When my daughter was five, she was in a group at church called “Kids on a Mission.”
It was a wonderful program for elementary aged children that taught them the value of serving others. They met on Wednesday night and, along with the leaders, spent the year learning about Christian heroes of the faith, (among other things, like playing games, dancing, and doing acts of service in the community once a month).
I joined as a leader and was (like other leaders) given the task of teaching about George Mueller. At that time, I had never heard of him and started doing research. Afterwards I was amazed that he was not more widely known.
The man was amazing. If the Bible has been written in his lifetime, he surely would surely made it into the Hebrews Hall of Fame. He was a titan of faith. And in the remaining minutes I will explain why.
George Mueller was born Kroppenstadt, Prussia (now Germany) in 1804. His father, a tax-collector, wanted George to become a Lutheran Minister so that he could make a lot of money to take care of him in his old age. George did what his father wanted but spent his childhood and teenage years stealing money (sometimes from him father) and getting into lots of mischief. At 14, when he was out playing cards, his mom died. The older he got the worse he got. He spent years cheating people out of money (he even went to jail for it). And even though he was training to be a minister, and was even confirmed, he had no relationship with God. He was lost.
All that changed when he was 20 and his friend took him to a to a Christian home meeting. He give his life to Christ at the meeting and never went back to his old cheating ways.
Fast forward many years later, past the time he lived in an orphanage for a few months while tutoring American ministry students, past the time when he moved to London, got married, and past May 25, 1832 when he and his wife moved to Bristol and founded “The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad.”
Go all the way to December 9, 1835. The day where he held a meeting when he presented the idea he had been thinking about since his days as a divinity student. To open an orphanage for the street orphans and those children whose parents were in debtor’s prison.
Interestingly his main reason for opening it was not really for the children. This is because, as he said, “My heart’s desire was certainly to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children, bereaved of both parents, and seek in other respects, with the help of God, to do them good for this life…. but still the first and primary object of this work was, and still is, that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without anyone being asked by me or my fellow laborers whereby may be seen, that God is faithful still.”
His plan worked because on April 11, 1836 he opened the first orphanage with 26 kids and the entire time the orphanage was open, he paid for everything with money he received not by asking for it but only through asking God through prayer. Everything (including volunteers) came through prayer. And he recorded every single prayer in a journal along with its answer…to build of the faith of Christians far and wide.
Here is one example of how God provided for every need through prayer.
One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were
empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy
food. The children were standing waiting for their morning
meal, when Mueller said, “Children, you know we must be in
time for school.” Lifting his hand he said, “Dear Father,
we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.”
There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and
said, “Mr. Mueller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow, I
felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted
me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some
fresh bread and have brought it.” Mueller thanked the man.
No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock
at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his
milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage,
and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh
milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it.
By the end of his life (at 92) George Mueller helped a total of 10,023 orphans He also said that he received around 50,000 specific answers to prayer.
George Mueller is a great example that we can always be confident when we pray that God hears us and gives us everything we need when we need it.