Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How to Ascertain the Will of God (by George Muller)

[From George Muller's Narratives]

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 generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever that 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 so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

3. I seek 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 Ghost guides us at all, He will do it 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 the 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 the most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

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Copied from Answers to Prayer, compiled by A.E.C. Brooks. George Muller (1805-1898) believed he had seen over 50,000 specific answers to prayer. He fed 10,024 orphans in Bristol, England, without asking anyone but God for help.

5 comments:

Jeri Tanner said...

I like it until the 6th step, then I have a hesitation. His depending on his mind remaining at peace after 2 or 3 more petitions is where I'm troubled. Wouldn't it be more biblical to go through steps 1-5, come to the "deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge" of the 6th step, go ahead and pray a bit more if desired, and then commit it to God's care and providence and proceed? If he begins now to depend on "peace" ("feeling or simple impression") has he thrown himself back to what he said he does not do in step 2? But that small point notwithstanding I appreciate Mr. Muller's sound and good advice. Much needed in this day.

Anonymous said...

I think Mueller is right on about peace: Him will He keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee. -Isaiah,

It is mere foolishness to go to God with something as though you weren't sure, as if you needed guidance and left without the assurance of the one thing that the Spirit imparts. He is not advocating humanism, but a reckoning of faith, that he is using the faculty that God gave as a means for carrying out that finely prepared discernment. The use of the term "more biblical" is rather scary, too. There is much that is "biblical" including folly. He was a man that prayed. I don't pray with most "Christians" on account that their character just assumes the typical "last resort" mentality. Prayer is not the preparation to justify your desire, so if you know you have an agenda, FLEE from the temptation.

John Bohannon said...

Good stuf! I have found similar principles in the Peter/Cornelius story (Acts 10 & 11). I see God speaking/affirming His will via prayer, the Word, circumstances, people, & the Spirit. Thanks for sharing this...useful!

jim elliff said...

Thanks for your comments. Muller offered his simple advice many times. considering that fact that he had fed and clothed over 2000 orphans without asking anyone for money or items except God, he was an expert at discerning God's will. He practiced what he preached in this area. One thing for sure, Muller was not a mystic, but relied on the Bible, sound reason, circumstance and prayer.

LW said...

I like all six steps, but I would add another that Pastor Voddie Baucham mentioned in a sermon I listened to recently called, "Spirituality and Your Mind." In it he also mentions seeking the counsel of Godly men. After doing what Mueller mentions you can't go wrong seeking the wise considerations of your elder.

1Thes 4:13a “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”

~Linda Woodward