George Müller of Bristol
by Arthur T. Pierson
Scripture Testimony Index stories in this book
The obvious need for befitting biography on George Müller after his demise became a definite subject of prayer for his son-in-law and successor, James Wright who could not immediately take on the project because of other responsibilities. James' prayer was answered when Arthur T. Pierson reached out to inform him that he had been led to write the memoir.
Hermann Ball's self-denying decision to abandon all else and choose Poland as a mission field left a deep impression on George Müller, who had backslidden and given up the work God was calling him to because of the passionate love he had for a young woman. By contrasting his decision with Hermann's, George Müller retraced his steps back to his Savior.
George Müller's resolve to follow God's leading against his father's best wishes and the fallout of that decision taught Müller the hard but important lesson of becoming independent of man by depending fully on God for his temporal needs.
Young George Müller was working as an itinerant evangelist when the congregation at Teignmouth asked him to be their minister. Some in the congregation supported him while others were wary of his religious zeal. The cautious ones won out and, while Müller was offered the position, it was without pay. George Müller was undaunted, trusting God to supply all his needs, which He did.
Mrs. Muller gave birth to a stillborn baby and she herself was seriously sick for six weeks. This was a watershed moment for George Müller, he did not have the means to cover the expenses required. All he could do was depend on God. Indeed, God answered him. This experience deeply affected him and his wife, leading them to live a life of complete dependence on God.
However pressing the need at hand, gifts to the work were not carelessly received by George Müller. The will of God was prayerfully sought before any suspicious gift was accepted.
On a trip to Bristol, God helped George Müller to see that a worker for God must first be a worker with God. He learned that nothing, not even the work of God must take the place of meditation and personal communion with Him.
When in Bristol, Mr. Craik's teaching of the Word was preferred to George Müller's, he did not become bitter or envious of his brother, but remained humble and content. Eventually, Müller would go on to have a much wider and deeper witness for Christ not only in Bristol but around the world.
Instead of being upset with his brother or the people who preferred Mr. Craik's teachings over his, Mr. Müller, after much introspection, committed himself to studying and prayer so he too could become a skilled workman in God's vineyard; one who needed not to be ashamed but one who could rightly divide God's word.
Through prayerful inquiry, Messrs. Müller and Craik were able to adjudge that it was not God's will for them to accept an invitation for mission work in Baghdad, even with their travel costs already covered. This decision to obey God was not regretted by both of them.
Just after the launch of the orphan houses, the obvious need for suitable helpers to join the work became apparent and knowing that only God could supply the best hands for His work, George Müller decided to wait on God and was answered even before he called on the Lord; as a brother and sister not only offered themselves and their possessions but were willing to join the work without pay.
Conscious of the scriptural injunction that all believers try as much as is within their power to be at peace with all men, George Müller gave up ownership of a building secured for a third orphan house after the neighbors opposed its use for such purpose. The Lord soon rewarded his faith by providing him with a more suitable building.
The urgent need at hand notwithstanding, George Müller stood his ground on talking to the Lord alone about the specific needs of the work even when asked to do so by a potential helper. George Müller's faith in God was rewarded when the very same man was led to donate a timely £100 gift even after Müller's refusal to divulge any need to him.
So timely was a sister's gift of her priced jeweleries to the orphan work that after it was used to meet a week's expenses and pay salaries that were due, a grateful George Müller used a diamond ring from the gifts to inscribe upon his window-pane the words: "JEHOVAH JIREH" -- a constant reminder that God will always provide.
At two different times in the autumn of 1841 when needs were most dire in the orphanages, the Lord used a poor woman and an anonymous donor to provide exactly what was needed to meet the feeding needs at the time.
In 1855, four children really sick children from five to nine years, all from one family were admitted into the orphanage in faith and properly cared for even though accepting them was not ideal for the orphanage. A few weeks on, these children who could have died became healthy again, to the glory of God.
George Müller's total dependence on God which made offering prayers to God his first and only resort in times of trouble and need is revealed in three wonderful stories where he cried and heaven responded remarkably.
In a remarkable answer to Mr. Müller's specific prayer, not only was the weather (which was blazing cold and unfriendly) suddenly warm and friendly for the kids when emergency repairs had to be carried out on the boiler of the heating equipment for one of the orphan houses, but the workers working to fix the problem volunteered to work overnight and delivered in about 30 hours.
Rather than giving in to hopeless despair upon the death of his beloved wife, George Müller used the opportunity to offer heartfelt thanksgiving to God for the life she lived and for her being delivered, just like she wanted; from earthly pain into the everlasting presence of her Savior.
George Müller committed the latter years of his life to travelling the world with the good news of Christ. From age 70 to 87, he traveled to 42 countries covering thousands of miles and reaching an estimated three million million people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 1874, over £44, 000 (now worth over £5million in 2022) was needed for the sustenance of the work under George Müller's care, but faced with this great challenge and the possibility of bankruptcy, he declared without wavering; "God, who has supported this work now for more than forty years, will still help and will not suffer me to be confounded, because I rely upon Him. I commit the whole work to Him, and He will provide me with what I need, in future also, though I know not whence the means are to come". And twenty four years since 1874, the work was still ongoing; even after Mr. Müller's demise.
