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Revival Fire

Praying Hyde of India/Pandit Ramabhai/Dorsey/Sadhu Sundar Singh

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Revivalists from India

Praying Hyde of India*Pandita Ramabhai*Rev.John Llyod Dorsey*Sadhu Sundar Singh

Praying Hyde of India 

In 1892 an American Presbyterian missionary sailed for India, received a new infilling of the Holy Spirit, and soon formed a prayer fellowship for Gods work and revival across north India.  This was John Hyde, who in time became as Praying Hyde. 

A man of prayer 

From the time that John Hyde was filled with the Spirit shortly after arriving in India in 1892, he began to put special emphasis upon prayer in his life.  The Punjab state where Hyde was stationed was practically barren of conversions.  Hyde immediately began praying for revival.  But it was twelve years before he saw an answer to his prayer. Hyde kept on depositing prayer in the bank of heaven.  In 1896, he felt God granted his request to be a real Israel, a wrestler with God, a prince prevailing. 

The Presbyterian mission united in prayer every Sunday for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them.  By 1899 Hyde was beginning to spend whole nights in prayer.  He felt strongly that prayer was the only hope for results in India.  Wherever he spoke, his deepest concern was to communicate the need for all those involved in missionary work to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. 

In April 1904, Hyde and several other missionaries laid the foundation for the Punjab Prayer Union.  Its purpose was to pray for revival and harvest in the Punjab and India.  Each member of the Prayer Union was asked to answer these questions: 

  1. Are you praying for quickening in your own life, in the life of your fellow-workers, and in the church?
  2. Are you longing for greater power of the Holy Spirit in your own life and work, and are you convinced that you cannot go on without this power?
  3. Will you pray that you may not be ashamed of Jesus?
  4. Do you believe that prayer is the great means for securing this spiritual awakening?
  5. Will you set apart one-half hour each day as soon after noon as possible to pray for this awakening, and are you willing to pray until the awakening comes?

The Sialkot Convention 

A general call went out through India for all Christian workers to gather in late August 1904 at Sialkot in the Punjab at the United Presbyterian Mission center.  For one month, before the convention began, John Hyde, R.M.Paterson and George Turner spent days and nights in prayer.  At the convention itself, there were two prayer rooms, one for women and another for men, and once the convention began, the prayer rooms were never vacant.  Hyde was there almost constantly.  Many Indians also joined in the prayer rooms, some of them spending whole nights in prayer. 

Each time Hyde attended a Sialkot convention; he virtually never slept, spending most of his time in the prayer room.  In that very first convention the spirit of revival began, and there was humble confession of sin, making things right with God and man, and new liberty in Christ Jesus.  In the 1905 convention, Hyde was in the prayer room day and night.  It was his mount of transfiguration. 

Revival had begun.  Missionaries who up to that time had been good missionaries now became powerful missionaries.  Often Hyde fasted until his bodily strength gave out.  God laid upon the hearts of the people the burden of a world battered and bound in sin.

O HEAVENLY FATHER! 

Often during this and later conventions, Hyde and Paterson, after praying all night, would spend the day in fasting.  In one service, Praying Hyde stood before the people and spoke three words in Urdu and in English: O Heavenly Father.  A great tide of blessing swept over the service.  Hearts were melted, open confession of defeats and sin broke forth, and many people received new victories. 

God sent revival to a Presbyterian girls school where Mary Campbell ministered.  The Holy Spirit brought confession of sins and real repentance.  Then the revival spirit touched the theological seminary.  Visitors from the Sialkot Convention came to Ludhiana, and God brought revival to the boys school there. 

By 1906, there were 1300 people present at the Sialkot Convention, including 70 missionaries.  Day and night intercession was made. God began to send revival to other districts of the American Presbyterian Mission.  The Fatehpur and Fatehgarh areas, between November 1905 and November 1906, reported many professions of faith and many receiving the Holy Spirit.

 

 

PANDITA RAMABHAI -  a woman mightily used of God 

A social worker 

Pandita Ramabhai, a brilliant and famous Hindu social reformer, became a nominal Christian but in 1891 was wonderfully converted.  She had built a centre for Indian widows, and she bore a special burden for the younger widows and orphans, many of who came to the centre as famine victims.  In 1898, while visiting the Keswick Convention, Ramabhai pled with the four thousand gathered there to pray for evangelisation and revival in India.  In 1901, she had some two thousand girls in her institution, which she called Mukti (salvation-deliverance), near Pune south of Bombay. 

