John Hyde – Missionary To India, An Apostle Of Prayer (Part 3)
By Francis McGaw
When John Hyde (1865 – 1912) went to India as a missionary, he was assigned to the Punjab region. When the Punjab Prayer-Union came into being, John Hyde was soon recognized as a leader of it, and was called on to participate as such in the Sialkot Conference. This conference annually called together pastors and other Christian leaders with a burden to foster a spiritual awakening in the Punjab region. The church needed revival! Only God could send revival, and He must be entreated by prayer to do it.
At the conference John Hyde spent hours in the prayer tent, even uniting with one or two for a month preceding the conference one year, and he was found there almost constantly during the conference, unless called on to lead a meeting or to speak to those gathered there.
At one time John Hyde was told to do something and he went and obeyed but returned to the prayer room weeping, confessing that he had obeyed God unwillingly. "Pray for me, brethren, that I may do this joyfully."
We soon learned after he went out that he had been led to obey triumphantly. He re-entered the hall with great joy, and as he came before the people, after having obeyed God, he spoke three words in Urdu and three in English, repeating them three times: "Ai Asmani Bak," "O Heavenly Father."
What followed who can describe? It was as if a great ocean came sweeping into that assembly. Hearts were bowed before that Divine Presence as the trees of the wood before a mighty tempest. It was the ocean of God’s love being outpoured through one man’s obedience. Hearts were broken before it. There were confessions of sins, with tears that were soon changed to joy, and then to shouts of rejoicing. Truly, we were filled with new wine, the new wine of heaven!
Here is the experience of one of the participants, a missionary:
"Hours alone with God, with no one to see or hear but God, were customary; but the fellowship of others in prayer or praise, for hours, could that be real? On entering that room the problem was solved.
"At once you knew you were in the holy presence of God, where there could be only reality. Others in the room were forgotten except when the combined prayers and praises made you realize the strength and power and sympathy of such fellowship. The hours of waiting on God in communion with others were precious times, when together we waited on God to search us and to speak to us, together interceded for others, together praised Him for Himself and for His wonder-working power. There was breadth and freedom during those ten days that I never imagined existed on earth. Surely it was for freedom such as this that Christ has set us free.
"Each one did exactly as he or she felt led to do. Some went to bed early, some prayed all night long. Some went to the meetings and some to the prayer room and some to their own rooms. Some prayed, some praised. Some sat to pray, some kneeled, some lay prostrate on their faces before God, just as the Spirit of God bade them.
"There was no criticism, no judging of what was being done or said. Each one realized that all superficialities were put away, that each one was in the awesome presence of the Holy God."
The same missionary referred to John Hyde when she wrote:
"Some watched all night long for nights, because God told them to do so. He kept sleep from them that they might have the privilege and honor of watching with Him over the affairs of His kingdom."
The Lamb on His Throne
At the convention the next year, in answer to prayer God poured out on us by His Spirit a burden for lost souls. We saw the same "brokenheartedness" for the sins of others. None felt this more than John Hyde. God was deepening his prayer life.
About this time John Hyde began to have visions of the glorified Christ as a Lamb on His throne – suffering such infinite pain for and with His suffering Body on earth, as it is so often revealed in God’s Word. As the Divine head, He is the nerve center of all the body. He is indeed living today a life of intercession for us.
Prayer for others is as it were the very breath of our Lord’s life in heaven. It was becoming increasingly true of John Hyde. How often in the prayer room he would break out into tears over the sins of the world, and especially of God’s children! Even then his tears would be changed into shouts of praise according to the divine promise repeated by our Lord on that last night when He talked freely with His own. "Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20).
A brother writes about that convention:
"Thank God, He has heard our prayers and poured out the Spirit of Grace and intercession upon so many of His children. For example, I saw a Punjabi brother convulsed and sobbing as if his heart would break. I went up to him and put my arms about him and said, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7).
"A smile lit up his face. ‘Thank God, Sahib,’ he cried, ‘but oh what an awful vision I have had! Thousands of souls in this land of India being carried away by the dark river of sin! They are in hell now. Oh, to snatch them from the fire before it is too late!’"
God wants those who are willing to bear the burden of the souls of these millions without God to go with Jesus into Gethsemane. It is a blessed experience to feel that in some measure we can enter into the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. It brings us into a precious nearness to the Son of God. And not only this, but it is God’s appointed way of bringing the lost sheep back to the fold.
"He is saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and will go for us?’ (Isa. 6:8). Are you willing to be an intercessor? If you are willing to put yourself into God’s hands, then God is willing to use you. But there are two conditions: obedience and purity. Obedience in everything, even in the least, surrendering your will and taking the will of God. And the next step is purity.
"God wants pure vessels for His service, clean channels through which to pour forth His grace. He wants purity in the very center of the soul, and unless God can have a pure vessel, purified by the fire of the Holy Spirit, He cannot use that vessel. He is asking you now if you will let Him cleanse away part of your very life. God must have a vessel He can use!"
(To be continued)
– Taken from the book Praying Hyde by Francis McGaw.