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About Derek Prince

Derek Prince (1915-2003) was born in Bangalore India, to a British military family. As a small child, Derek lived in an exotic, violent, clashing world where East met West. Derek would spend the first decades of his life torn by the pull of the two opposing cultures: England and India.

 

When the Hebrew translation of Derek and Lydia Prince's book, Appointment in Jerusalem was first published and released in in Israel, DPI invited Johanna and Kirstin, daughters of Derek and Lydia to the book launching celebration in Jerusalem. In this video from 2006, Johanna, born to a Jewish mother in Israel and Kirstin, born to Arab Muslim parents near Ramallah, talk to DPI about life growing up as the daughters of Derek and Lydia Prince.



Derek Prince was a son of the upper class, “a hippie before there were hippies,” who learned to fulfill his duties to the utmost perfection, yet he would always feel a mystical draw, the lure of a world outside his own.

At the age of 5, Derek was sent back to England, where he attended the most exclusive boarding schools, including Eton and Cambridge, where he excelled, for the rest of his childhood and adolescent years. Derek’s years at Cambridge brought him into contact with some of the luminaries of the age. He studied under the famed philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

In a search after the true meaning of life, Derek devoted himself to studying philosophy. He read every word that Plato ever wrote-in the original Greek. However before long, when Derek found that Philosophy did not have a very clear or positive answer, he turned to Oriental cults—yoga, theosophy, and voodoo. Yet again, he ended up in disillusionment. He had a spiritual experience, but that did not make him happy. In fact, it was followed by a gray depression that settled around him. Nonetheless, looking back, he achieved success, according to the standard of this world.

He had a solid reputation in his field, he had written an acclaimed dissertation of Plato’s method of definition and its evolution. He wrote poetry in Latin and Greek. Still, he was confused and frustrated with this world, and longed for “something that was real.”

In 1940, just before the first German bomb was dropped on England, Derek was summoned to appear before a tribunal to declare his willingness to bear arms. He decided he could not. Shortly thereafter, he was drafted into the Royal Army, as a noncombat soldier. Before enlisting in the army, Derek realized that he would not have much room in his kit for books. He must think of one large, engaging volume-preferably on philosophy-that he had never read before. It must last him for months, and even be enjoyed for a second read, and it must make him a better philosopher in the end. He settled on the bible. His decision made, he went and bought himself a large black King James Bible, the first he ever owned. He began reading it from the beginning. By the time he got to the book of Job, he was tempted to dismiss the whole matter of religion as merely a condition of psychology and social class—a view that was popular at the time at Cambridge. Still, when he looked at his own life—he knew that he was indeed desperate for God.

One night when everyone in his barracks was asleep, Derek put an army issue stool in front of the window in his room, where there was a clear view of the ocean. He was determined to pray until “something happened.” However, having never prayed before, he didn’t know what to say or who to pray to. As he contemplated this, Jesus appeared to him dramatically. Derek was totally changed by this encounter.

“From that day to this, I never doubted that Jesus is alive. I discovered what I had failed to understand for so long, that truth is not just an abstraction, religion or creed. Rather, it is a person. In Jesus, I finally resolved that awful conflict that had been troubling me for so many years. Jesus’ life, words, teaching, but above all—his person, they were the answer to that unsatisfied craving that had driven me for so many years."

Derek was soon transferred from his training camp in England to his new post in the deserts of North Africa. During this time, without a formal church, pastor or bible teacher, Derek came to know God personally through reading the bible. He learned to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice and to discern his will. More than ever, he burned with a sense of destiny, with a message he knew the people of his generation needed to hear. It wasn’t long before Derek met Lydia on a leave from the army in Palestine.

“She radiated deep faith and love for Jesus. That is what first drew me to Lydia.”

Later, Derek was transferred from his post in Sudan to Palestine, which afforded him more time with Lydia. During this time, God revealed to Derek his own plan for his life.

“I have called thee to be a teacher of the scriptures, in truth and faith and love, which are in Jesus Christ—for many."

Derek spent his off-duty time in Palestine in Ramallah, at Lydia’s Children’s Home. Soon they married, and Derek adopted Lydia’s 8 adopted daughters. The war had ended, and Derek was discharged from the army. Derek now entered the life of a newly married man, a father of eight, and a missionary.

WWII had ended, the whole world was picking up the pieces, settling down. Yet Derek sensed that something monumental was yet to happen. He began to seek God, to find out what the immediate future has in store.

“The Old City [of Jerusalem] spread out before me, I felt how dearly I loved [this city]. I was thinking about the future when it felt to me as though I stopped thinking in linear time and I thought only in the dimensions of Jerusalem. It was as though my thoughts about history and our times dissolved into the geography that lay before me. Bible verses began to flood my mind about Israel and the specific features of Jerusalem. Passage after passage seemed no longer descriptive of an ancient land but of present realities as though I was reading a travel guide for modern Israel out of the pages of the bible. I had this deep feeling that world history and my life were bound together through the geography that lay before me. I don’t know if I can explain it. It was as though I was trying to think about the future and my spirit was telling me that the future was here in this place. It seemed that the bible, history and the course of my life were all overlaid on the geography of Israel, that they all became one.

I knew then that my life was intertwined with Israel and that Israel, in some sense determined the history of the world. I remember feeling that whatever was next for the world, the nations would have to deal with the land of Israel. And I remember feeling how thankful I was to be there, how I wasn’t at all removed from the flow of history, but I was at that moment in the middle of biblical prophecy and at the focal point of the times. I understood that no matter the promises about my life that God had given me, they would come to pass only in connection with this land. I knew that my destiny was tied to the destiny of Israel.”

Although Derek and Lydia left Israel with their 8 daughters in the wake of Israel’s war for independence, for the rest of their life, as they travelled the globe teaching the bible, they never ceased teaching the nations about God’s love for Israel and the Jewish people, and the importance of the Land in God’s plan for the world.

Derek Prince owned a home in Jerusalem, and during the latter part of his life, he spent 6 months a year in his Jerusalem home, where he died in 2003.

Together with Lydia, and later with his second wife, Ruth, after Lydia’s passing, Derek spent his life travelling, explaining and teaching the bible in a clear and simple way.

Derek Prince is the author of over 40 books, and hundreds of video and audio teaching tapes, many of which have been translated into tens of languages.