A humble beginning 

Ramabhai felt strongly the need for revival among her young widows in India and throughout the whole world.  For more than five years, Ramabhai challenged her friends in her magazine, the Mukti Prayer Bell.  From 1899 onwards, she spent much time in fasting and prayer.  In September 1901, she began a special prayer meeting for the outpouring of the Spirit.  There was much blessing in December and January, and twelve hundred of her Mukti girls were baptized.  All professed to have accepted Christ, and many were truly born again.  In July 1902, God sent to Mukti three weeks of real revival, and some six hundred were saved.  In 1903, Ramabhai heard of revival blessings in Australia connected with the Torrey-Alexandaer campaign.  So she sent her daughter to Australia to enlist prayer for India among the hundreds of newly formed prayer circles. 

Prayer circles

In December 1904, Ramabhai received word of the revival God had just sent to Wales, and her hunger for an outpouring of the Spirit deepened.  She started prayer circles of ten girls each, urging them to pray for the salvation of all nominal Christians in India and for the outpouring of the Spirit in India and across the world.  At first, there were seventy in her prayer circles there.  She sent out a call for other prayer circles to be formed among friends and supporters, giving each a list of ten unsaved girls or women for whom to pray.  Within six months, there were 550 at Mukti who met twice a day to pray for revival. 

Revival at Mukti 

While these groups were longing and praying for revival in western India, God was doing simultaneous work in northeast India in the Khasi hills of Assam.  Ramabhai got word of the early outpourings of the Spirit in Assam and the evangelistic witnessing that followed.  She asked for volunteers from among her Mukti girls to give up their secular studies and go out into the villages to preach the Gospel.  Thirty young women volunteered and met daily to pray for the endowment of the Holy Spirit.  After some days of praying, on June 29, 1905, the Holy Spirit came upon a larger group of the girls, with weeping, confession of sins, and prayers for empowerment. 

One of the thirty volunteers was so set aflame spiritually that the other girls saw a vision of fire engulfing and surrounding her.  One of the other girls ran across the room to grab a pail of water to throw on her, only to discover that the fire, though visible, was not literal.  It was the fire of the Spirit as seen in Old Testament times and at Pentecost. 

The next day, June 30, while Ramabhai taught from John 8, the Spirit came in power.  All the women and girls began to weep, confess their sins, and pray for an endowment of the Holy Spirit.  Girls became stricken down under conviction of sin while studying, attending the industrial school or at work.  Lessons were suspended, and all Mukti began seeking God.  Two young girls were so gripped with the power of the Spirit that they prayed for hours and hours, until their faces literally shone with a heavenly light. 

As soon as the girls had fully repented and received the assurance of forgiveness, they began to pray for sanctification and baptism by the Holy Spirit.  They searched their hearts before God until He showed them their inner impurities.  Many girls had visions of the body of sin within themselves.  They testified that the Holy Spirit came into them with holy burning, which they called a baptism of fire that was almost unbearable.  The girls then became flooded with peace and joy until their faces radiated Gods glory. A report sated as follows: 

One little girl of twelve is constantly laughing her face, plain, even ugly, is beautiful and radiant.  She does not know it.  She is occupied with Jesus.  You think you have looked on an angel face.  Some claim to have seen the Lord one, a blind girl.  All speak of His coming again.  One sang hymns, composing them as she sang lovely hymns to Indian tunes. 

June 30, 1905 is the day revival truly began in India.  It spread across the country to Pune, Mumbai, Yeotmal, Manmad, Hoshangabad, Ratnagiri, Dhond, Allahabad, Aurangabad, and towns in Gujarat. 

Waves of Prayer 

Another account from the Mukti revival states: It is the marvellous spirit of prayer that has been most evident.  Waves of prayer go over the meetings like rolling thunder; hundreds pray audibly together.  Sometimes after ten or twenty minutes it dies away and only a few voices are heard, then it will rise again and increase in intensity; on other occasions it goes on for hours. 

During these seasons there is usually some confessing their sins, often with bitter weeping which is painful to hear.  The conflict seems so great that they are almost beside themselves. It reminds one of the narratives in the Gospels about our Lord casting out evil spirits, and truly evil spirits are being cast out.  There is much one cannot understand at first, but one grows by His grace into the work and learns to distinguish by the outward signs as well as by the Spirits inward teaching the false from the true.  Satan counterfeits all that the Lord does, and is working hard to hinder and spoil the work of God, but he is a conquered foe! 

The praying bands of Ramabhais were sent to other places like schools and mission stations of different denominations, and in many places, a deep revival work resulted.  Those who visited the Mukti remarked that they had never been in any places where there was so much time given to Bible study and prayer.

