By David Smithers
It was Seth Joshua who once wrote "All prayer is hidden. It is behind a closed door. The best spade diggers go down into deep ditches out of sight. There are numbers of surface workers, but few who in self-obliteration toil alone with God."
John "Praying" Hyde was one who truly delighted to toil alone with Jesus. One of the most striking features of John Hyde's life was his willingness to remain hidden and unrecognized. He was one of the Father's hidden treasures. It was early on as a young missionary to India that John Hyde went through an intense time of purging of pride and vain ambition. This was no doubt the key to his powerful anointing in prayer. It is common wood, hay and stubble that are found above in full view, while costly gold, silver and precious stones are hidden under the ground. Like the rich, life-giving seed hidden for a season, the prayer life of John Hyde produced an abundant harvest.
Hyde and his fellow intercessors saw that there was one method to obtaining spiritual awakening - by prayer. "They set themselves deliberately, definitely and desperately to use this means till they secured the result. The Sialkot revival was not an accident nor an unsought breeze from Heaven. In any community, revival can be secured from Heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die - or if need be to win and die."
"Praying Hyde, as he was called, with a group of friends, spent days and nights in prayer for an awakening throughout India. Their prayers were answered in a series of outpourings of the Spirit in the north-west of India, beginning in 1904 in Sialkot." The victory of the Sialkot meetings was not won in the pulpit but in the closet. Often the glory rested on these meetings in a mighty way, while hidden, out of sight, John Hyde and a faithful few travailed in prayer.
During this revival John Hyde was almost constantly in the prayer room. "He lived there as on the Mount of Transfiguration." He received Isaiah 62:6-7 as a command from God. "On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and night they will never keep silent You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves, And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth." "How often in the prayer room he would break out into tears over the sins of the world and especially for God's children."
J. Pengwern Jones recalls the prayer life of John Hyde. "He was always on his knees when I went to bed, and on his knees long before I was up in the morning, though I was up with the dawn. He would also light the lamp several times in the night, and feast on some passages of the Word, and then have a little talk with the Master. He sometimes remained on his knees the whole day. The Spirit made him an object-lesson to us, that we might have a better idea of Christ's prayer life."
John Hyde was one of a company of men who were used of God to usher in Apostolic power at the turn of the century. While Evan Roberts was praying down glory in Wales, John Hyde, Jonathan Goforth and Frank Bartleman were praying for an outpouring of God's Spirit that would literally touch every corner of the world. "John Hyde saw the nineteenth century as good, but not up to the level of the apostolic age, but believed that the twentieth century was destined to be one in which the full life of apostolic Christianity would be restored to the Church. His prayer was for a Church holy in life, triumphant in faith, self-sacrificing in service, with one aim, to preach Christ crucified to the uttermost parts of the earth."