A shelf full of notebooks confirmed it: An astounding number of specific answers to  his prayers. One of the reasons: He prayed according to the will of God.

He knew what this really meant.

File:George Muller.jpg

George Müller


He also knew how to determine God’s will, for himself personally, in matters beyond the Bible’s musts and must-nots.

He simply proceeded in any endeavor only after getting full assurance it was God’s specific design for him to follow. That and his powerful prayer life, made his life and works a glorious display of God’s power in man’s weakness.

Starting with literally nothing but trust in God, fervent effectual prayer, and seeking God’s direction on everything, he established orphanages that housed, fed, clothed, and educated over ten thousand orphans. And he told no human, ever, the orphans’ needs — only God. 


Many people I highly respect declare that beyond obeying the principles of scripture, we can simply choose as we like among many morally neutral action choices. But with the messes (and waste of time) I’ve made myself by that approach, and verses like Proverbs 3:5-6, James 4:13-15, and Psalms 119:133 in mind, I lean toward George Müller‘s approach, and think it’s worth any of us considering.

So, on the L– topic of Listening to God, I share with you today how he “Listened” to “hear” God’s preferred will in any given situation: 

George Müller’s Example of
How to Determine the Will of God
  • Release Your Own Will

First, 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 at this point.  Nine-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 just a little way before one discovers the knowledge of what God’s will is.

  • Do Not Trust in Feelings

Second, having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or a simple impression.  If so, I make myself liable to great delusions

  • Look to the Spirit and the Word

Third, 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 also lay myself open to great delusions.  If the Holy Spirit guides at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

  • Consider the Circumstances

Next, I take into account providential circumstances.  These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

  • Pray for God to Show You His Will

Fifth, I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me so that I may understand it correctly.  [My note: this certainly doesn’t need to be fifth only in steps outlined.]

  • Assess Your Peace regarding the Decision

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 to be after two or three petitions, I proceed accordingly. 

Both in trivial matters and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.


5 thoughts on “Determining God’s Will: How He Listened, How He Heard

  1. Uncanny this! I was just ruminating out loud to my husband about this peace part. Usually when I find myself on a new horizon, I am very uncomfortable. It is strange, untried and I am unpracticed. It is new and I am clumsy (like now at the start of my third week of orientation in my new job). Somehow I can’t reconcile feeling at peace. Perhaps it is there at the moment of decision, but I can’t say it stays there in the follow through. Does Muller discuss this?

    So timely for me, Sylvia. Thanks for posting,

  2. Hm, good question, Dawn. I don’t think Muller discusses this directly anywhere that I have read, but the key to the answer may lie in two things:

    1) his words above: “Both in *trivial* matters…” I think we tend to look fixedly toward God to guide us in the big decisions, then forget to in the day-to-day little things after that.
    2) the way he lived his whole Christian life. It seems he called on God all the time, even in the trivial, and walked continually in God’s Spirit, His “presence.” His (specifically answered) prayers included such minute matters as asking God to direct him to pen he’d misplaced or the like.
    I think of how quick we are (I am) to be like the Galatians, whom Paul reprimanded with, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected (i.e., finished up) by the flesh?”
    Hope that helps you some. (It helps me. heh heh!)

  3. Wonderful post, Sylvia! It really is so important to ask Him for direction. I truly needed this reminder. I’m afraid I have to agree with Dawn, though. I don’t think it’s always a sense of peace that guarantees your decision is correct. I know that when something is on my heart, something I know the Scriptures say I ought to do, doing it usually involves lots of fear and trembling on my part, because I simply don’t trust Him the way I ought to. (examples: I once told a room full of college students that my aspiration was to know God more, do His will, and have Him as my passion – I knew it was the right thing to do, but I definitely did not feel peaceful about it; and in talking to my parents about sponsoring a child, too, I didn’t feel peaceful, but rather nervous, anxious) Even in my music, it’s not a sense of peace that tells me this is where God wants me, but rather the opposite. I feel terrified and insufficient and I know I’ll be taking a lot of huge risks, but He just keeps showing me over and over again, in things that come up in my life or in things people say, that this is something I should be pursuing. So, while sometimes it may be a sense of peace, the idea that it always is doesn’t really fit with my experiences. Still a great list, though. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Great point, Mary. And Dawn, I have been thinking more about your comment about the peace disappearing after making the decision. There’s so much to say about this, I think I’m going to write two posts (even though I was going to take a hiatus — but I think the post writing is… God’s direction.) So look for the next two posts, and thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments.

Comments are now closed.