An Author Everyone Should Know
Few Christian writers, from the present or the past, have affected my life and the lives of other Christians I know as much as Andrew Murray (1828-1917). His books are the kind you come back to again and again, savoring every line, reading slowly and prayerfully, drawing near to the Christ he knew and loved and expressed so well. It’s hard to read very far without stopping to pray, for the Spirit of prayer seems to be the very atmosphere of Andrew Murray’s books; moreover, the author speaks so directly to you, the reader, that it’s sometimes hard to believe you don’t know him; of course, in the Spirit, as a fellow member of Christ’s body, you do.
Andrew Murray grew up in South Africa nearly two centuries ago, both his father and grandfather being Scottish missionaries to that vast, untamed land. After attending school in Aberdeen, Scotland, and receiving theological training in the Netherlands, Andrew returned to South Africa as an ordained minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. This author almost never refers to himself in his books, so it’s surprising to read a biography of Murray and to find out about the trials he endured and the burdens he bore. Once, as a young pastor, serving remote farmers in the wide-open landscape, he was surrounded by wolves. After his horse threw him and ran away, Murray walked by faith the rest of the way to his parishioners’ farmhouse, many miles it was, wolves snapping at him all the while but never touching him. Though a man of much practical experience, it seems that Murray focuses every book on one thing only: the indwelling Christ.
Olive Tree Bible Software is privileged to be able to publish in electronic format several of this beloved writer’s books (which number some 240), a few of which I’ll describe briefly. In The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ Murray addresses new believers concerning the wonderful life they have received, his clear intention being to establish firmly their faith in Christ and to encourage them on the path of life and fruitfulness in Him. In With Christ in the School of Prayer, the author presents thirty-one lessons on prayer, one for every day of the month, echoing the disciples’ plea, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Reading this book, one is infused with faith that God wants to answer our prayers even more than we want them answered; in fact, He put the desire within us to begin with. In The Deeper Christian Life, Murray relates that the first and chief need of our Christian life is fellowship with God. Indeed, this theme, and the blessedness of abiding moment by moment in Christ, in absolute surrender, trusting Him to accomplish all that He has promised to do in us and through us, is the essential message of Andrew Murray’s fervent ministry to the body of Christ.
“I have learnt,” he says, “to place myself before God every day, as a vessel to be filled with His Holy Sprit. He has filled me with the blessed assurance that He, as the everlasting God, has guaranteed His work in me. If there is one lesson that I am learning day by day, it is this; that it is God who worketh all in all. Oh, that I could help any brother or sister to realize this!”