Ellie sat on the rough church bench clutching a small paperback book in her hands. Her brilliant white smile revealed her excitement as she spoke to me in Melanesian Pidgin, the trade language of Papua New Guinea. “This story strengthens my heart!” she exclaimed. The irony of her simple words silenced me for a few minutes. Ellie and I had just finished reading two chapters in a Pidgin biography of George Müller—a man who had been born two hundred years ago on the other side of her world but whose story was still living.
Most American believers know Müller only as the man who, through prayer, supported hundreds of orphans in England. But for many, his story dies there and is set on a shelf as admirable but impossible to replicate. As materialism engulfs our culture, believers increasingly look to their modern “stuff” to fulfill their needs. However, if we seriously look at Müller’s principles for living in complete dependence upon God, his stories of answered prayer will light a blazing fire of faith in our hearts, just like they did for Ellie.
George Müller grew up in Germany and was saved at the age of twenty; however, through the stories and encouragement of many missionary friends, he traveled to England at twenty-three to join the London Missionary Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews. Müller learned English and Hebrew and planned to go to Israel, but God closed all doors leaving England and began to teach Müller to seek direction daily by faith.
Over the years, Müller refused to receive a salary from the churches that he pastored and determined to discuss his needs with God only. As the orphanage ministries began, Müller also refused to go into debt or use money that had been appropriated for other needs. Through unusual sources and uncommon circumstances, God always supplied the answer to his prayers. And whatever was bestowed upon Müller personally, he faithfully gave it to God’s work. For over sixty years of ministry, he was merely God’s steward.
The story of this man of prayer is really only one out of millions that could be told. George Müller responded to others’ testimonies of God’s faithful provision and thus encourages hearts around the world. We in turn can respond and leave a legacy, for that is the power of the story of one.