“John Hyde: The Praying Hyde”
John Hyde also known as “Praying Hyde” was born on November 9, 1865 in Carrolton, Illinois. John’s father was a Presbyterian minister and he grew up on a religious home where there was much prayer and affection for God. In 1888 John went to a Bible College in Carthage, Illinois in the footsteps and influence of his older brother Edmond Hyde. Edmond was preparing to go onto the mission field. During one summer Edmond had went to Montana to work among some of the “mountain people” of the time. It was on that trip that he had contracted a fever and just a few days later he would die. Broken over his brother’s death John vowed to do whatever the Lord would call him to do and go wherever God wanted him to go. During his final year at Carthage College a missionary named John Herrick from India spoke and deeply impacted John’s life and upon hearing him became very restless. After one of the meetings John went back to his roommate and said “Give me all the arguments you can for the foreign mission field..” To which his roommate responded “You know as much about foreign missions as I do. Arguments are not what you need. What you need is to go to your room, get on your knees and stay there until it is settled with God.”
After spending the night in prayer John announced the following day that “it’s settled I’m going to India.” In fact so zealous and passionate he became about missions that of the 46 graduates of his College 26 went on to become foreign missionaries. So John Hyde set sail for India in October, 1892 with high hopes of converting India to Christ. His first 8 years in India he saw little fruit being born from his work. He was also slightly deaf which made it hard for him to understand the language, but however, in time he became very fluent in the language. In 1899 after not seeing many conversions a work of God began in John and he gained a deeper life of prayer and became an intercessor pleading on behalf of the villages of India. In 1902 John returned to America to regain health and then went back to India in 1905.
It was this year that revival came to India at a school for girls at Sialkot, which was at the location of the mission where John ministered and labored at. The time of revival was seen through many opening and publicly confessing their sins and weeping over them, and this went on till the dawn of the day. John was given a supernatural ability to be able to labor before the Lord for long periods of time on behalf of others, and had a great burden to do so. In 1908 began to cry out to God for one soul to be converted a day, and through his preaching and evangelizing God answered his prayer that year as there were 400 conversions and baptisms. The following year he prayed for God to give him two souls a day. At the end of that year God heard is pray again and 800 people were converted and baptized. In 1910 he pleaded with God that he would have 4 souls a day and again the Lord answered and over 1600 souls were converted and baptized that year.
There were times when John would spend 30 days in fasting and prayer over the people of India. On one occasion John spent 36 consecutive hours on his knees seeking for the power of God. The Indian people that he worked with began to call him “The man who never sleeps.” Most of those who were converted under his ministry never called him by his first name but rather “Praying Hyde.” In fact it was often heard of John while praying that he would say unto the Lord “Give me souls or I shall die.” Francis McGaw who spent time with John said “At times I thought Hyde would break down completely. But after nights of prayer and praise he would appear fresh and smiling in the morning.”
The fervency of his prayers and the days gone without eating began to take a tole on John and he became very sick. A doctor upon examining John said “This is one of the most unusual cases I’ve ever come across. Your heart has shifted out of its natural position on the left side and is now leaning toward the right side.” So in March of 1911 he left India to come back to America and he would never return to India again. In America it was also found that he had a brain tumor and on February 17, 1912 John Hyde went home to be with the Lord. His last words upon his dying breath were “Shout the victory of Jesus Christ.” John’s life was filled with passion for souls and seeing the people of India swept into the kingdom of heaven as he once said “I never before knew what it was to work all day and then pray all night before God for another. In College or at parties at home, I used to keep such hours for myself, or pleasure, and can I not do a much for God and souls?”