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What Motives are Behind Our Prayer?

ďYou want what you donít have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you canít get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you donít have what you want because you donít ask God for it. And even when you ask, you donít get it because your motives are all wrong Ė you want only what will give you pleasure.Ē1

George Muller was born in Prussia on September 27, 1805. His father was a collector of taxes and George seemed to inherit his fatherís ability with figures.

When Muller was converted to Christ, he was impressed by the many recurring statements of Jesus for us "to ask." At this point in Mullerís life, he and his wife launched into a daring experiment. First, they gave away all of their household goods. The next step was even more daring, he refused all regular salary from the small mission he had been serving. He then set out to establish an orphan home to care for the homeless children of England. The first home was dedicated in a rented building on April 21, 1836. Within a matter of days, 43 orphans were being cared for. Muller and his co-workers decided their experiment would be set up with the following guidelines:

1- No funds would ever be solicited.

2- No debts were ever to be incurred.

3- No money contributed for a specific purpose would ever be used for any other purpose.

4- All accounts would be audited annually.

5- No ego-pandering by the publication of donorís names.

6- No "names" of prominent people would be sought for the board or to advertise the institution.

7- The success of the orphanage would be measured not by the numbers served or by the amount of money taken in, but by Godís blessing on the work, which Muller expected to be in direct proportion to the time spent in prayer.

When the first building was constructed, Muller and his friends remained true to their convictions. The public was amazed when a second building was opened six months after the first. They kept concentrating on prayer and eventually there were five new buildings, 110 workers, and 2,050 orphans being cared for.

George Muller not only counted on God to provide, but he believed that God would provide abundantly. For over 60 years Muller recorded every specific prayer request and the results. Muller was responsible for the care of 9,500 orphans during his life. These children never went without a meal. Muller never asked for help from anyone but God. $7,500,000 came to him over the course of his life and he vows it was all in answer to believing prayer.2

God is more than able to give us all we need or ask for, but His desire is not to make us comfortable. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying nice things in this life, His purpose for us is to be his hands and feet to others. The motive behind our asking should always include how we are going to use that blessing to serve others. Keeping his blessings to ourselves will end there, but when we share the blessings he gives with others, the impact can be limitless!

Suggested prayer: Dear God, when I take a moment and look at my life, I can truly see all the blessings you have bestowed upon me. I ask that my goal would be to share those blessings with others, and when I ask things from you in prayer, that my motive would be to glorify you with what I am asking. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesusí name, amen.

  1. James 4:2-3 (NLT).

  2. Citation: Boyce Mouton, Carl Junction Christian Church Newsletter, January 30, 1980.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.