Our beloved Rev.Dorsey
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Rev.Dorsey (center) taking bible study in Delhi

Rev.John Llyod Dorsey

By Job Anbalagan 

Rev.John Llyod Dorsey was born in Blacksburg, South Carolina, USA on 22-11-1924 and left this world to be with Jesus on 17-9-2002 in New Delhi, India. He was a member of the Presbyterian denomination. Hearing the call of God, he came to India in 1947 and served his Master faithfully till his last breath for 55 years in India. He was one of the few missionaries who had opted to stay in India, notwithstanding the fierce opposition to them in this country. God had not blessed the Dorsey couple with any child because, probably, God wanted this couple to treat the children in India as their own. He and his wife founded a Christian School, called Faith Academy, in New Delhi in 1964, which grew into an elite Christian educational institute, over the years, by dint of his hard and tireless work.

Rev.Dorsey lived a life, which was simpler than a middle class Indian. He did not own a car for his personal use and used to visit the nearly areas in the slum colonies and in the neighbourhood only on his bicycle. He preached the gospel to the poor and used to conduct regular bible classes for the post graduate students of a famous Government research institute in Delhi, who were mostly Hindu students.


He was a man of prayers, and was a great source of strength and of comfort to those who were in tears. He had never sought after the pulpits of big churches but was preaching sermons in house churches, fellowship meetings, etc. He had not hankered for any position in the Christian world but was silently doing the will of God in his life.


Many students of Faith Academy belonging to other religions were touched by his simple life of devotion and of discipline.


When the health of his dear wife deteriorated, he sent her home in 1991, and chose to remain in India to carry on Gods work. He sacrificed everything at the altar of God. Normally, a couple in their advanced age would not like to part with each other. Rev.Dorsey died of a massive heart attack on 18-9-2002, following a surgery on his leg in Delhi. At the time of his death, Mrs.Dorsey was not here. Due to her ill health, she could not reach Delhi for the funeral service of her beloved husband. Dorsey was conscious of his home call on the deathbed and spent his last hours in prayers and in hearing the Word. On the deathbed, he expressed his desire to the people around him that he should be buried in a burial ground in Delhi which is meant for the poor Christians. His desire was fulfilled.


During his memorial service on 21-9-2002, many testified that he was a true servant of God and disciple of Christ Jesus.


In this connection, I want to share my personal testimony about this great servant of God. On 24-12-1997, a day before Christmas, my beloved mother slept in the Lord. Since it fell on a day preceding Christmas, the pastor of my own church, due to his preoccupation with the Christmas celebrations, could not attend the funeral service at the War Cemetery, Delhi. But Rev.Dorsey was there, to our great surprise. He did not know my mother personally. He came there to comfort us and to pray for us. This
incident is evergreen in my memory.

These days, there are ministers of God in our midst who perform signs and wonders in Jesus Name and who love to preach in big churches and in big evangelistic crusades. But hardly we find any servant of God like Dorsey who had left the luxury and comfort of own nation to serve God in another nation where there are extreme climates, opposition to the glorious gospel, and a dearth of comforts and luxuries.

Through the life of Dorsey, the Lord showed the insufficiency in my life to serve Him. On the memorial service, I rededicated my life to His service in the footsteps of Rev.Dorsey.
 

The Holy Spirit exhorts us to follow the footsteps of this great servant of God and to bring the revival fire to our churches through his life and ministry.

SADHU SUNDAR SINGH

Sadhu Sundar Singh, known as the Holy Man of India and the Apostle of Christ from India, had lived and died for Christ during the early 20th century (1889-1929). Sundar Singh was raised a devout Sikh, and consecrated from his youth to become a Hindu Sadhu (hermit). However, his spiritual longings were not fulfilled until emotional and spiritual turmoil drove him to urgently ask the true living God to reveal Himself fully, lest he take his own life in the hope of finding peace in the next life. Barely hours, before he intended to take his own life, the young Sundar Singh had a dramatic vision of Jesus Christ.  Immediately the emptiness and despair that had filled his heart was lifted, and his search for inner peace was over. The outcome was strikingly similar to that described in Acts 9:3-5 of the Bible's New Testament. Thereafter, the born again Sadhu became a living witness of the eternal security, peace and comfort he had freely received. Despite opposition and rejection at home, he soon knew that he had to share his faith throughout the towns and villages of India, and beyond into the dangerous mountain regions of Tibet.  As Sundar Singh moved through his twenties his ministry widened greatly, and long before he was thirty years old his name and picture were familiar all over the Christian world.   What better way than to put on the robes of a Sadhu, and to take to the road with no guarantee of food or shelter, but with a passionate desire to live as his Master had done before him? 

Please click here to read certain outstanding snippets from his biography

 

 

 

 

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