Still Faithful: George Muller's Prayer-Hearing God
Author: Steve Burchett
The living, eternal Lord always came through for George Muller. He cared for over 10,000 orphans throughout his life in Bristol, England, but he made his needs known only to God. He believed God answered over 50,000 of his prayers. One of Muller’s hopes in trusting God this way and in meticulous record-keeping of answers to prayer was to strengthen the faith of other believers and to inspire them to more prayer. He explains this goal:
The experience of this happiness I desire for all my Christian readers. If you believed indeed in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of your soul, if you walk uprightly and do not regard iniquity in your heart, if you continue to wait patiently, and believingly upon God; then answers will surely be given to your prayers. You may not be called upon to serve the Lord in the way the writer does, and therefore may never have answers to prayer respecting such things as are recorded here; but, in your various circumstances, your family, your business, your profession, your church position, your labor for the Lord, etc., you may have answers as distinct as any here recorded.
One story Muller documented about a broken down boiler in the orphanage has strengthened the faith of believers for over a century:
It was towards the end of November of 1857, when I was most unexpectedly informed that the boiler of our heating apparatus at No. 1 leaked very considerably, so that it was impossible to go through the winter with such a leak…
The boiler is entirely surrounded by brickwork; its state, therefore, could not be known without taking down the brickwork; this, if needless, would be rather injurious to the boiler, than otherwise…
What then was to be done? For the children, especially the younger infants, I felt deeply concerned, that they might not suffer, through want of warmth. But how were we to obtain warmth? The introduction of the new boiler would, in all probability, take many weeks. The repairing of the boiler was a questionable matter, on account of the greatness of the leak; but, if not, nothing could be said of it, till the brick-chamber in which it is enclosed, was, at least in part, removed; but that would, at least, as far as we could judge, take days; and what was to be done in the meantime, to find warm rooms for 300 children?
There were no reasonable alternative means of heating. Now what?
At last I determined on falling entirely into the hands of God, who is very merciful and of tender compassion, and I decided on having the brick-chamber opened, to see the extent of the damage, and whether the boiler might be repaired, so as to carry us through the winter.
The day was fixed, when the workmen were to come… The fire, of course, had to be let out while the repairs were going on… After the day was fixed for the repairs a bleak North wind set in. It began to blow either on Thursday or Friday before the Wednesday afternoon, when the fire was to be let out. Now came the first really cold weather, which we had in the beginning of that winter, during the first days of December. What was to be done? The repairs could not be put off. I now asked the Lord for two things, viz., that He would be pleased to change the north wind into a south wind, and that He would give the workmen ‘a mind to work’; for I remembered how much Nehemiah accomplished in 52 days, whilst building the walls of Jerusalem, because ‘the people had a mind to work.’ Well, the memorable day came. The evening before, the bleak north wind blew still; but, on Wednesday, the south wind blew: exactly as I had prayed. The weather was so mild that no fire was needed. The brickwork is removed, the leak is found out very soon, the boiler makers begin to repair in good earnest.
That evening, a boss of the workers arrived to see how the work was progressing and to potentially speed it along. Amazingly, the workers decided to work through the night.
Then remembered I the second part of my prayer, that God would give the men ‘a mind to work.’ Thus it was: by the morning the repair was accomplished, the leak was stopped, though with great difficulty, and within about 30 hours the brickwork was up again, and the fire in the boiler; and all the time the south wind blew so mildly, that there was not the least need of a fire.
Here, then, is one of our difficulties which was overcome by prayer and faith.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” (Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28)
All quotes (in italics) are taken from George Mueller: Answers to Prayer (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2007).