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Unless She Dances

Notes & Transcripts

John Hyde, better known as “Praying Hyde,” led a life of incredibly intense prayer as a missionary to India at the turn of the century. Some thought him morose. But a story about him reveals the true spirit behind his life of sacrificial prayer.

A worldly lady once thought she would have a little fun at Mr. Hyde’s expense. So she asked, “Don’t you think, Mr. Hyde, that a lady who dances can go to heaven?” He looked at her with a smile and said quietly, “I do not see how a lady can go to heaven unless she dances.” Then he dwelt on the joy of sin forgiven.28

Samuel Zwemer, famous for his missionary work among the Muslims, gives a stirring witness to the joy of sacrifice. In 1897 he and his wife and two daughters sailed to the Persian Gulf to work among the Muslims of Bahrein. Their evangelism was largely fruitless. The temperatures soared regularly to 107 “in the coolest part of the verandah.” In July 1904 both the daughters, ages four and seven, died within eight days of each other. Nevertheless, fifty years later Zwemer looked back on this period and wrote, “The sheer joy of it all comes back. Gladly would I do it all over again.

John Piper, Desiring God (Sisters, Or.: Multnomah Publishers, 2003), 246.

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