A while ago, I read a book about a fascinating, godly man named George Muller.
George Muller lived in England in the 1830’s during a time of mass poverty. This is the period portrayed in Charles Dickens novels like The Adventures of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. With virtually no money, Muller decided to start an orphanage, but he also vowed to make the orphanage a “visible proof” of the faithfulness of God: under no circumstance would he ever make known the orphanage’s needs, whether financial or otherwise. He would only make these needs known to God through prayer.
Muller took the Son of God quite literally at his word when he said:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
In his journals, he careful documented “thirty thousand answers to prayer, either in the same hour or the same day that the requests were made.”
When a man like Muller speaks about prayer, I listen.
Below are 4 key points from a sermon he gave on Matthew 7:7-8 and answered prayer:
#1 – Our request must be according to God’s will.
[Jesus said,] Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,” Matthew 6:9-10
#2 – We must not ask on the account of our own goodness or merit, but in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14
Here, Muller also reminds his congregation (referring to Psalm 66:18), if he cherished any sin in his heart, “I may not expect my prayers to be answered”
#3 – We must exercise faith in God’s power and willingness to answer our prayers.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
#4 – We have to continue praying and patiently waiting on God till the blessing we seek is granted.
Muller says, “Ask and you will receive” is a positive promise, but it says nothing about time. God knows beforehand what our needs are (Matt. 6:8); he wants us to prove that we have confidence in Him.
Muller gives 3 reasons why prayer may not be answered at once:
To exercise and strengthen our faith.
To glorify God through our patience.
Our heart may not yet be prepared for the answer to our prayer.
“The great fault of the children of God is, they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere. If they desire anything from God’s glory, they should pray until they get it,” Muller says.
Here, Muller shares about praying for certain people’s conversions for many years, reminding his congregation of 2 Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Muller says, “If I say that during the fifty-four years and nine months that I have been a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I have had thirty thousand answers to prayer, either in the same hour or the same day that the requests were made… But one or the other might suppose all my prayers were this promptly answered. No; not all of them. Sometimes I have had to wait weeks, months or even years; sometimes many years.”
By the time of his death, Muller had built not one, but five large orphanages, allowing him to change the lives of thousands of the poorest of the poor children of England.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Source: George Muller: Delighted in God by Roger Steer