He wasn’t considered the most talented missionary ever sent out. Partially deaf and tending to keep to himself, he found learning the complicated languages of India a stiff challenge.
But Hyde carried a heavy burden for the lost, which drove him to seek out better ways to win them, leading to his amazing emphasis on prayer.
Richard Klein describes it this way: “In 1904, Indian Christians and western missionaries gathered for the first of an annual series of conventions at Sialkot in what is today Pakistan. To support this time of spiritual renewal, John Hyde and his friends formed the Punjab Prayer Union, setting aside half an hour each day to pray for revival…
“By 1908, John Hyde dared to pray what was to many at the convention an impossible request: that during the coming year in India one soul would be saved every day. Three hundred sixty five people converted, baptized, and publicly confessing Jesus as their Savior. Impossible — yet it happened. Before the next convention John Hyde had prayed more than 400 people into God’s kingdom, and when the prayer union gathered again, he doubled his goal to two souls a day. Eight hundred conversions were recorded that year, and still Hyde showed an unquenchable passion for lost souls.”
J. Pengwern Jones recalls, “He was always on his knees when I went to bed, and on his knees long before I was up in the morning, though I was up with the dawn. He would also light the lamp several times in the night, and feast on some passages of the Word, and then have a little talk with the Master. He sometimes remained on his knees the whole day.”
Near the end of his life, “Praying” John Hyde wrote about the powerfully effective praying the Lord had allowed to come into his life:
“On the day of prayer, God gave me a new experience. I seemed to be away above our conflict here in the Punjab and I saw God’s great battle in all India, and then away out beyond in China, Japan, and Africa. I saw how we had been thinking in narrow circles of our own countries and in our own denominations, and how God was now rapidly joining force to force and line to line, and all was beginning to be one great struggle. That, to me, means the great triumph of Christ. We must exercise the greatest care to be utterly obedient to Him who sees all the battlefield all the time. It is only He who can put each man in the place where his life can count for the most.”
The apostle Paul would agree: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.” (Colossians 4:2 NIV).
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