Reading Biographies: George Mueller
By: Gavin Peacock
The Lord’s instructions are simple. You pray to me and ask. I will supply you with what you need to bring you through. You will praise me. The part we play is to ask for and receive help. The part God plays is to provide in response and receive our praise. The provider gets the praise the receivers get the reward of God’s help.
George Mueller’s life (1805-1898) is a testimony of a man who lived out this text from the beginning to the end of his ministry. His ministry as a preacher extended to serving, loving and teaching over ten thousand orphans with no money or resources apart from the inexhaustible treasury and supply of a Heavenly Father. His ministry spread to the nations in missionary work beginning in his 70’s.
This week I’m recommending A T Pierson’s biography on George Mueller. Pierson knew Mueller personally and he skillfully discerns the biblical principles by which he lived. The book is called “George Mueller of Bristol; His life of Prayer and Faith”. Prayer as the outward expression of inner faith in God is what marked George Mueller.
4 lessons from Mueller for prayer:
- Mueller had a high view of the sovereignty of God so every day his great aim was to get happy in God. One preacher has said that there is prayer with your boots on and prayer with your boots off. Boots-on prayer is workmanlike intercession and supplication for the things promised in scripture. Boots-off prayer is simply seeking pleasure in God for Himself and what he has done in Christ for us; to enjoy him and trust him. We need to get alone with God and happy in God every day! (314-15)
- Mueller sought every supply from God. Because of this high view of the character of a merciful, all-powerful and wise God, he went to him first for every need. Mueller said, “It is written in Job 36:7, ‘He hangeth the earth on nothing’- that is no visible support’”. He then says of his ministry, “It hangs upon no human patron, upon no endowment or funded property, but solely upon the good pleasure of the blessed God” (295). He patiently waited upon the Lord for help in any trial.
Nothing is impossible for God. Don’t judge by what you see. Sometimes we hear about God’s power and sovereignty and go straight out and live in the arm of the flesh. Why would you not go to him if all power and all things are his and he delights to give you what you need according to his Word?
- Mueller read the Bible on his knees. His prayerfulness manifested itself in the practice of reading the Scripture on his knees. The outward posture reflected the inner disposition. This he learned from George Whitefield’s life of desperate dependence upon God to give power to understand the Scriptures for his life and power to apply it to other lives in conversion (138-9). Only through meditative prayer can we grow in Christlike compassion and be used for powerful evangelism!
Note: More than any other books apart from the Bible, Mueller was influenced by three biographies - A. H. Francke, John Newton and George Whitefield; it’s good to read biographies!
- Mueller pleaded the promises of God in prayer. In the style of Abraham and Moses, Mueller built holy arguments in prayer. At one time of great need he piled up eleven reasons from God’s own mouth why he should and would send help (148). Learn how to pray like this!
A T Pierson says, Mueller’s “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.” (212)
George Mueller died in 1898 having led a prayer meeting the night before. How apt for the man! It was Ps. 50:15. Calling upon God to the end. Delivered through this life into eternal bliss. Glorifying God forever.
George Mueller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith, A. T. Pierson, (Kregel, 1999)