Review of Answers to Prayer by George Mueller
“I prefer by far this life of almost constant trial if I am only able to roll all my cares upon my Heavenly Father, and thus become increasingly acquainted with Him.” –George Mueller
In 1836, George Mueller undertook to open an orphanage in Bristol provided for solely by prayer. Answers to Prayer is the chronicle of God’s faithfulness in this endeavor.
“The first and primary object of the 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 it may be seen, that God is faithful still, and hears prayers still.” While most of the world would label this foolish, Mueller knew that putting his faith in God was the most fool-proof way to provide for the orphans in his care. “They that trust in the Lord shall never be confounded!” asserted Mueller.
Mueller believed that “either we trust in God, and in that case we neither trust in ourselves, nor in our fellow men, nor in circumstances, nor in anything else besides; or we DO trust in one or more of these, and in that case do NOT trust in God.” In Mueller’s view, there was no “helping God out” by cleverly worded solicitations for donations or by going into debt. When there was not bread for the orphans’ tables, the only recourse was to kneel and pray. And without fail, the need was met.
Mueller knew that his pattern of faith was rare. But he also knew that it was biblical, and that the mountain-moving he experienced could be accessed by any believer who chose to believe God for His promises. Mueller was grieved to see believers bowed down with worry and care; he longed to demonstrate that God “does not forsake, even in our day, those who rely upon Him.”
Prayer is a practice of faith and was Mueller’s constant work. Though frequently seemingly without means to meet their daily needs, Mueller never lost his sense of peace. Total confidence in God’s goodness and provision kept his heart at rest, even when he didn’t know how he would feed the 2,100 orphans in his care that day. Mueller’s journals are a constant contrast of his great need and God’s great generosity. For months at a time, the ministry would operate on a day-to-day basis. Yet God was always faithful to provide their daily bread for 62 years until George Mueller went home to be with his Heavenly Father.
The Lord provided faithfully, but not in comfortable ways. “God’s ways lead always into trial, so far as sight and sense are concerned.” Trials are but means for strengthening our faith, according to Mueller, and thus we must embrace them and welcome the opportunity to see God at work on our behalf. “Truly, it is worth being poor and greatly tried in faith, for the sake of having day by day such precious proofs of the loving interest which our kind Father takes in everything that concerns us.”