Hudson Taylor was a remarkably fruitful missionary to China in the second half of the 19th century. Initially,Taylor studied to be a doctor in Whitechapel, London, England. During his studies, he answered the call to take the Gospel to China, and became one of the earliest Western missionaries there. Initially, Taylor’s efforts in China were met with high resistance; the Chinese utterly rejected him, and called him a “black devil,” due to the way he dressed, as an Englishman. Ultimately, Taylor would assume the dress, haircut and mannerisms of the Chinese, and became an incredibly impacting minister there – leading a mission that would found 125 schools and over 300 mission stations.

“f I had a thousand pounds China should have it—if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Saviour?”

Hudson Taylor was not a man of high charisma, big personality, or startling speaking ability. He was, instead, a rather soft-spoken and gentle person. The key to his success and fruitfulness lay not in the strength of his personality, but in his walk with God. He was mighty in prayer and mighty in the Word, and sacrificially gave himself to the FIRST business of abiding in Jesus (John 15:1-6.)

Hudson’s son Howard, would eventually write the below about his father in his book

To him, the secret of overcoming lay in daily, hourly fellowship with God; and this, he found, could only be maintained by secret prayer and feeding upon the Word through which He reveals Himself to the waiting soul. 

It was not easy for Mr Taylor to make time for prayer and Bible study, but he knew that it was vital. Well do the writers remember travelling with him month after month in northern China, by cart and wheelbarrow, with the poorest of inns at night. Often with only one large room for [laborers] and travelers alike,they would screen off a corner for their father and another for themselves, with curtains of some sort; and then, after sleep at last had brought a measure of quiet,they would hear a match struck and see the flicker of candlelight which told that Mr Taylor, however weary,was poring over his little Bible in two volumes always at hand. From two to four A.M. was the time he usually gave to prayer; the time when he could be most sure of being undisturbed to wait upon God. That flicker of candlelight has meant more to them than all they have read or heard on secret prayer; it meant reality, not preaching but practice.

The hardest part of a missionary career, Mr Taylor found, is to maintain regular, prayerful Bible study.Satan will always find you something to do, he would say, when you ought to be occupied about that, if it is only arranging a window blind. Fully would he have endorsed the weighty words:

– Howard Taylor, from: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.