve as God might lead.

Learning to Wait on God

Not long after leaving school, George Müller was asked to become pastor of a chapel in Teignmouth. The young pastor soon came to realize that he did not know what texts were best for the congregation. This started him going to the Lord in prayer for the text to use. Sometimes he was on his knees for some time before a suitable text came to mind. When nothing was recalled to his mind, he learned to calmly read on in the Scriptures where he was reading daily until a text was quickened to him. There were also times when he had to go into the chapel services without a text, but the Lord was always faithful to provide one before he preached if he had been faithful in seeking His guidance in prayer.

Mr. Müller’s regular practice was to meditate on the text or passage selected, with pen in hand, writing down the outline that came to him. He seldom used any other help to understand the Scripture except other good translations in other languages. His great dependence was on prayer. Then he went into the pulpit, relying on the Lord to bring to his mind what he had meditated on and sometimes adding to it as he preached. Most of his preaching was expository preaching of the Scriptures. It is said that those who sat under his preaching became strong and learned in the Scriptures beyond most believers. (To be continued.)

*George Müller’s Life Of Trust (Part 1)  Early Lessons In Trusting God
Arranged from the book, THE LIFE OF TRUST, by George Müller (1805-1898)
from Herald of His Coming, used by permission:
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