Have you come across any Hudson Taylor?

“I live the most boring life in the whole of Barnsley, probably in the whole of England. Why do I have to be stuck here listening to this morning after morning? I was listening to my father read from the Bible. I glanced around at my two younger sisters, Amelia and Louisa. They were praying in perfect attention. How boring! Even at work in the bank, how naive to think that junior clerks would be impressed by the fact that in 1791 grandfather had built the town’s first Methodist Chapel on Pinfold Hill or that our family attended the Church every single Sunday after that. Coworkers laughed at this childish faith and challenged everything which always presumed to be correct about Christianity.

When told about Jesus and the Christian faith, I had presumed the person was telling me the truth. But was he? What if there was no real truth? What if people just believed because other people told them to believe? What about Christians being hypocrites? My co-workers always threw that one up. Were they right? ”

All the above thoughts made Hudson Taylor’s head swirl around since the time he had started working in the bank. His upbringing was sheltered, his experiences so narrow and his life down- right boring is what he thought until in June 1849, two years after leaving the bank, something changed Hudson’s life forever.

Sometimes actions carried out by different people in different places at different times can meet together in one moment and completely change the course of a life. The first action being carried out by his sister Amelia; at the age of fourteen years, who looked up to her older brother and had been worried about how he had drifted away from God. In her diary she made a note that she would pray for Hudson three times a day until he found peace with God. And she did so, faithfully. The second event happened a month later when Hudson’s mother went to spend several weeks with her sister. She spent an afternoon praying for Hudson. And on that same afternoon, back home, Hudson when feeling particularly bored picked up a religious booklet he had never seen before. And as he read, a phrase seemed to jump out at Hudson, “The finished work of Christ” which he couldn’t get out of his mind. He thought about it at length. If it was a finished work, then there was nothing he could do but accept that finished work. And so, in his hideaway in the old warehouse, Hudson Taylor invited Jesus Christ to come into his life.

The above text has been taken and adapted from a book I started reading (Benge & Benge, 1998) on the life of Hudson Taylor. The first two chapters in it remind us of a trait that we do observe in people around us and at times within us too. Some of us can relate to Hudson Taylor’s life of his initial journey of getting to know Christ. We all go through some struggle in life where we want to know the truth and get to know God better. Everybody does have a different situation though.

But amidst all this I have a question for you, “Do you believe in the power of prayer?” We surely do believe while praying for ourselves but what about praying for others? We simply think at times that we are too feeble to pray for someone to let a mighty miracle happen! Well, our God listens to even a few words of prayer.

A longing prayer of a mother and a simple prayer of a Sister (Amelia) changed Hudson Taylor’s life forever and for eternity. A revolution in itself, this Christian Hero deep into the heart of China could survive and sustain his mission by the power of prayer. If these prayers from an earnest heart of a mother and a sister could bring a turning point in Hudson’s life, then why won’t our prayers for our brethren? As 1 John 5: 14 (NIV), says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

The power of prayer has been experienced by all of us in our lives. A prayer from an earnest heart works wonders and so in life’s journey if you encounter, in your family, among your friends and relatives or even within you; any Hudson Taylor, pray that God saves and draws us closer to Him.

Philippians 4: 6-7 (NIV), “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Benge, J., & Benge, G. (1998). Hudson Taylor: Deep in the Heart of China.