Few men have impacted the world as George Müller of Bristol did. He was counted as a main inspiration for legendary contemporaries like C.T. Studd and Hudson Taylor. His witness was even the sole inspiration for the 1859 revival in Ireland, which itself was a large inspiration for the famous 1904 Great Revival in Wales.
He lived a long life and before he died, he would care for over 10,000 orphans, print and distribute nearly 2 million bibles, distribute over 3 million tracks and Christian books, support 115 missionaries, pay for the schooling of 81,000 kids, and create home Sunday-schools which nearly 33,000 children attended. He paid for all this by raising over $150 million (in today’s dollars).
But none of this was what George considered his primary ministry. His main goal was to make his life a witness to “a prayer-hearing God.” He did this by relentlessly praying for every need, no matter how minute or gigantic, and recording God’s answers to those prayers as they happened. In fact, he never actually raised a dime of that 150 million dollars by asking for it like regular fundraisers. All of it was miraculously given to him by donors in answer to prayers. He would then publish all the answers to prayer in regular reports for the public.
However, he had one exception to this process. He would not publish the report if the finances in the report made certain needs clear. He would wait until all financial needs were met until publishing so that no one would give in response to the report itself.
He went to such great lengths to make sure God got glory for these answered prayers that if there was a particularly big need, he wouldn’t even tell his wife, lest she accidentally let slip the need to someone else. Even if someone came to him and told him they’d like to give to the ministry but they wanted to make sure their money was needed at that particular time, George would refuse to divulge if there were any needs and instead tell them to go pray and ask God whether they should give. He did this even in times when there was in fact imminent, dire need.
He once told his eventual biographer, Arthur Pierson, “Not once, or five times, or five hundred times, but thousands of times in these threescore years, have we had in hand not enough for one more meal, either in food or in funds; but not once has God failed us; not once have we or the orphans gone hungry or lacked any good thing.”
George recounted that often he’d be on his knees praying when the answer to that very prayer would show up.
Though he oversaw orphanages that housed over 2,000 orphans, George never once asked a single soul for money for them, but he did ask God unceasingly and God never once failed to answer.
Listen to this week’s episode to hear the detailed story of this man’s life.
- George was "a very bad boy" as Arthur Pierson described his childhood. He was a habitual liar, thief and drunkard by his teens, even though his father had arranged for him to study to be a minister in the German state church.
- George estimates that less than 1% of his 900 fellow students in his divinity school actually feared God, but it was at a house meeting while attending this school that George first encountered the living God and never looked back.
- He devoured scripture, reading through the Bible on average of three times per year throughout his 60 years of ministry.
- When George was in his 70's, he travelled the world preaching. He traversed the globe multiple times, traveling 200,000 miles over 17 years.
- His main message when preaching was that a Christian's first duty every day was to get happy with God. He himself preferred to stay in hotels while traveling so he could make sure to have uninterrupted communion with God through His Word and prayer.