"Give me Souls, O God, or I die!" That became the plea of John Hyde, born on this day, November 9, 1865 in Carrollton, Illinois. John's family were praying people. Consequently, as a young man, he learned to pray expecting results.
John's brother Edmund went as a student missionary to Montana, where he contracted a fever and died. John wondered if he should take Edmund's place. During his senior year at McCormick Theological Seminary, he came to the room of his friend Mr. Konkle near midnight, saying he wanted all Konkle's arguments in favor of going to the foreign mission field. "I told him that he knew as much about the foreign field as I did; that I didn't believe it was argument that he needed, and that I thought the way for him to settle it was to lay it before our Father and stay until He decided for him: We sat in silence a while longer, and, saying he believed I was right, he rose and bade me good night."
The next morning Konkle felt a hand on his arm. Looking around, he saw John's face radiant with a new vision. "It's settled, Konkle," said he.
John left for India. Aboard ship, he opened a letter from a friend who wrote that he would pray until John was filled with the Holy Spirit. Angrily John crumpled the letter and hurled it aside. He had yielded his heart to the Lord, gotten his degree, studied Indian languages and was obediently on his way to a life work. How dare his friend suggest he lacked the Spirit? But when he cooled down, he realized that his friend was right. He pleaded for the power of the Holy Spirit.
The result was that John became a notable intercessor, one who pleads for the souls and needs of others. He was nicknamed "Praying Hyde." He often paid for his concern with sleepless nights.
Revival began when he came late to a meeting one evening. "I have been having a great controversy with God. I feel that he has wanted me to come here and testify to you concerning some things that he has done for me, and I have been arguing with him that I should not do this. Only this evening...have I got peace concerning the matter and have I agreed to obey him, and now I have come to tell you just some things that he has done for me." John told them how God had freed him from certain sins. Soon his listeners were weeping and confessing their own.
In 1908, anguished by the sight of sin and souls doomed to hell, he asked the Lord to bring a soul a day into the kingdom of God. Soon he upped that to two souls, and then four. God answered his prayers.
But in March of 1911, Hyde had to say good-bye to India. His heart had shifted in his chest and required medical attention. In the United States it was found he had a malignant brain tumor. Surgery was necessary. On February 17, 1912 he died. His last words were "Shout the victory of Jesus Christ!"
- Gordon, Ernest. A Book of Protestant Saints. Chicago: Moody Press, 1946.
- Miller, Basil. Praying Hyde. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1953.
- Various internet articles.
Last updated April, 2007.