The Secret Of John Hyde’s Prayer Life
My father was a Presbyterian minister and my mother a very devoted Christian with a beautiful voice which had been consecrated to the Lord. I determined when I was a youth to be a missionary and a good missionary. I wanted to shine as a great missionary. I passed through college and did very well. I graduated and was a little proud of the "B.A." after my name. I was determined to master the Indian languages that I would have to learn, and I resolved not to let anything stand in the way that would hinder my becoming a great missionary. That was my ambition. This was not altogether perhaps of the flesh, but most of it was so. I loved the Lord and I wanted to serve Him and serve Him well, but "self" was at the foundation of my ambition.
My father had a dear friend, a brother minister, who had a deep desire to become a missionary, but his desire was not fulfilled. He was greatly interested in me, and was delighted that the son of his great friend was going out as a missionary. He loved me and I loved him and greatly admired him.
When I got on board the steamer at New York, bound for India for my life work, I found in my cabin a letter addressed to me. It was in the handwriting of my father’s friend. I opened it and read it. The words were not many, but the purport of them was this: "I shall not cease praying for you, dear John, until you are filled with the Holy Spirit."
My pride was touched and I felt exceedingly angry and crushed the letter and threw it into a corner of the cabin. I went up on deck in a very angry spirit. The idea of implying that I was not filled with the Spirit! I was going out as a missionary, and I was determined to be a good missionary, and yet this man implied that I was not fitted and equipped for the work!
I paced up and down that deck, a battle raging within. I felt very uncomfortable. I loved the writer. I knew the holy life he led, and down in my heart there was a conviction that he was right and that I was not fit to be a missionary.
I went back after some time to my cabin and down on my knees to hunt for the crushed letter. Finding it, I smoothed it out and read it again and again. I still felt annoyed, but the conviction was gaining on me that my father’s friend was right and I was wrong. This went on for two or three days until I felt perfectly miserable. This was the goodness of the Lord answering the prayers of my father’s friend, who must have claimed a victory for me.
At last in a kind of despair I asked the Lord to fill me with the Holy Spirit, and the moment I did this the whole atmosphere seemed to clear up. I began to see myself, and what a selfish ambition I had. It was a struggle almost to the end of the voyage, but I was determined long before the port was reached, that whatever would be the cost, I would be really filled with the Spirit.
The second climax came when I was led to tell the Lord that I was willing even to fail in my language examinations in India, and be a missionary working quietly out of sight, that I would do anything and be anything, but the Holy Spirit I would have at any cost.
On one of the first few days spent in India, while I was staying with another missionary, a brother of some experience, I went out with him to an open-air service. The missionary spoke and I was told that he was speaking about Jesus Christ as the real Savior from sin.
When he had finished his address, a respectable looking man, speaking good English, asked the missionary whether he himself had been thus saved. The question went home to my heart; for if the question had been asked me, I would have had to confess that Christ had not fully saved me because I knew that there was a sin in my life, which had not been taken away. I realized what a dishonor it would be on the Name of Christ to have to confess that I was preaching a Christ that had not delivered me from sin though I would be proclaiming to others that He was a perfect Savior.
I went back to my room and shut myself in, and told the Lord that it must be one of two things: either He must give me victory over all my sins and especially over the sin that so easily beset me, or I must return to America and seek there for some other work. I said that I could not stand up to preach the Gospel until I could testify of its power in my own life. I was there for some time, facing the question, and realized how reasonable it was. The Lord assured me that He was able and willing to deliver me from all sin, that He had planned work for me in India. He did deliver me and I have not had a doubt of this since. I can now stand up without hesitation to testify that He has given me victory, and I love to witness to this and to tell all of the wonderful faithfulness of Christ my Lord, my Savior.
– From Praying Hyde, edited by E. G. Carré.
E. G. Carré, writes concerning John Hyde: "He of whom these pages speak lived upon a spiritual plane, to which few in this or indeed any generation have attained." Led by the Spirit to give hours day and night to prayer, Hyde’s missionary service was very different from what he had envisioned, but it resulted in immense blessing flowing to those to whom he ministered in congregations and conventions as well as to individual souls whom he sought out and brought to Christ. As Carré prepared the material on Hyde’s life, he was challenged, convicted and convinced that each of us needs to pray more, even to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).
Carré writes: "How comforting it is ever to remember that He who in His wondrous lovingkindness designed that we should be the objects upon which He should lavish His love, also designed prayer as the means by which He could continually have us in the attitude and the place for the reception of that love; hath He not said, ‘…the prayer of the upright is His delight’? (Prov. 15:8). How blessed it is to feel that each time we come to Him whether in the sanctuary or in the street, that we are giving joy to our Father which is in heaven, and are treading in the path of Him who ‘suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps’ (1 Pet. 2:21)."
Herald of His Coming has on hand a limited supply of the book, Praying Hyde, in magazine format. The account of this outstanding praying saint will challenge, instruct and encourage readers whose desire is for a more fruitful prayer life. As long as the supply lasts, it is available to those who request a copy by writing to:
Herald of His Coming
P. O. Box 279
Seelyville IN 47878 USA