This week we’re going to look into the life of Andrew Murray. Well known for the phrase “casting thyself on Christ” and his many authored works, Murray has valuable lessons to teach us regarding prayer and self sacrifice.
Andrew Murray was born in South Africa in 1828. His father, a Dutch Reformed minister, was in his own right, a prevailer in prayer. He read weekly to Andrew and the rest of the family, stories about past revivals and prayed with them regularly for revival in South Africa. Later, Andrew moved to Scotland to stay and study with his uncle who was also a reverend. It was here that Andrew was, no doubt, affected for the rest of his life when Revivalist William Burns visited and spent long hours into the night discussing God with the Murrays. Burns himself had a deep burden for lost souls and would often weep and pray for hours, giving Murray a lifestyle to model.
After he became ordained, Murray went back to South Africa and began a traveling ministry encompassing a 50,000 square mile area. Traveling by horseback, much of his time was spent in introspection, prayer, and growing a passion for the gospel. He worked so hard, exhausting himself completely, that he was forced to return to England for his health.
Back in England, Murray accepted positions at a variety of churches, honing his speaking and teaching skills. He also led a holiness revival that we will, in all likelihood, look at in more depth another time.
Even though Murray grew up with pious parents, it wasn’t until he was in theology school that he had a true conversion and wrote to his parents that he had “cast (him)self on Christ.” These words would go on to define his life. He wrote many works on truly surrendering ones life to Christ, including that a deep-rooted skepticism about the power of prayer was an obstacle to such a life.
Murray went on to write With Christ in the School of Prayer, in which he impresses upon the reader the importance of prayer and evidences his own personal experiences with it. He says, “Christ teaches us to pray not only by example, by instruction, by command, by promises, but by showing us HIMSELF, the ever-living Intercessor, as our Life. It is when we believe this, and go and abide in Him for our prayer-life too, that our fears of not being able to pray aright will vanish, and we shall joyfully and triumphantly trust our Lord to teach us to pray, to be Himself the life and the power of our prayer.”
Words of such passion and fervency speak volumes to his relationship with Christ when accompanied by the life that Andrew Murray lived. There is much more to tell about his life that include a mysterious illness that God healed after two years, bringing on a deeper relationship with his Creator than Murray had ever known before. He went on to preach in multiple countries, write over 240 books and tracts, and lead countless souls to salvation.
Oh how much power our words have when they are lifted to an all powerful God! Andrew Murray could have lived a quiet, comfortable, meaningless life. Instead he chose a life of prayer, a life of service, and a life spent saving souls from hell.