One. Have no preconceived ideas, Proverbs 3:5-6. 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. None-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.
Two. Having done this I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions, Genesis 27.
Three. I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the word of God, Romans 8:14. 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.
Four. Next, I take into account providential circumstances, Revelation 3:7-8. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
Five. I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright, Matthew 7:7.
Six. 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, Colossians 3:15. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
It would be most frustrating to know God’s will with certainty, but not have the faith and power to bring it to pass. An Old Testament prophet said it is like a woman coming to the time of birth of her child, and not having strength to deliver. Just as you can surely know the will of God from the above, you can see God bring it to pass through the following.
One. Atonement.Entire dependence upon the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the only ground of any claim for blessing, Ephesians 1:3; John 14:13-14; 15:16.
Two. No unconfessed sin. Separation from all known sin. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us, for it would be sanctioning sin, Psalm 66:18.
Three. Covenant. Faith in God’s word of promise as confirmed by His oath. Not to believe Him is to make Him both a liar and a perjurer, John 15:7; Hebrews 11:6: 6:13-20.
Four. God’s will. Asking in accordance with His will. Our motives must be godly: we must not seek any gift of God to consume it upon our lust, 1 John 5:14-15; James 4:3.
Five. Importunity. Importunity in supplication. There must be waiting on God and waiting for God, as the husbandman has long patience to wait for the harvest, James 5:7; Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8; Daniel 10:1-21.
Mr. Muller traveled over 200,000 miles when he was over 70, to make known the secrets and principles of faith that God had taught him through the Orphanage in Bristol, and 8 other endeavors of faith. He felt a divine compulsion to share these truths near and far.
One. To preach the gospel in its simplicity, especially to show how salvation is based, not upon feelings or even upon faith, but upon the finished work of Christ; that justification is ours the moment we believe, and we are to accept and claim our place as accepted in the Beloved with regard to our inward states of feeling or emotion.
Two. To lead believers to know their saved state, and to realize their standing in Christ. Great numbers not only of disciples, but even preachers and pastors are themselves destitute of any real peace and joy in the Lord, and hence unable to lead others into joy and peace.
Three. To bring believers back to the Scriptures, to search the Word and find its hidden treasures; to test everything by this divine touchstone and hold fast only what will stand this test; to make it the daily subject of meditative (vocal) and prayerful examination in order to translate it into daily obedience.
Four. To promote among all true believers, brotherly love; to lead them to make less of those non-essentials in which disciples differ, and to make more of those great essential and foundation truths in which all true believers are united; to help all who love and trust one Lord to rise above narrow sectarian prejudices, and barriers to fellowship.
Five. To strengthen the faith of believers, encouraging a simpler trust, and a more real and unwavering confidence in God, and particularly in the sure answers to believing prayer, based upon His definite promises.
Six. To promote separation from the world and deadness to it, and so to increase heavenly-mindedness in children of God; at the same time warning against fanatical extremes and extravagances, such as sinless perfection while in the flesh.
Seven. And finally to fix the hope of disciples on the blessed coming of our Lord Jesus; and, in connection therewith, to instruct them as to the true character and object of the present dispensation, and the relation of the church to the world in this period of the outgathering of the Bride of Christ.
Summary: These seven objects may be briefly epitomized thus: Mr. Muller’s aim was to lead sinners to believe on the Name of the Son of God, and so to haveeternal life; to help those who have thus believed, to know that they have this life; to teach them so to build up themselves on their most holy faith, by diligent searching into the word of God, and praying in the Holy Ghost, so that this life shall be more and more a real possession and a conscious possession; to promote among all disciples the unity of the Spirit and the charity which is the bond of perfectness, and to help them to exhibit that life before the world; to incite them to cultivate an unworldly and spiritual type of character such as conforms to the life of God in them; to lead them to the prayer of faith which is both the expression and the expansion of the life of faith; and to direct their hope to the final appearance of the Lord, so that they should purify themselves even as He is pure, and occupy till He comes. Mr. Muller was thus giving himself to the double work of evangelization and edification, on a scale commensurate with his love for a dying world, as opportunity afforded doing good unto all men, and especially to them who are of the household of faith.
(Taken from “George Muller of Bristol,” p. 246, by A. T. Pierson, Revell, 1899
NOTE: In the Spring of 1944 some unremembered person gave me a copy of “Answers to Prayer” by George Muller, a 29 cent book at that time from the Moody Colportage Publishers of Chicago.
I immediately memorized his 6 points “How to Ascertain the Will of God” and also his “Five Conditions of Prevailing Prayer”.
For the past 67 years, Mr. Muller has been one of my chief mentors - he being dead - yet speaks.
50,000 exact answers to prayer came to pass in his life and ministry, specifically supplying food, clothing, shelter, education and job training for 10,000 orphans in Bristol, England, all before 1900 AD. Eight million dollars came in for this and other projects, all without even once letting any one know of the needs, - except God Himself! This is indeed a true faith ministry. Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur, India; Pandita Ramabai of the Mukti Mission in Poona, India; and Lillian Trasher, the Nile Mother of Egypt - each of these 3 women had orphanages of over 1000 children - all inspired by the example of George Muller.
Mr. Muller carefully applied the 6 methods of ascertaining God's will for every possibility before engaging in prayer. He thenpursued the 5 conditions of Prevailing Prayer, and testified that he never failed to obtain - as long as he followed these two outlines.
I have like George Muller carefully followed these two steps since 1944, and can honestly testify that God is indeed no respecter of persons: What He did for Muller for over 60 years, he likewise has done for my wife Marie and myself.
At 70 years of age, Mr. Muller traveled over 200,000 miles to over 40 countries, sharing the 7 motives for this time of 17 years. He had wanted to be a missionary following his conversion at the age of 20. But God in His wisdom delayed answering the desire of his heart for 50 years. He was then able to engage in the double work of evangelization and edification. The biography on George Muller by Dr. A.T. Pierson provided the above, and is one of the dozen or so biographies I have read on him - easily the best for me.
May the above 3 outlines be as great a help and inspiration to you as they have been to me. - Jim Watt