The following is George Müeller’s own explanation:
I never remember . . . a period . . . that I ever sincerely and patiently sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been always directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait upon God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow men to the declarations of the Word of the living God, I made great mistakes.
What helped George Müeller know God’s will?
• He sincerely sought God’s direction.
• He waited patiently until he had a word from God in the Scriptures.
• He looked to the Holy Spirit to teach him through God’s Word. What led him to make mistakes in knowing God’s will?
• Lacking honesty of heart;
• Lacking uprightness before God;
• Impatience about waiting for God;
• Preferring the counsel of men over the declarations of Scripture.
Here is how Müeller summed up the way to a heart relationship with God:
1. 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 knowledge of what His will is.
2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
3. 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 Spirit guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4. Next, I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His will to me aright.
6. 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.