George Müller of Bristol, England, was a mighty man of faith and prayer.

Having lived nearly across the entirety of the 1800s (born in 1805 and died in 1898), his desire was for God to receive the glory and renown in everything he did.

Having grown up in a dreary and sinful life, after he found Jesus (or rather when Jesus got a hold of Him), Müller sought to show the world that God was still Jehovah Jireh and capable of providing for EVERY need. Even after starting several orphanages in Bristol without money, He held tight to Jesus as his source for everything—food, clothing, housing, etc—not only for himself but also for every orphan in his care (which eventually numbered over 10,000).

Müller once said, “They that trust in the Lord shall never be confounded. … in leaning upon God, the Living God alone, we are beyond disappointment and beyond being forsaken because of death, or want of means, or want of love. … How precious to have learned, in any measure, to be content to stand with God alone in the world, and to know that surely no good thing shall be withheld from us, while we walk uprightly!

Five grand conditions for prevailing prayer

Though there are several biographies about George Müller, there are two that stand out as they emphasize the faithful life of Müller that came, in large part, from his unwavering trust in God and his givenness to prayer: The Autobiography of George Müller and George Müller of Bristol (by A.T. Pierson).

In Pierson’s biography, he talks about George Müller’s experiences of prevailing prayer and how Müller wanted people to understand the Scriptural teaching behind it. As such, Müller wrote out five grand conditions from Scripture for what he called “prevailing prayer”:

  1. Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only ground of any claim for blessing (see John 14:13-14, 15:16, etc.)
  2. Separation from all known sin. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us, for it would be sanctioning sin (see Psalm 66:18)
  3. Faith in God’s Word of promise as confirmed by His oath. Not to believe Him is to make Him both a liar and perjurer (see Hebrews 6:13–20, 11:6)
  4. Asking in accordance with His will. Our motives must be godly; we must not seek any gift of God to consume it upon our own lusts (see 1 John 5:13-15; James 4:3)
  5. Importunity in supplication. There must be waiting on God and waiting for God, as the husbandman has long patience to wait for the harvest (see James 5:7; Luke 18:1-8)

A.T. Pierson goes on to explain: “The importance of firmly fixing in mind principles such as these cannot be overstated. The first lays the basis of all prayer in our oneness with the great High Priest. The second states a condition of prayer found in abandonment of sin. The third reminds us of the need of honoring God by faith that he is, and is the Rewarder of the diligent seeker. The fourth reveals the sympathy with God that helps us to ask what is for our good and His glory. The last teaches us that, having laid hold of God in prayer, we are to keep hold until His arm is outstretched in blessing.”

We must take these five conditions to prevailing prayer seriously if you long to pray as James 5:16 records: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

May we, like Müller, live faithful lives of great trust, dependence, and prayer.

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