George Muller was a nineteenth-century evangelist and orphanage director in England. Many admired his service to God and also wondered at God’s rich provision for his ministry.
He always seemed to be “right at the center” of God’s will and some even asked him how he came to know God’s will in specific matters. Here was his answer:
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 just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever that may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
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 lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
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 so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving the most important issues, I have found this method always effective.