Early life and conversion
Derek Prince was born in India of British parents and was educated at Eton College and Kings College, Cambridge. He was a scholar of Greek and Latin, although at Cambridge he took Philosophy, specialising in logic and studying under Ludwig Wittgenstein. His MA dissertation was titled The Evolution of Plato’s Method of Definition, and won him a fellowship at the age of just 24.
Under the influence of vice-chancellor Charles Raven, Prince refused to bear arms in World War II, and instead joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was posted to Scarborough for training, and while in the Army Barracks he started reading the Bible (as a philosophical self-assignment). As a consequence in July 1941 Derek had what he described as a supernatural experience’, a meeting with Jesus. “Out of this encounter” he later wrote, ” I formed two conclusions: first, that Jesus Christ is alive; second, that the Bible is a true, relevant, up-to-date book. These conclusions altered the whole course of my life”. During the next three years, he was posted to North Africa, where he served in Egypt, the Sudan, and Palestine, and continued his bible studies.
The early years
Derek Prince was born in Bangalore, India, in 1915, into a world and a way of life which no longer exists. Kings, queens and emperors ruled over vast domains, and the British Empire exceeded them all. The British army and civil service governed the colonies, and India was the brightest jewel in the imperial crown. Derek says, ‘I was born into a family of ’empire builders. ‘My father, Paul Ernest Prince, was an officer in the Queen’s own Madras Sappers and Miners, his commission signed by Victoria’s own hand. My mother, Gwendolen, also born in India, was the daughter of Major General Robert Edward Vaughan. Her brother, a Punjab Lancer, later became a brigadier.’
As was customary in that society, Derek was promptly handed over to the care of an Indian ayah or nanny. Derek and his ayah accompanied his parents on journeys around India while he was still small enough to be carried in a tiffin or picnic basket. They traveled by railway, by horse and carriage, and sometimes in rickshaws. Even though motor cars and aeroplanes were becoming more common in the West, this was the normal traffic in India. Soldiers rode horses, and most people walked.
The pace of life was slow. People wrote letters and sent them off to England, sometimes waiting weeks for a reply. In a real emergency, the telegraph could be used, but to Derek ‘home’ in England seemed a very remote place.
Yet, when Derek was five, he said goodbye to his father, his ayah, and his Indian playmates and boarded the ship for ‘home’. Along with the other passengers, he dangled his topee (sun helmet) overboard until it sank, as a symbol of his farewell to India. His mother took him to her parents’ home in Sussex, and then she also departed, leaving him until their next furlough.
Those early years shaped Derek’s character and the course of his life. Even though he was the only son and the only grandson, he was expected to behave like a good soldier. His grandparents were kind to him, at the same time training him to excel in whatever he did and to be prepared to carry on the family military tradition.
As a young child he learned to entertain himself. He says, ‘I always had friends, but I enjoyed my own company most.’ When he discovered the world of books, he began his search to find out what life was about.
At the age of nine Derek was sent off to boarding school, leaving his grandparents whom he loved dearly. From that time on all his teachers and associates were masculine. In the school system of that time both class work and sports were highly competitive. He participated enthusiastically and successfully in sports, and academically, he was usually at the top of his class. His early training in diligence and thoroughness enabled him to maintain that position.
When he was thirteen, his headmaster entered his name in the competitive exam for a place at Eton College, and he was one of the fourteen boys of his age to be enrolled as king’s scholars in the election of 1929. Like other boys his age, he had begun to study Latin at the age of nine and Greek at ten and was writing and translating verse in both languages by the time he was twelve. As he studied the classics, he became more enthralled with the realm of ideas and was drawn toward philosophy. At the back of his mind was always the tantalizing question: What is the real meaning and purpose of life?
His father, who retired as a colonel and settled in a country home in Somerset, encouraged him in his quest. In 1934, his father gave him an allowance of twenty pounds per month, and Derek set off with a friend to ‘see the Continent.’ Derek’s aptitude for languages enabled him to find the cheapest rooms and food in a time when few people his age were traveling. He often found the local people and customs more interesting than museums and ruins, even in Rome and Athens where the classics had been written.
Upon his return to England, Derek entered King’s College, Cambridge, as the senior scholar of his year. (King’s is a sister college of Eton.) There also he distinguished himself academically, and from 1938 to 1940 he was the senior research student of Cambridge University. He specialized in the philosophy of Plato and entitled his dissertation ‘The Evolution of Plato’s Method of Definition.’ In 1940, at the age of twenty-four, he was elected a fellow of King’s College, Cambridge.
