Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering it over and applying it to our hearts.
Faith is the assurance that the thing which God has said in His word is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in his word… Faith is not a matter of impressions, nor of probabilities, nor of appearances.
There was a day when I died, utterly died, died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the world, its approval or censure, died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends, and since then I have studied to show myself approved unto God.
Christians do not practically remember that while we are saved by grace, altogether by grace, so that in the matter of salvation works are altogether excluded; yet that so far as the rewards of grace are concerned, in the world to come, there is an intimate connection between the life of the Christian here and the enjoyment and the glory in the day of Christ’s appearing.
God delights to increase the faith of His children. We ought, instead of wanting no trials before victory, no exercise for patience, to be willing to take them from God’s hands as a means. Trials, obstacles, difficulties and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith.
It often astonishes me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God – not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts.
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished… I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it.
The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.
The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.
Six Steps to Knowing God’s Will:
1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If I do so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
3. I see the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Spirit guides us at all, He will do so according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
6. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of His Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge; and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving more important issues, I have found this method always effective.
We are never losers from doing the will of the Lord.
The Christian should never worry about tomorrow or give sparingly because of a possible future need. Only the present moment is ours to serve the Lord, and tomorrow may never come. Money is really worth no more than as it can be used to accomplish the Lord’s work. Life is worth as much as it is spent for the Lord’s service.
I live in the spirit of prayer; I pray as I walk, when I lie down and when I rise, and the answers are always coming.
It is not possible to live in sin, and at the same time, by communion with God, draw down from heaven everything one needs for this life.
For more than half a century, I have never known one day when I had not more business than I could get through. For 40 years, I have had annually about 30,000 letters, and most of these have passed through my own hands. I have nine assistants always at work corresponding in German, French, English, Danish, Italian, Russian, and other languages. Then, as pastor of a church with 1200 believers, great has been my care. I have had charge of five orphanages; also at my publishing depot, the printing and circulation of millions of tracts, books, and Bibles. But I have always made it a rule never to begin work till I have had a good season with God.
It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer; and further we have not only to continue in prayer unto the end, but we have also to believe that God does hear us, and will answer our prayers. Most frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained, and in not expecting the blessing.
Our heavenly Father never takes anything from his children unless he means to give them something better.
But according to my judgment, the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things, see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord! Other things may press upon you; the Lord’s work even, may have urgent claims upon your attention. But I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all other things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself. Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life.
The more we know of God, the happier we are… When we became a little acquainted with God…our true happiness…commenced; and the more we become acquainted with Him, the more truly happy we become. What will make us so exceedingly happy in heaven? It will be the fuller knowledge of God.
In what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How shall we obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in Him as shall enable us to let go the things this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, this happiness is to be obtained through the study of Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ.
When I do not understand a passage of the Word of God, I lift up my heart to the Lord that He would, by His Holy Spirit, instruct me. I expect to be taught, although I do not fix the time and the manner it should be.
Why do I carry on this business, or why am I engaged in this trade or profession? In most instances the answer would be, “I am engaged in my earthly calling so that I may support myself and my family.” Here is the chief error that causes almost all the other errors by children of God concerning their calling. To be engaged in a business merely to obtain the necessities of life for ourselves and family is not scriptural. We should work because it is the Lord’s will concerning us” (Eph. 4:28).
Fear of offending those who pay his salary has kept many ministers from preaching the uncompromising Word of God.
I have joyfully dedicated my whole life to the object of exemplifying how much may be accomplished by prayer and faith.
The moment someone begins to give for the sake of receiving more back from the Lord, or he stops sowing bountifully in order to increase his own possessions, the river of God’s bounty will no longer continue to flow.
The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 196. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
We may profitably meditate, with God’s blessing, although we are spiritually weak. The weaker we are, the more meditation we need to strengthen our inner man. Meditation on God’s Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials.
The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 140. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
There was a day when I died, utterly died, died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the world, its approval or censure, died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends, and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.
Public prayer will never make up for closet communion.
George Muller The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 47-48. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
How much should you give of your income? God lays down no rule concerning this point. We should give cheerfully and not because it is required. But if even Jacob, with the first dawning of spiritual light promised to God the tenth of all, how much should we believers in the Lord Jesus do for Him? (See Genesis 28:22). If the love of Christ causes us to give, we will have this verse fulfilled in our experience. The Lord will abundantly repay us, and in the end we will find that we are not losers even in temporal things.
The anointing of the Holy Spirit helps me greatly when I preach. I would never attempt to teach the truth of God by my own power.
