(Extracted from the book, “Praying Hyde” by Francis McGaw. John Hyde was responsible for a great revival in the Punjab during the early years of the 20th century A.D.)
David’s mighty men are catalogued in the Scriptures; there were the first three, then the second three, and afterwards the thirty; Jesus had many unnamed disciples. He had the Twelve, but in the inner circle nearest to himself were the special three: Peter, James and John. Hundreds came to Sialkot (in the Punjab province of undivided India, in the years 1903-04) and helped mightily by prayer and praise. But God honored a few men as leaders. This sketch is not given to flattery or fulsome praise, but God’s Word says, “Honor to whom honor is due.”
God laid a great burden of prayer upon the heart of John N. Hyde, R. McCheyne Paterson, and George Turner for this wonderful convention. There was need for a yearly meeting for Bible study and prayer, where the spiritual life of the workers—pastors, teachers, and evangelists, both foreign and native,—could be deepened. The church-life in the Punjab (as indeed in all India) was far below the Bible standard; the Holy Spirit was so little honored in these ministries that few were being saved from among the Christless millions. Sialkot was the place selected for this meeting and 1904 became memorable as the date of the First Sialkot Convention.
Before one of the first conventions Hyde and Paterson waited and tarried one whole month before the opening day. For 30 days and 30 nights these godly men waited before God in prayer. Do we wonder that there was power in the convention ? Turner joined them after 9 days, so that for 21 days and 21 nights these three men prayed and praised God for a mighty outpouring of his power! Three human hearts that beat as one and that One, the heart of Christ yearning, pleading, crying, and agonizing over the church of India and the myriads of lost souls. Three renewed human wills that by faith linked themselves as with hooks of steel to the omnipotent will of God. Three pairs of fire-touched lips that out of believing hearts shouted, “It shall be done!”
Do you who read these words look at those long-continued vigils, those days of fasting and prayer, those nights of wakeful watching and intercessions, and do you say: “What a price to pay!” Then I point you to scores and hundreds of workers quickened and fitted for the service of Christ; I point you to literally thousands prayed into the kingdom and I say unto you, “Behold, the purchase of such a price!” Surely Calvary represents a fearful price.
But your soul and mine and the millions thus far redeemed and other millions yet to be redeemed, a wrecked earth restored back to Eden perfection, the kingdoms of this world wrested from the grasp of the usurper and delivered over to the reign of their rightful King!—when we shall see all this, shall we not gladly say, “Behold the purchase!”
FRANCIS A. MCGAW