Derek’s academic career, however, was interrupted abruptly by World War II. On the basis of his philosophical convictions, he chose to enter the forces as a non-combatant and began as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
At this point he decided to look into another kind of philosophy about which he knew very little. He bought a new black leather-bound Bible for his reading material in the army. He had been christened and confirmed as an Anglican and had attended required chapel services during his five years at Eton. At age eighteen, however, he had concluded that ‘religion does not do much for me’ and only attended chapel at King’s College when it was his turn to read the lesson. For the first nine months in the army he ploughed his way through the Bible, finding it baffling and bewildering, unlike any other book he had ever read. He said, ‘I couldn’t categorise it. Was it history, philosophy, literature, theology, poetry – or even divinely inspired?’
Then in a billet in Yorkshire in July 1941, he met the Author. Recalling that supernatural experience, he says:
Out of that encounter, I formed two conclusions which I have never had reason to change: first, that Jesus Christ is alive; second, that the Bible is a true, relevant, up-to-date book. These two conclusions radically and permanently altered the whole course of my life. Immediately the Bible became clear and intelligible to me; prayer and communion with God became as natural as breathing; my main desires, motives and purposes in life were transformed overnight.
I had found what I was searching for! The meaning and purpose of life is a Person!
Marriage and the growth of his ministry
While serving in Palestine, Prince met Lydia Christensen, a Danish woman who ran an orphanage in Ramallah and who had adopted eight girls (six of whom were Jewish). Despite Lydia being 25 years Prince’s senior, they married. Prince strongly supported the establishment of the State of Israel, which he saw as the fulfilling of Biblical prophecy, but he left for the UK with the last British convoy out of Jerusalem. In 1949 he resigned his Fellowship at King’s. In the UK, Prince used Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park, London, to encourage people to join a Pentecostal church he was leading at his home in Notting Hill. In 1957 he and Lydia moved to Kisumu in Kenya, where he became a school principal and adopted a Kenyan baby. He had his prayers answered on two occasions when he prayed for people to be raised from the dead during this time. In 1962, the Princes moved to Canada, and from there to a pastorate at Peoples Church in Minneapolis, becoming US citizens. From here they moved to Broadway Tabernacle in Seattle where he ministered along with James A Watt whom he had met in Canada. During this time Prince was becoming widely known through his cassette-tape Bible lectures, and he became involved with the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International. This led to a move to Faith Tabernacle in Chicago, and then to Good News Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In May 1971 Derek Prince Publications opened offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Derek Prince Publications became Derek Prince Ministries in December 1990.
Lydia Prince died 5 October 1975, the same year her biography was published, Appointment in Jerusalem. Derek later married Ruth Baker, who he had also met in Jerusalem,They married 17 October 1978. In 1981 they moved from Florida to Jerusalem where they lived six months out of the year. The ’80s saw tremendous growth of the ministry.
1984 – Derek Prince Ministries (DPM)-South Pacific office opened in New Zealand and DPM-South Africa. The Global Outreach Leaders Program began which made Derek’s material available for free to Christian leaders around the world. Distribution reached 200,000 books to 124 pastors and leaders by 1995. Living Sacrifice (in Chinese) began airing under Derek’s Chinese name Ye Guang-Ming (Clear Light in English).
1985 – DPM-Australia and Canada offices opened.
1986 – DPM-UK office opened and The Workman God Approves started airing in Chinese. Derek Prince Interpretiruet Biblia started airing in Russia
1987 – German missionary to Mongolia heard English broadcast (from Seychelles) and began to translate program into Mongolian.
1989 – DPM-Netherlands office opened,overseeing Eastern Europe and CIS countries.
Derek and Ruth traveled extensively in ministry up until the time of Ruth’s death on 29 December 1998. The following list of countries covers their ministry from 1993 to 1998. Some of these countries were visited more than once: Russia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Hungary, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey, Poland Bahrain, Cuba, Colombia, Switzerland, France, Portugal, India and England.
Derek’s radio program, which began in 1979, has been translated into more than a dozen languages and continues to touch lives. His main gift of explaining the Bible and its teaching in a clear and simple way has helped build a foundation of faith in millions of lives. Derek’s nondenominational, nonsectarian approach has made his teaching equally relevant and helpful to people from all racial and religious backgrounds, and his teaching is estimated to have reached more than half the globe.
In 2002, Derek said, “It is my desire—and I believe the Lord’s desire—that this ministry continue the work, which God began through me over 60 years ago, until Jesus returns.”
Derek Prince Ministries continues to distribute his teachings and to train missionaries, church leaders, and congregations through the outreaches of more than thirty DPM offices around the world, including primary work in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For current information about these and other worldwide locations, visit www.derekprince.com.
Lydia Christensen Prince
“Lydia Christensen Prince (1890–1975) was born in North Jutland, at the northern tip of Denmark, the youngest of four sisters in an affluent family. Her father was a successful builder who played an important role in developing their hometown of Brønderslev.
Lydia became a teacher in the state school system of Denmark and was a pioneer in the field of home economics. By 1925 she had obtained a post as director of home economics in a large new school in the town of Korsør. While seeking more meaning for her life, she started reading the Bible and received a vision of Jesus Christ that led to her salvation and baptism in the Holy Spirit. After months of earnest prayer and waiting upon God, she became convinced that God was asking her to give up her position as a teacher and go to Jerusalem in the tumultuous days before Israel became a nation.