If anyone thinks that on account of our trials of faith during this year we have been disappointed in our expectations or discouraged in the work, my answer is that the very opposite is true. Such days were expected from the beginning. The chief end for which the institution was established is that the Church would see the hand of God stretched out on our behalf in answer to prayer. Our desire, therefore, is not that we may be without trials of faith, but that the Lord would graciously support us in the trial and that we may not dishonor Him by distrust.
The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 130. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
Let us walk as stewards and not act as owners, keeping for ourselves the means with which the Lord has entrusted us. He has not blessed us that we may gratify our own carnal mind but for the sake of using our money in His service and to His praise.
Suppose that we believers in the Lord Jesus make our requests to God. Suppose also that, as far as we can honestly judge, the obtaining of our requests would be for our spiritual good and for the honor of God. We must then continue in prayer until the blessing is given to us. Furthermore, we have to believe that God does hear us and will answer our prayers. Frequently we fail in not continuing in prayer until the blessing is obtained and in not expecting the blessing. As assuredly as any individual uses these points, so assuredly will his requests be granted.
The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed.
God judges what we give by what we keep.
The preparation for the public ministry of the Word is even more excellent than preaching in church. To live in constant communion with the Lord, and to be habitually and frequently in meditation over the truth is its own reward.
Prove the faithfulness of God by carrying your every want to Him. Only maintain an upright heart. But if you live in sin and if you willfully and habitually do things which you know are contrary to the will of God, then you cannot expect Him to hear you (Ps. 66:18-19).
My prayer last evening was that God would support by dear wife under the trial. Two hours later, the little one went home to be with the Lord. I fully realize that the dear infant is much better off with the Lord Jesus than with us, and when I weep, I weep for joy.
The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.
The Lord always helps me when I preach; provided I have earnestly sought Him in private… My chief help is prayer. Whenever I study a single part of divine truth, I always gain some light about it after praying and meditating over it. Extensive prayer is often difficult because of the weakness of the flesh, physical infirmities, and a full schedule. But no one should expect to see much good resulting from his labors if he does not spend time in prayer and meditation.
In every good work, we must depend on the Lord. If anyone rises so that he may give the time which he takes from sleep to prayer and meditation, let him be sure that Satan will try to put obstacles in the way.
Work! Walk through every open door; be ready in season and out of season as if everything depended on your labor. This is one of the great secrets in connection with successful service for the Lord – work as if everything depended on your diligence, and trust in the blessing of the Lord to bring success.
If the preacher strives to speak according to the rules of this world, he may please many, particularly those who have a literary taste. But he is less likely to become an instrument in the hands of God for the conversion of sinners or for the building up of the saints. Neither eloquence nor depth of thought makes a truly great preacher. Only a life of prayer and meditation will render him a vessel ready for the Master’s use and fit to be employed in the conversion of sinners and in the edification of the saints.
The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 35. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
Simplicity in expression is of utmost importance. The teacher should speak so that even children and people who cannot read may be able to understand him, as far as the natural mind can comprehend the things of God. Every congregation has people of various educational and social backgrounds. The expounder of the truth of God speaks for God and for eternity. It is unlikely that he will benefit the hearers unless he uses plain speech.
The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 34. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
The following guidelines will help a believer build his faith:
1. Carefully read through the Word and meditate on it. Through reading the Word of God, and especially through meditation on it, the believer becomes acquainted with the nature and character or God.
2. We must maintain an upright heart and a good conscience and not knowingly and habitually indulge in the things which are contrary to the mind of God.
3. We should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried. The more I am in a position to be tried in faith, the more I will have the opportunity of seeing God’s help and deliverance.
4. Let God work deliverance for us and do not work deliverance on our own.
Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible. But I often spent a quarter of an hour to an hour on my knees struggling to pray while my mind wandered. Now I rarely have this problem. As my heart is nourished by the truth of the Word, I am brought into true fellowship with God. I speak to my Father and to my Friend (although I am unworthy) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.
When the day of recompense comes, our only regret will be that we have done so little for Him, not that we have done too much.
The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p. 225-226. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
We should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried. The more I am in a position to be tried in faith, the more I will have the opportunity of seeing God’s help and deliverance. Every fresh instance in which He helps and delivers me will increase my faith. The believer should not shrink from situations, positions, or circumstances in which his faith may be tried, but he should cheerfully embrace them as opportunities to see the hand of God stretched out in help and deliverance. Thus his faith will be strengthened.
It is impossible to describe the abundance of peace and heavenly joy that often flows into my soul because of the answers I obtain from God after waiting on Him for help and blessing. The longer I have had to wait on Him or the greater my need it, the greater the enjoyment when at last the answer came.
