The Passing of a Patriarch: Derek Prince

Author, biblical scholar and spiritual patriarch Derek Prince died in his sleep September 24, 2003, at his home in Jerusalem of heart failure following a prolonged period of declining health. Prince wrote over 50 books, including Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting and The Spirit-filled Believer's Handbook—which have been translated and distributed worldwide in over 100 languages. He pioneered teaching on such groundbreaking themes as generational curses, the biblical significance of Israel and demonology.

Born in Bangalore, India, into a British military family, Derek was educated at Eton College and Cambridge University (B.A. and M.A.) in England and later at Hebrew University, Israel. As a student he was a philosopher and self-proclaimed agnostic. He was elected a fellow at King’s College, Cambridge.

While in the British Medical Corps during World War II, Derek began to study the Bible as a philosophical work. Converted through a powerful encounter with Christ, he was baptized in the Holy Spirit a few days later.

Discharged from the army in Jerusalem in 1946, he married Lydia Christensen, founder of a children’s home there. Upon their marriage, he immediately became father to Lydia's eight adopted daughters—six Jewish, one Palestinian Arab, one English. In the late 1950s the Princes adopted another daughter while he was serving as principal of a college in Kenya.

In 1963 Derek and Lydia immigrated to the United States where he pastored a church in Seattle. Stirred by the tragedy of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Derek began to teach Americans how to intercede for their nation. In 1973 he became one of the founders of Intercessors for America. His book Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting has awakened Christians around the world to their responsibility to pray for their government. Many consider underground translations of the book as instrumental in the fall of communist regimes in the USSR, East Germany and Czechoslovakia.

In 1968 the Princes moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and in the early '70s Derek worked closely with other noted Bible teachers Don Basham, Ern Baxter, Bob Mumford and Charles Simpson.

Derek's organization, Derek Prince Ministries, distributes his work and teaches and trains missionaries, church leaders and congregations through 13 worldwide offices. His internationally recognized radio program, Keys to Successful Living (now known as Derek Prince Legacy Radio) began in 1979 and has been translated into over a dozen languages. It is estimated that Derek Prince’s teaching of the Bible has covered more than half the globe.

Lydia Prince died in 1975, and Derek married Ruth Baker (a single mother to three adopted children) in 1978. Ruth died in December 1998 in Jerusalem where they had lived since 1981.

Derek Prince taught and ministered on six continents over the course of seven decades. In 2002 he said, “It is my desire—and I believe the Lord’s desire—that this ministry continue the work God began through me over 60 years ago until Jesus returns.” He is survived by 11 children and an extended family of over 150 people. He was 88. The funeral was held in Jerusalem on Friday, September 26, 2003, with a memorial service held in Charlotte, North Carolina, Saturday November 1, 2003.