In October 1928, at the age of thirty-eight, she set out for Jerusalem with about $200 in traveler’s checks, no mission or church to support her, and no idea of what she was to do when she arrived. She soon established herself there, learned Arabic, and founded a children’s home, becoming the cherished “mother” to dozens of Jewish and Arab orphans, mainly girls, eight of whom became her own children. She also began ministering the gospel to Arab women and later to the British soldiers who visited Jerusalem during their furloughs in World War II.
In the mid-1940s, she met and married Derek Prince, a philosophy and language scholar who was serving in the British army and was stationed in Jerusalem. They ministered there together until the birth of the State of Israel in 1948 when they moved to England with their eight girls.
The Princes served congregations, taught, and ministered while living in England, Africa (where they adopted their ninth daughter), Canada, and the United States. After settling in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, they began traveling internationally as Derek preached and taught the Bible in many nations of the world. Throughout these years, Lydia took care of their family, worked tirelessly and faithfully alongside Derek in their ministry, and even returned to her home economics roots when they were in Africa, teaching home economics to the African women students.
Following a stroke and a two-year illness, Lydia Prince died in October 1975. her death was deeply mourned by her family and thousands of people worldwide from a wide variety of backgrounds whose lives she had touched in her nearly fifty years of enthusiastic, energetic, and compassionate ministry.”
Ruth Baker Prince (1930-1998)
“Ruth came from a farming family, the eighth of ten children. Her father was of Norwegian descent. His ancestors in Norway included a number of pastors and schoolteachers. Ruth’s mother could trace her lineage back almost to the Mayflower.
The family was never wealthy. At times they were downright poor. Ruth grew up knowing that hard work and domestic chores are a part of daily life.
The family all attended the local Norwegian Lutheran church, but Ruth herself never came into any kind of personal relationship with Christ. In fact, she never knew that such a relationship was possible.
At the age of twenty Ruth enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, where she was promoted to the rank of sergeant. The commitment and discipline demanded by the Marine Corps had a profound and lasting effect on the rest of Ruth’s life. Her whole conduct invariably demonstrated discipline and dependability, and these were characteristics that she looked for and valued in others.
In the Marine Corps Ruth met and married a fellow Marine, who was Jewish. Neither of them had any strong religious convictions, but Ruth felt it appropriate to adopt her husband’s religion and went through a Conservative conversion to Judaism. This resulted in a lifelong commitment to the Jewish people. In due course, the couple adopted three Jewish children-a boy and two girls.
Some years later Ruth’s husband left her for another woman, and a divorce ensued. Ruth was left as a single mother with the responsibility of raising three children. Nevertheless, she succeeded in putting herself through college and was awarded a B.A. degree in education. Later, in ministry, Ruth was particularly sensitive to the problems of a single mother.
In 1968 Ruth received a supernatural revelation of Jesus Christ, accompanied by a miraculous healing. For about two years she struggled to reconcile this with her Jewish identity and her place in the synagogue. Eventually in 1970 she made a total, unreserved commitment of her life to Jesus and became involved in the early phases of the charismatic movement, which was then sweeping through the church in America.
Later Ruth participated in a Christian tour to Israel. While she was there, God sovereignly directed her to six successive passages of Scripture. From these she understood that God was asking her to leave everything that she had in the United States and to immigrate to Israel. After many struggles and frustrations she eventually succeeded in doing this, taking her youngest daughter with her.”
At the time of Prince’s death in September 2003 “he was the author of over 50 books, 600 audio and 100 video teachings, many of which have been translated and published in more than 100 languages.” Some of the subjects that are covered in his teachings are prayer and fasting, foundations of the Christian faith, spiritual warfare, God’s love and marriage and family to name a few.
Demons and deliverance
As a Pentecostal, Prince believed in the reality of spiritual forces operating in the world, and of the power of demons to cause illness and psychological problems. While in Seattle he was asked to perform an exorcism on a woman, and he came to believe that demons could attack Christians. This was at odds with the more usual Pentecostal view that demons could only affect non-Christians. Prince believed that his deliverance ministry used the power of God to defeat demons.
Prince, who taught on many themes and subjects including the foundational truths of the Bible, was probably most noted for his teachings about demons, deliverance ministry, and Israel. He strongly opposed replacement theology. His book The Destiny of Israel and the Church clearly establishes the Church has not replaced Israel and that the covenant that God made with the nation of Israel still stands today. Prince also believed that the creation of the state of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Derek states in his book Promised Land, “The central theme of biblical prophecy, as it is being unfolded in our time, revolves around the land and the people of Israel. God is carrying out His predetermined plan to regather the Jewish people from their worldwide dispersion and restore them to their ancient homeland.”
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More to Come ………..
More to Come ………..