John Hyde – Missionary To India, An Apostle Of Prayer (Part 5)
By Francis McGaw
Missionary John Hyde (1865 – 1912) seemed always to be hearing the Good Shepherd’s voice saying, "Other sheep I have" (John 10:16). Hyde had previously laid hold of God to bring one soul a day to be saved and 400 souls had been brought to Christ by Hyde by the end of the year. Again he laid hold of God with a definite and importunate request. This time it was for two souls a day.
At the convention that year, God used him even more mightily than ever before. Hyde gave glimpses into the divine heart of Christ broken for our sins. Deeper and deeper we were allowed to enter into the agony of God’s soul, until like the prophet of sorrow, Jeremiah, we heard his anguish, desiring that his eyes might become a fountain of tears, that he might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of his people (see Jeremiah 9:1).
How can we enter into the fellowship of such sufferings? "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:9). Observe the progress in intensified desire – great, greater, greatest, and the corresponding reward till, to crown it all, the Father’s heart is thrown open to us. Yes, to all and sundry we tell our joys; it is the privileged few very near our hearts to whom we tell our sorrows!
All this we obtain only by faith. It is not our broken heart, it is God’s we need. It is not our sufferings, it is Christ’s we are partakers of. It is not our tears with which we should admonish night and day, it is Christ’s. The fellowship of His sufferings is His free gift for the taking in simple faith, never minding our feelings.
John Hyde used to say, "When we keep near to Jesus it is He who draws souls to Himself through us, but He must be lifted up in our lives; that is, we must be crucified with Him. It is self in some shape that comes between us and Him, so self must be dealt with as He was dealt with. Self must be crucified. Then indeed Christ is lifted up in our lives, and He cannot fail to attract souls to Himself. All this is the result of a close union and communion that is fellowship with Him in His sufferings!"
Four Souls a Day
The eight hundred souls gathered in since last year’s convention did not satisfy John Hyde. God was enlarging his heart with His love. Once again he laid hold on God with holy desperation. Praying took the form now of confessing the sins of others and taking the place of those sinners, as so many of the prophets did in old time. He was bearing the sins of others with his Lord and Master. "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2). According to that law we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. This John Hyde was doing. What was that burden referred to in Galatians 6:2? The previous verse reveals it. It was bearing the sins of others. He at length got the assurance of four souls a day.
This was the year that God used him all over India. He was called to help in revivals and conferences in Calcutta, Bombay, and many of the larger cities. Yet he was never more misjudged and misunderstood. But that, too, was part of the fellowship of Christ’s pain. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11).
Before this year’s convention he spent long nights in prayer to God. This burden had lain now for five years on his heart, each year pressing heavier and heavier. How it had eaten into his very soul! One saw the long sleepless nights and wary days of watching with prayer written on every feature of his face. Yet his figure was almost transformed as he gave forth God’s own words to his people with such fire and such force that many hardly recognized the changed man with the glory of God lighting up every feature. We who had shared some of the burden in prayer knew that it was God’s own burden spoken to His church in India, yes, to His church throughout the whole world.
The confession of the sins of others laid hold of John Hyde’s heart. It was about that time he was taught a very solemn lesson – the sin of faultfinding even in prayer for others. He was once weighed down with the burden of prayer for a certain Indian pastor. So he retired to his inner chamber, and thinking of the pastor’s coldness and the consequent deadness of his church, he began to pray: "O Father, Thou knowest how cold –"
But a finger seemed to be laid on his lips, so that the word was not uttered and a voice said in his ear, "He that toucheth him, toucheth the apple of Mine eye" (see Zechariah 2:8).
Mr. Hyde cried out in sorrow: "Forgive me, Father, in that I have been an accuser of the brethren before Thee!" He realized that in God’s sight he must look at whatsoever things are lovely. Yet he wanted also to look at whatsoever things are true. He was shown that the "true" of this verse are limited to what are both lovely and true, that the sin of God’s children is fleeting, it is not the true nature of God’s children. For we should see them as they are in Christ Jesus – "complete," what they shall be when He has finished the good work He has begun in them.
Then John asked the Father to show him all that was to be praised: "…If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Phil. 4:8) in that pastor’s life. He was reminded of much for which he could heartily thank God, and spent his time in praise! This was the way to victory.
The result? He shortly afterwards heard that the pastor had at that very time received a great reviving and was preaching with fire. It is this way of praise which is appointed of God for preparing the Bride and the putting on of her beautiful garments. In Revelation 19:6-8, it is praise that leads to the glorious results.
I remember John telling me that in those days if on any day four souls were not brought into the fold, at night there would be such a weight on his heart that it was positively painful, and he could not eat or sleep. Then in prayer he would ask his Lord to show him what was the obstacle to him to His blessing.
He invariably found that it was the want of praise in his life. This command, which has been repeated in God’s Word hundreds of times – surely it is all important! He would then confess his sin, and accept the forgiveness by the Blood. Then he would ask for the spirit of praise as for any other gift of God. So he would exchange his ashes for Christ’s garland, his mourning for Christ’s oil of joy, his spirit of heaviness for Christ’s garment of praise, and as he praised God, souls would come to him, and the numbers lacking would be made up.
Holiness unto the Lord
The one great characteristic of John Hyde was holiness. I do not mention prayerfulness now, for prayer was his life work. I do not especially call attention to soul winning, for his power as a soul winner was due to his Christlikeness. His life preached.
Hyde’s biographer says, "Only God and the recording angel can determine how much the whole body of Christ has been moved upon and benefited by the tremendous prayer force generated by the Holy Spirit in that prayer room at Sialkot in northern India."
John Hyde returned to his home country, the United States, after about nineteen years in India. He was a very sick man, suffering from a malignant tumor. The Lord took him home to be with Him on February 17, 1912.
Taken from the book Praying Hyde by Francis McGaw.