Lessons learned about the power of simple prayer

George Mueller was a German-born evangelist who lived in the 19th century and was mostly known for his love and devotion to orphans. He dedicated his life and ministry to providing shelter, food and education for over 10,000 children during his lifetime.

Yesterday morning during my quiet time, I came across a story about him that gave me pause. Mueller was aboard a ship, crossing the Atlantic for an important meeting in Quebec. A dense fog had descended, making it impossible for the vessel to swiftly navigate the waters. The captain had announced that the journey would be delayed due to the weather conditions.

Mueller was not happy about the news. He immediately went up to the bridge and told the captain it was imperative that he arrive in Quebec that Thursday. The captain responded, “that is impossible!” Mueller, however, did not waver. “Very well,” he said. “If you cannot take me, God will. For I have never missed one single engagement in 57 years. Let’s go down to the chart room and pray.” The captain calmly replied, as if talking to a lunatic: “Sir, do you not realize how dense this fog is?” Mueller’s response was resolute. “My eyes are not on the dense fog, Captain, but on the living God, who controls all circumstances of my life.” He knelt down and prayed the simplest prayer the captain had ever heard. After he finished, the captain started praying, but he felt Mueller’s hand on his shoulder. Mueller asked him to stop. The captain looked at him, in dismay. “First of all, sir, you don’t believe God will answer,” he said. “Second, I believe he already has. Get up, Captain, and you will see that the fog is gone.”

And it was. The dense fog had completely disappeared. And Mueller was able to arrive in Quebec in time for his appointment.

This true story challenged my heart. I sat there, looking at my small book of devotionals, thinking about the simplicity of Mueller’s childlike faith. You see, I believe in the God of the impossible. I do. I believe he can heal the worst of diseases and restore broken lives. I’ve seen it and experienced it. But when new dark shadows fall upon my life and I find myself calling upon the God of the impossible, I must confess that I don’t always pray with that same type of confidence. The confidence that sees before the eyes can see. The confidence that believes in spite of what the circumstances display. Should I face the same situation as Mueller’s, I don’t know that I would get up with the firm conviction that I would find clear skies right away. Next day, maybe … God willing?!?

I believe this is a common challenge for the believer. We are taught that, without faith, it is impossible to please God. Indeed, we can’t expect to obtain God’s favor if our hearts waver back and forth between trusting and doubting when we pray. I believe that we cannot truly experience God and the supernatural without the type of faith that believes beyond what our eyes can see.

George Mueller’s story challenged me to believe in God as my children believe in me. When they are afraid and run to me, their muscles relax as my arms wrap around them. They know I won’t let them go. They know the worst that comes against them has to pass through Mom first. And I am bigger. And in their minds, wiser. Stronger. All they have to say is “Mom, I need you.” And they truly rest in the assurance that I hear and will answer their plea.

Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author and national conference speaker. Her first book “Twelve Inches: Bridging the Gap Between What You Know About God and How You Feel” is now on Kindle, and paperback at Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and other retailers. Visit her blog to read her devotionals at www.soaringwithhim.com or email her at pholbrook@soaringwithhim.com

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