What is meant by the prayer of faith? What is the significance of the passages in the Old and New Testaments which refer to it? Were these promises limited to Bible times or have they been left to us as a legacy until Jesus returns?
These questions attract a great deal of attention among believers. The thoughtful Christian who reads any of the wonderful promises in Scripture often pauses to ask himself, "What can these words mean? Can it be that God has made these promises to me? Do I really have permission to commit all my little concerns to a God of infinite wisdom, believing that He will take charge of them and direct them according to His boundless love and absolute omniscience? Is prayer really a transcendent power which accomplishes what no other power can, overruling all other agencies and rendering them subservient to its own wonderful effectiveness? If this is true, then why shouldn't I always draw near to God in full confidence that He will do as He has said?"
A most remarkable instance of the effectiveness of prayer is recorded in this book. A young German Christian named George Muller answered -a call from the Lord to help the poor children of Bristol in England. He preached the gospel to a small company of believers from whom, at his own suggestion, he received no salary. His only support was the voluntary offerings of his brethren. In answer to prayer, funds were received as needed.
After a few years, God called him to establish a house for the care and education of orphans. He was drawn to this work, not only from motives of benevolence, but from a desire to convince men that God does answer prayer.
Mr. Muller began this work in such a manner that aid could not be expected from anyone but God. He did not, of course, expect God to create gold and silver and put, them into his hands. He knew that God could incline the hearts of men to aid him, and he believed that if the work was of Him, He would meet every need. Thus, in childlike simplicity, he looked to God, and all that he needed was furnished as punctually as if he were a millionaire drawing regularly on his bank account.
George Muller was a slender man, standing six feet tall in his boots. His dark brown eyes twinkled with a benevolent expression as he talked. He dressed in black, except for a white necktie fastened with a plain pin in front. His jet black hair was coarse and carefully combed in place. Whether in the pulpit or on the street, his entire appearance was a perfect model of nearness and order.
He mastered six languages-Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, French, and English. He read and understood Dutch and two or three Oriental languages. His library consisted of a Hebrew Bible, three Greek Testaments, a Greek concordance and lexicon, with a half dozen different versions of the Bible and copies of the best translations in several languages.. These constituted his entire library!
When he preached, he would read a whole chapter or part of one and then proceed to draw out rich treasures that made it worth crossing the ocean to hear. His method of preaching caused the members of his congregation to become mighty in the Scriptures. They were better qualified to guide inquiring souls to Christ than many young ministers who had spent three years in a theological seminary.
Most men would consider such an extensive ministry as his to be a reasonable excuse for cutting short their prayer and study time. Not so with Mr. Muller. In his prayer closet, alone with God and the Bible, he would gird up the loins of his mind and burnish his armor for the battles of the day. With absolute confidence and childlike simplicity, he believed every Word that God had spoken. He eagerly returned to God's Word several times each day as though he was in constant communication with heaven, receiving fresh letters of instruction and precious promises from his heavenly Father.
Muller never studied the Bible for others. He studied only for himself to find out what His Father required of him. He became so impregnated with God's truth that, when he spoke of God, his listeners would be reminded of the words of our Savior in John 7:38, for from him seemed to flow "rivers of living water."
His prayers were offered in simple language with a humble and fervent spirit. Because he knew his Father was so rich, benevolent, and forgiving, he was free to ask for and obtain great blessings. But the most remarkable feature about, his prayer was that he asked for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. To glorify Christ and magnify His name above every name seemed to be the all-pervading theme that filled his heart and life.
The amount of labor Mr. Muller performed is amazing to us today. The almost endless variety would be more than most other men could bear. Yet, he was always calm, peaceful, and in a prayerful frame of mind, casting all his cares upon the Lord.
It was George Muller's greatest hope that his record of God's faithfulness to him would encourage believers to develop faith like his own-the faith without which it is impossible to please God; the faith that works by love and purifies the heart; the faith that removes mountains of obstacles out of our path; the faith that takes hold of God's strength and is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. May this faith fill the hearts and lives of those who read this book.