George Mueller (September 27, 1805 -March 10, 1898) is widely considered one the greatest men of prayer and faith since the days of the New Testament. Born in Prussia, Mueller (also spelled Müller) spent nearly 2/3rds of his life in Bristol, England. Married to Mary Groves (sister of Anthony Norris Groves) from 1830 until 1870, she was to him a true companion and support. After her death, he married Susannah Grace Sanger. He led four far-reaching, influential ministries, but we know him best today for his orphanages.
In the early 1800’s in all of England there were accommodations for only 3,600 orphans and twice that many children under eight were in “homes for foundlings” or the workhouses with conditions akin to slavery. In 1835 at a public meeting, Mueller presented his burden to start an orphanage in Bristol. His heart went out to the ragged children around him, but this was secondary to his goal of “having a work—something to point to as visible proof that God hears and answers prayers.” Mueller’s passion was to display with open proofs that God could be trusted with the practical affairs of life.
No collection was taken, but within five days enough money had come in to rent Number 6 Wilson Street, and on April 11, 1836, the doors of the orphanage opened with 26 children. These were girls between seven and twelve years old. The following year a second house was opened and by September, 1837, a third house was opened for boys over seven years of age.
By 1844, when Mueller was 40 years old, the now four houses on Wilson Street were vastly over-crowded with not enough space for land cultivation, washing clothes, etc. Mueller began to pray about building an orphanage large enough to house at least 300 children under one roof.
Within four years (in June of 1849), the Lord provided $60,000 and Building Number 1 at Ashley Downs was built. This housed 300 children along with staff to teach and care for them. From 1848 to 1874, enough support came in to expand the work from 130 orphans to 2,050. Eventually the facilities covered 13 acres. Through all this, the ministry never made requests for money, nor did it go into debt.
Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.
Did You Know?
In his lifetime, George Mueller cared for 10,024 orphans. He also established 117 schools that offered a Christian education to over 120,000 children. The education system he devised was of such high standard he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life and robbing factories and mine of their labor. Charles Dickens once visited the orphanages and left wholly satisfied that the children were adequately fed. No child left the Mueller homes until employment was found for them. Upon leaving each was provided with suits of clothing, a sum of money, and a Bible.
One of the great effects of Mueller’s ministry was to inspire others. Some fifty years after Mueller had begun his work, at least 100,000 orphans were provided for across England.
Mueller read his Bible from end to end almost 200 times. He had prayed in millions of dollars (in today’s currency) for the orphans and never asked anyone directly for money. He never took a salary in the last 68 years of his ministry, but trusted God to put in people’s hearts to send him what he needed. He never took out a loan or went into debt. And neither he nor the orphans were ever hungry. His influence touched the lives of thousands – perhaps most notable, that of J. Hudson Taylor.
There is evidence to suggest that over 3000 of his orphans came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.