It took 8 years, but George Müller finally could look back with certainty at the unfortunate loss of his beloved wife and say that indeed, “All things work together for good to them that love God”.
Mr. Wright's long-continued prayers for a partner to help with the work after George Müller's demise was answered when the Lord led him to George Frederic Bergin. When Wright spoke to George Frederic, he was delighted to find out that God had gone ahead of him to direct George to respond favorably to his appeal.
Having lived a life dedicated to obeying Jesus’ command to “Give and it shall be given unto you,” George Müller was able to prove the truth of God’s word as he gave and received bountifully.
Year after year, for over sixty years, George Müller committed his life to laying up treasures in heaven by giving up what he had and received for the work of Jesus; reserving for himself only what was needed to meet his most necessary needs. In his own words; “My aim never was, how much I could obtain, but rather how much I could give.”
In an attempt to prove the validity of the many claims to answered prayers published by George Müller, an unbelieving businessman decides to test and see for himself if God really was with Mr. Müller. Not only did the result of his test prove that God was with Mr. Müller, but God provided additional proofs.
When a very poor seamstress donated a hundred pounds to the orphan work out of the meagre amount she received as legacy from her grandmother's estate, George Müller asked to know why she made such a donation and her golden reply was: “The Lord Jesus has given His last drop of blood for me, and should I not give Him this hundred pounds?”
A sixty year old poor widow sold her house - her only possession and donated all of the proceeds to support the orphan work. All attempts, including one by George Müller, to dissuade her from giving away all of the money was rebuffed; her mind was made up to give God everything.
In obedience to God’s prompting, several people surrender valuable things in their lives for the sake of the orphans. For example, after surrendering to Christ, a physician sold a conservatory that had become an idol in his life. He sent the proceeds to George Müller as “the price of an idol, cast down by God’s power.” Another woman has a terrible experience that reminds one of the deceitful Annanias and Sapphira.
A brother gives away £5 pounds in fulfillment of his promise to God despite temptation from Satan to postpone fulfilling his pledge. And another sister fails to fully fulfill her promise to give all her kittens in support of the orphan work and suffers a sad loss.
Two stories show George Müller's insistence on vetting gifts before receiving them. However needy he or the work may have been, Müller trusted God to provide, and so was able to refuse gifts given improperly.
Martha Pinnell was an exceedingly stubborn and disobedient orphan girl under Mr. Müller's care, but all that changed when Martha came to know the Lord, from wielding a pernicious influence, she became not only humble but influential for good until her return to the Father.
Two stories reveal God's faithfulness in rewarding—with precious harvests—the labor of love and sacrifice put into training the orphans at Ashley Down in the way of the Lord, and in trusting Him.
Seeing and reading about George Müller's shining example of unwavering faith in God and Christ-like love for orphan children was all the encouragement Mr. Ishii in Tokyo Japan and another Christian in Nimwegen Holland needed to trust God and take up similar causes.
When a Christian in Borne was summoned before the Governor and ordered to stop the Christian meeting he had started, he declared boldly; "as I have a mouth to speak I shall speak for Christ... for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."
A ten year old boy is inspired by Mr. Müller's example to pray and trust that God will hear him like He hears George Müller. And through to his word he begins to seek God in faith, and just like Mr. Müller, he was helped by God.
Just by reading the many amazing stories of faith, trust in God and answers to prayers contained in George Müller's Narrative of the Lord's dealings with him, many Christians had their faith in God strengthened, some were encouraged to give to God, and even unbelievers were drawn to Him.
“There was a day when I died, utterly died—died to George Müller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will—died to the world, its approval or censure..." This was George Müller's powerful reply when asked what the secret of his great service to God and His people was.
For George Müller, nothing was too big or too small to be a subject of prayer. Fervently, he besought God, not only for men to give to the work but to know when to accept or not accept gifts—however large they maybe.
By being careful to follow God's leading instead of his own will, George Müller was able to purchase the parcel of land upon which his orphan houses stood for much less than the advertised price.
George Müller shares two wonderful examples of God's timely provision in answer to his prayers for the breakfast needs of the orphan kids under his care.
George Müller had a particular prayer request he brought before God every day that was still unanswered. Yet, twenty-nine years after he first brought this request to God, Mr. Müller writes about his unwavering faith and belief that God will eventually answer his prayer.
Mr. Cobb, a businessman from Boston, pledged to give incrementally to the work of God, and as the Lord blessed him, he did just as he promised without defaulting once. And as his end drew near, a grateful Cobb was thankful to God for the grace granted him to honor his pledge.
On his death-bed, a Boston businessman named Cobb, who had led a successful business and Christian life; counted all his earthly possessions and even loved ones as nothing compared to the glorious hope he had in Christ Jesus and his excitement at nearing heaven. His death was peaceful, yet triumphant.
In response to a sister's concern about the burden he carries as it relates to obtaining the needed supplies for the orphanages under his care, George Müller writes about how learning to cast his cares on God has freed him of all anxiety; given him the confidence that he will never be forsaken and so making him depend totally on God alone.