I love biographies of the heroes of faith. I was so encouraged to teach our children about George Mueller, a man of prayer. We have his biography on our book shelf. Please feel free to use this lesson to teach your children of Mueller, the man who had such faith, that when he prayed, he believed God would answer the impossible.
George Mueller is known for caring for over 10,024 orphans in his lifetime. When God put it into the heart of George Muller to build orphanages, he had only 50 cents in his pocket. A man of faith, without making his desires known to any man, but to God alone, over $7,000,000 were sent to him over the years for the building and maintaining of these orphan homes.
Among the greatest monuments of trusting the Lord to provide are the incredible orphanages covering thirteen acres in Bristol, England. The orphans were provided such a good education under George Mueller’s care, that he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of whom were orphans.
George Mueller was born in 1805 and grew up a rebellious child. He was a thief, liar, gambler and an immoral youth. His father unwisely entrusted his young sons with considerable amounts of money to teach them to acquire the habit of possessing cash without spending it. This back-fired! George devised numerous methods of using the money for himself without being detected. When he was 10, he started stealing government money from his dad who was a tax collector. At age 14, George Mueller was out drinking and gambling when his mother died. He was arrested for trying to defraud and imprisoned when he was only sixteen years old.
Mueller went to college and diligently studied to look good outwardly, but inwardly he was still rebellious. He penned, “But whilst I was outwardly gaining the esteem of my fellow-creatures, I did not care in the least about God, but lived secretly in much sin, in consequence of which I was taken ill, and for thirteen weeks confined to my room… I cared nothing about the Word of God.”
Mueller heard about a Bible Study from a recently saved friend and decided to attend. Mueller writes, “After a hymn was sung they fell upon their knees, and a brother, named Kayser, who afterwards became a missionary to Africa, asked God’s blessing on the meeting. This kneeling down made a deep impression upon me for I had never either seen any one on his knees, nor had I ever myself prayed on my knees.” The meeting impacted Muller’s life. “I was happy, though if I had been asked why I was happy, I could not clearly have explained it.” That Saturday night in mid-November, 1825, turned him around as Christ became his Saviour.
At age 20, the unstable heathen found the power of God to overcome his moral weaknesses and a transformed new life began. “That evening was the turning point in my life. I went again to the house of this brother, where I read the Scriptures with him and another brother; for it was too long for me to wait until Saturday came again. Now my life became very different… My wicked companions were given up; the going to taverns was discontinued; the habitual practice of telling falsehoods was no longer indulged in… I now no longer lived habitually in sin, though I was still often overcome…, and not without sorrow of heart. I read the Scriptures, prayed often, loved the brethren, went to church from right motives and stood on the side of Christ, though laughed at by my fellow students.”
The true believers at the University increased from six to about twenty in number before Muller left. They often met in Muller’s room to pray, sing and read the Bible. Mueller witnessed to his family, and gave away thousands of Gospel tracts, and spoke to many persons concerning the salvation of their souls. He preached his first sermon on August 27, 1826. During this time he lived for two months in the Orphan House in Germany built by August Hermann Francke, Professor of Divinity at Halle. Here, the seed of the idea of the orphanage was sown that was to come to fruition later in Bristol, England. George Mueller also became convinced of the necessity of believer’s baptism, and was rebaptized.
Romance entered George Mueller’s life. In January of 1830 he undertook a monthly preaching engagement lodging there with Mrs. Hake, an invalid. 24 year old Mueller found himself greatly attracted to the 29 year old housekeeper, Mary Groves. Nine months later, they were joined in marriage.
What sweet words George Mueller wrote about his wife. “Were we happy? Verily we were. With every year our happiness increased more and more. I never saw my beloved wife at any time, when I met her unexpectedly anywhere in Bristol, without being delighted so to do. I never met her even in the Orphan Houses, without my heart being delighted so to do. Day by day, as we met in our dressing room, at the Orphan Houses, to wash our hands before dinner and tea, I was delighted to meet her, and she was equally pleased to see me. Thousands of times I told her—“My darling, I never saw you at any time, since you became my wife, without my being delighted to see you.”
Tragedy strikes the Mueller home: On March 19, 1834, their son, Elijah, was born but he died the next year, from pneumonia, leaving the Muellers with only one child, Lydia. The summer of 1835 found Mueller himself in very poor health, slowing down his pace and giving him time to write The Narrative of the Lord’s Dealing with George Mueller. “To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.”
Three weeks after Mary and George’s marriage, being like minded, they made a decision of faith: We will depend upon God alone to provide all needs. They carried it to the extent that they would not give definite answers to inquiries as to whether or not they were in need of money at any particular moment.
“But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19
Miraculously, at the time of need, there would always seem to be funds available from some source. No matter how pressing was the need, George Mueller prayed, and either money or food always came in time to save the situation. “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”
For some time George Mueller had been thinking about starting an orphanage in Bristol. After five days of prayer, $300 came in and it seemed they might now have enough money to rent, equip and furnish a house. The other request was for Christian people to work with the children. His basic aim was to have a God pleasing work which pointed to as visible proof that God hears and answers prayer. His heart also went out to the many ragged children running wild in the streets, who were looked down upon by most citizens.
The work of Mueller and his wife with orphans began in 1836 with the preparation of their own home at 6 Wilson Street, Bristol, England for the accommodation of 30 girls. Soon after, three more houses were furnished and there were now 130 orphans. In 1845, as growth continued, Mueller decided that a separate building designed to house 300 children was necessary, an architect was appointed and Ashley Down in Bristol England was opened.
The author, Charles Dickens, heard a rumor that the orphans were being mistreated and came down from London unannounced to verify this. After being shown around, Dickens went back to London and wrote a wholesome report on the activities of the orphan houses in his publication “Household Words.”
Photo of girl’s uniforms in the Mueller House Museum.
Wonderful stories of God providing for the orphans are told: “One morning, the plates and cups and bowls on the table were empty. There was no food 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. George Muller noticed that as the numbers of orphans he was taking care of increased, the Lord’s provisions also increased. God always answered George Mueller’s prayers with just the right amount of food or money, never too much, never too little. And, no meal fed to the orphans was ever more than 30 minutes late.
No wonder, years later, when Mueller was to travel the world as an evangelist, he would be known as “the man who gets things from God!”
“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”
I thought I would share the schedule for the Orphans.
||Rise, finish washing and dressing, older children helping the younger
||Girls knitting, boys reading
||School (some older children first help to make beds etc. to 9:30)
||“useful work” – girls “at their needle”, boys in the garden
||Younger children to bed
||Older children to bed
Please join me in prayer: Lord, I desire abundant faith, so I will dare to trust You as George Mueller did for ‘great and mighty things’ (Jeremiah 33:3). I am believing You for the impossible! In Jesus Name, Amen!