MASTER'S SEMINARY JOURNAL

BOOK REVIEW

Autobiography of George Muller: A Million and a Half in Answer to Prayer


By George Muller
Denton, Tex : Westminster Literature Resources (2003). 736 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. James Rosscup
15.1 (Spring 2004) : 124-126

This is a reprint of a 1905 work originally issued by Bible & Tract Warehouse, Bristol, England. One of the men most famous in church history for showing that God answers prayers gives detail on hundreds of instances occurring at the five orphan houses and the schools he founded in 1835-1836 and directed until he died in 1898. Many accounts of Müller’s prayers and answers have drawn from this, his own record, although he had published portions of his life from the 1830s forward, and his Life of Trust in 1860. He also had given updates at other times to keep in touch with people and help them see how to trust God.

A. T. Pierson, an American pastor and friend of Müller, wrote the official biography of Müller shortly after his death (New York: James Nisbet & Co., 1898). He too drew from the 1860 and other works, and from talks with Müller, and later his successors in the work. Since then, Müller has been one of the most frequent subjects in Christian book titles about examples in Christian history. This is fitting, for on its cover John Piper calls the present work, “A veritable orchard of faithbuilding fruit.” Müller, shortly after his conversion in 1825, resolved by God’s gracious help to show that God answers prayers when His children ask in faith. The book recounts cases of prayer privately or in a group when the orphanage work was penniless or near that, and of how God supplied on time. God used a great variety of situations among His people, rich and poor, to contribute amounts big and small. Müller never saw God fail, and cites examples from careful daily records. These underscore the importance of relying on the Lord, patience, humility, contributors’ love for the Lord, purity, and expecting without doubting God. The entries reflect wide diversity in others’ sacrificial giving, growth in grace, and acting to the glory of God.

This book, much longer than devotional works dependent on Müller’s records, has stimulating features. It shows various ways God used to supply the needs of orphans as well as a biblical missions school that Müller founded, and the needs Müller saw for foreign missions, poor believers and unbelievers, and needy relatives. It also has scores of lessons about stewardship, laying up treasures in heaven, and details about Müller’s two godly wives Mary (1830—1870) and Susannah (1871—1894), and a daughter and a son (who died young) of the first marriage. The book also contains Müller’s high tributes for their godliness and service delivered at each of his wives’ funerals. It includes several pages of pictures, e.g., Müller, his first and second wives, other leaders, orphans.

Through daily short meditations over three to six months, a sincere believer can profit most and be challenged to all-out Christian living by this lengthy work. Readers will see how one’s own life can make a difference in this world. Müller’s sincerity and sterling quality stirs a fire in hearts. He ever exalts God, counsels meditation in God’s Word as a catalyst to prayer, and encourages others to find answers that way. Some of his key Bible verses are Prov 3:5-6, 3:9-10, 16:3, Mark 9:24, Luke 6:38, and 2 Cor 9:6.

Pierson’s tribute in the final pages of the 1905 edition appears near the end, followed by a subject index. One thing some might like is a history of the orphanage work after Müller. The book’s price, like some other reprints, is steep. But a sacrifice to have access to the book will be repaid many times. Piper did not exaggerate. Serious Christians can find searching probes of their motives, fresh impetus to trust, and nourishment because of God’s faithfulness when they pray.