[Benefits of] expounding the Scriptures:
1. [It] encourages the congregation to bring their Bibles to church, and everything that leads believers to value the Scriptures is important.
2. Exposition may open the Scriptures to them and create in them a desire to meditate for themselves. When they again read over the portion of the Word which has been expounded, they will remember what has been said. Thus, it leaves a more lasting impression on their minds.
3. Expounding large portions of the Word, such as an entire gospel or epistle, leads the teacher to consider portions of the Word which he might otherwise overlook. This keeps him from speaking too much on favorite subjects and leaning too much to particular parts of truth – a tendency which will surely sooner or later injure both himself and his hearers.
Excerpted from: The Autobiography of George Muller, 1984, p.33-34. All quotations taken from books published by Whitaker House are used with permission of the publisher. Whitaker House books are available at Christian bookstores everywhere. Get this book!
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.
God is the author of the Bible, and only the truth it contains will lead people to true happiness. A Christian should read this precious Book every day with earnest prayer and meditation. But like many believers, I preferred to read the works of uninspired men rather than the oracles of the living God. Consequently, I remained a spiritual baby both in knowledge and grace.
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.
Someone may ask, “But why should I rise early?” To remain too long in bed is a waste of time. Wasting time is unbecoming of a saint who is bought by the precious blood of Jesus. His time and all he has is to be used for the Lord. If we sleep more than is necessary for the refreshment of the body, it is wasting time the Lord has entrusted us to be used for His glory, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of the saints and unbelievers around us… Anyone who spends one, two, three hours in prayer and meditation before breakfast will soon discover the beneficial effect early rising has on the outward and inward man.
Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions, with improbabilities or with outward experiences. If we desire to couple such things with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.
Through His Word, our Father speaks to us, encourages us, comforts us, instructs us, humbles us, and reproves us.
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.
I need not despair because the living God is my partner. I do not have sufficient wisdom to meet these difficulties, but He is able to direct me. I can pour out my heart to God and ask Him to guide and direct me and to supply me with wisdom. Then I have to believe that He will do so. I can go with good courage to my business and expect help from Him in the next difficulty that may come before me.
After my return to London, I decided to do something to help my brothers in the seminary. I suggested we meet together every morning from six until eight to pray and read the Scriptures. After the evening prayer, my communion with God was so sweet that I would continue praying until after midnight. Then I would go to a brother’s room, and we would pray together until one or two in the morning. Even then, I was sometimes so full of joy that I could not sleep. At six in the morning, I would again call the brethren together for prayer.
The Lord in His faithfulness helped us. Help was never more truly needed, nor did the help of the Lord ever come more obviously from Himself – His timing could not have been better. Praise the Lord for His goodness! Praise Him that He helped us trust in Him in this trying hour.
When sight ceases, it is the time for faith to work. The greater the difficulties, the easier it is for faith. As long as human possibilities for success remain, faith does not accomplish things as easily as when all natural prospects fail.
Our prayer meetings have been a blessing to us and united us more than ever in the work.
It is true that the faith which I am able to exercise is God’s own gift. He alone supports it, and He alone can increase it. Moment by moment, I depend on Him. If I were left to myself, my faith would utterly fail.
God guides, not by a visible sign, but by swaying the judgment. To wait before Him, weighing candidly in the scales every consideration for or against a proposed course, and in readiness to see which way the preponderance lies, is a frame of mind and heart in which one is fitted to be guided; and God touches the scales and makes the balance to sway as He will. But our hands must be off the scales, otherwise we need expect no interposition of His in our favor.
During the last three years and three months, I never have asked anyone for anything. The Lord has graciously supplied all my needs as I bring them to Him. At the close of each of these four years, although my income has been comparatively great, I have had only a few shillings left. My needs are met each day by the help of God.
Through prayer and meditation on the Word, become willing to let God have all the glory if any good is accomplished by your service. If you desire honor for yourself, the Lord must put you aside as a vessel unfit for the Master’s use. One of the greatest qualifications for usefulness in the service of the Lord is a heart that truly desires to honor Him.
Am I in a calling in which I can abide with God? If you cannot ask God’s blessing upon your occupation, or if you would be ashamed to be found in it when the Lord Jesus returns, or if it hinders your spiritual progress, then you must give it up and be engaged in something else.
Anyone who spends one, two, three hours in prayer and meditation before breakfast will soon discover the beneficial effect early rising has on the outward and inward man.
Precede all your labors with earnest, diligent prayer. Do not rest on the number of tracts you have given because a million tracts may not lead to the conversion of one single soul. Yet, a blessing beyond calculation may result from one single tract. Expect everything to come from the blessing of the Lord and nothing at all from your own exertions.