We are called to “make disciples in every nation.” That means we are to “seek and save the lost” as Jesus did. The key to success in this endeavour is prayer.
The beautiful thing about prayer is that it can break down any obstacle, open any door, and change any circumstance. When you are *compelled to tell others about Jesus, prayer is the key God has given you to unlock the doors of opportunity and to allow you to walk right into your divine appointment.
- “compels” is a Bible word that Paul uses to describe how he felt and what he understood about the task of telling others about Jesus. It means to be “pushed out” and propelled into the world of non-believers absolutely needing to share the good news of Jesus’s death and resurrection.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (NIV)
This truth regarding prayer is exemplified in the life of John Hyde, the son of a Presbyterian minister, who moved to China in 1892. At that time he was only one of five known Christian missionaries in a region consisting of nearly one million non-Christians. Physically challenged through partial deafness, John Hyde soon realized something that was stronger than his weakness: The power of prayer.
After many years of very little success and very few conversions to Christ, John Hyde began to pray what many thought to be an impossible request: “God, give me one soul today.” Because of his dismal beginnings as a missionary, this prayer seemed to be asking for the entire world. But he just wanted to lead one soul to Jesus Christ every day. All throughout the year, he kept track, and at the end of 1908, he had in fact led over four hundred people to Christ.
That was just the beginning for John Hyde.
In 1909, he prayed that God would give him two souls every single day. Not only did he ask God to double his efforts, but John Hyde also doubled his prayer time. Again, at the end of that year, his figures showed some eight hundred people who had accepted Jesus as their Saviour. By 1910, John Hyde’s commitment to prayer and his reputation earned him his nickname “Praying John Hyde.” His fervent prayer became known throughout the Christian community worldwide.
“Give me souls, O God, or I die! God, give me souls!”
In 1910, he once again asked God for double: four souls a day. Nothing less. God was once again faithful to answer his prayer, and over 1,600 people came to salvation during that year!
A few years later, John Hyde died. The medical examiner discovered something truly amazing. His heart had literally shifted in his chest cavity, moving from the left side of his body to the right. There was no logical medical explanation for this phenomenon. However, many believed this was partially due to the intense burden for prayer that was laid upon his heart.
The life of “Praying John Hyde” is more than just a good story; it is a true-life example of the spiritual effectiveness that is released when prayer is combined with the leading of the Holy Spirit. John Hyde translated his burden for the lost into commitment, time, prayer, and a daily reliance on God’s faithfulness. Each and every morning you and I can adopt his same passionate plea, “God, give me souls!” And watch and see what God will do.