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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Dear Colleagues,

IF YOUR PERSONAL TIMES ALONE WITH GOD ARE DRY, READ THIS CAREFULLY

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George Muller, (1805 1898) who is famous for establishing orphanages in England, joyfully depended on God to meet all his needs and the needs of the thousands of children under his charge.  In the text below, he lays out how he sustained a vital daily time with God. I have read nothing better:

It pleased the Lord to teach me a truthI saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourishedBefore this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayerNow I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord. I began therefore, to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning , early in the morning

The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lords blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake or preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul.  The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession or to supplication; so that I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer.

When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart.  Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers

The difference between my former practiced and my present one is this.  Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the timebut what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often after having suffered much wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.

Now what is the food for the inner man: not prayer, but the Word of God: and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts

How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials and the temptations of the day come upon one.1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and nightI meditate on your precepts and consider your waysLet me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wondersI lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decreesOh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day longI have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutesMy eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. (Psa. 1:1, 2; 119:15, 27, 48, 97, 99, 148)

1 Autobiography of George Muller, comp. Fred Bergen (London: J. Nisbet, 1906, 152-4.

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