Might you be growing weary or discouraged in some earnest prayer request you’ve been lifting up to the Lord for quite some time, perhaps even a very long time? If so, here’s some timely encouragement from the remarkable example of George Muller, a man mighty in faith and prayer.
Muller is best known for the large faith-based orphan ministry he carried out in Bristol, England, in the nineteenth century. He was also a diligent, disciplined man of prayer. He kept an ongoing prayer notebook in which he recorded his requests on one page and the answer to each of those petitions on the facing page. By this means he persevered in praying till he received answers to thousands of specific requests.
Once while ministering in Dusseldorf, Germany, Muller was approached by a missionary to that city who was distressed because his six sons remained unconverted, though he had been praying for them many years. To the father’s query about what he should do Muller responded, “Continue to pray for your sons, and expect an answer to your prayer, and you will have to praise God.”
Six years later, in August of 1882, Muller again returned to minister in Dusseldorf. This time he was delighted to be greeted by the same missionary who testified that he had resolved to follow Muller’s advice and had given himself more earnestly to prayer for the spiritual well-being of his sons. The happy results were that two months after Muller had left in 1876, five of the man’s sons had come to faith in Christ and the sixth was now also thinking seriously about making that commitment.
Muller himself interceded for more than half a century for the salvation of a small group of men. He once wrote: “In November, 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land or on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two.
“These two remain unconverted. The man to whom God in the riches of His grace has given tens of thousands of answers to prayer in the self-same hour or day in which they were offered has been praying day by day for nearly thirty-six years for the conversion of these individuals, and yet they remain unconverted. But I hope in God, I pray on, and look yet for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.”
Those two men, sons of a friend of Muller’s youth, were still unconverted when he died in 1897, after having prayed daily for their salvation for fifty-two years. His prayers were answered, however, when both those men came to faith in Christ a few years after the great intercessor’s death.
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You will find many other examples of George Muller’s outstanding faith and prayer in my book Timeless Stories: God’s Incredible Work in the Lives of Inspiring Christians (Christian Focus, 2010). Roger Steer has written an excellent full-length biography on Muller entitled George Muller: Delighted in God! (Christian Focus, 2015). Copyright 2020 by Vance E. Christie