Sermon Illustrations


Missionary John Hyde went to India a little over a hundred years ago. John felt a strong calling to the nation of India and began to spend hours in an attempt to learn the local language. Then the day came. It was in 1892 that he boarded a steamer in New York bound for the nation of India.

On the ship, John received a telegram from a close family friend. He opened it hurriedly on the deck of the ship. The only words of the telegram were, "John Hyde, are you filled with the Holy Spirit?" John's response was one of heated anger. He crumpled the paper, put it into his pocket and went to bed.

Unable to sleep, he tossed and turned all night. He arose from bed in the early morning hours, took the piece of paper and read it again. He thought, "The audacity of somebody to ask me that question, 'Am I filled with the Holy Spirit?' Here I am a missionary, sincere, dedicated, leaving my home and going to another country. How dare they ask me if I am filled with the Holy Spirit?" Wasn't he equipped for his call? After all he had received a B.A. degree, studied the language, was even on the way and was determined to pursue his destiny.

Yes, he was on his way, but Hyde's spirit was challenged by the note. After much soul searching, he fell to his knees before the Father. "O God," he cried out, "the audacity of me thinking that I could pray or preach or witness or live or serve or do anything in my own strength and power. Fill me with your strength. Fill me with Your power."

John Hyde became one of the great missionary statesmen of all time. Why? Because of the Spirit which enabled him to face the challenges of his life in the power of God.

Upon arriving in India, John found himself on the field with three women and one other missionary among one million non-Christians. It was time to begin to fulfill his calling and begin to pioneer in a new land.

In many of those first years there was not a single convert. John was driven to prayer. Indeed, he would come to be known as "Praying Hyde."

In 1900-1901, Hyde writing home prophetically tells what the Lord had showed him in prayer about the new century: that the new century would be a time of Pentecostal power and a double portion of the Holy Spirit would be poured out; that a great conviction would come and many would be born again. He saw a full apostolic Christianity restored to the church. Hyde believed that a great revival would occur after an understanding of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He often preached a message, "You Shall Receive Power After."

By 1908 -- 16 years after his arrival in India -- John Hyde dared to pray what was to many at the annual convention an impossible request: that during the coming year in India one soul would be saved every day. Three hundred sixty five people converted, baptized, and publicly confessing Jesus as their Savior.

Impossible -- yet it happened. Before the next convention John Hyde had prayed more than 400 people into God's kingdom, and when the prayer union gathered again, he doubled his goal to two souls a day. Eight hundred conversions were recorded that year, and still Hyde showed an unquenchable passion for lost souls. At the 1910 convention, those around Hyde marveled at his faith, as they witnessed his near violent supplications, "Give me souls, oh God, or I die!" Before the meeting ended, John Hyde revealed that he was again doubling his goal for the coming year. Four souls a day, and nothing less.

During the next twelve months John Hyde's ministry took him throughout India. By now he was known as "Praying Hyde," and his intercession was sought at revivals in Calcutta, Bombay, and other large cities. If on any day four people were not converted, Hyde said at night there would be such a weight on his heart he could not eat or sleep until he had prayed through to victory.

The number of new converts continually grew. He would often ask ministers, "Is the Spirit first in your pulpits?" He was referring to John 15, "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning." (John 15:26-27)

(Source: from a sermon by Brian Matherlee, "Filled Up or a Quart Low?" 7/14/08,

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