Perhaps you are familiar with George Mueller (1805-1898). Though a native of Germany, he lived most of his 92 years in Bristol, England, where he pastored the same church for 66 years. In 1834 he founded The Scripture Knowledge Institute for Home and Abroad, which was a missions enterprise with five divisions: 1) Schools for children and adults to teach Bible knowledge, 2) Bible distribution, 3) missionary support, 4) tract and book distribution, and 5) "to board, clothe and scripturally educate destitute children who have lost both parents by death."
All five divisions were significantly fruitful, but the one for which Mueller is best known was his ministry to orphans. In the course of his life, he built five large orphan houses and cared for over 10,000 orphans. As you may have heard, in the last 68 years of his ministry he never took a salary and never asked for donations for his orphan houses; rather, he trusted God to move the hearts of people to send him what he and his orphans needed. Neither he nor his orphans ever went hungry.
What you may not be aware of is that George Mueller's primary purpose in establishing orphan homes was not to care for orphans, but to put on display the reality and faithfulness of God. His ambition was two-fold: to demonstrate to unbelievers that there is a God in heaven and to encourage the saints to trust Him. Here is what he said glorifying God:
"It seemed to me best done, by the establishing of an Orphan-House. It needed to be something which could be seen, even by the natural eye. Now, if I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained, without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House: there would be something which, with the Lord's blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason, for establishing the Orphan-House. . . The first and primary object of the work was, (and still is) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYER STILL."
George Mueller magnified the glory of God, and that is the focus of our meditation this week. Jesus tells us to pray for the glory of God.
Read Matthew 5:5-15 and use the questions given below to help you think through the remarkable realities of this prayer.
1. Briefly as a review, what is lies behind the beginning of this way of praying, "Our Father in heaven"?
2. We will consider the first three petitions in this prayer that Jesus sets before us. What are they (vv. 9-10)?
3. "Hallowed" is not a word we use very often in common discourse. Take a moment and look it up in a dictionary. What does it mean?
* What, then, does Jesus have in mind when He tells us to make this petition?
4. The second petition is "Your kingdom come." What and where is God's Kingdom?
* What, then, do you think we are praying for when we pray that our heavenly Father's kingdom come?
5. What does Jesus want us to pray about when He gives us the third petition, "Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"?
* Put on your sanctified imagination: How is God's will done in heaven?
6. Grammatically, the last phrase, "on earth as it is in heaven," might also apply to the first two petitions as well. How might that add to our understanding of those first two petitions?
7. How would you summarize these three petitions in a sentence or two? What are we praying for?
8. What do you think it would look like if we prayed these petitions and God answered them?
9. Why do you think Jesus puts these three petitions before the next four which seem to be requests for help?
10. In what ways might these three petitions be prayers of personal surrender?
11. How do you think George Mueller's life and ministry might have followed the point of these three petitions?
12. What did you take away from this time in the Word? How would you like to see your prayers change?
God be with you and see you on Sunday!