Derek Prince - Home To Jerusalem
While I was at Kiryat Motzkin, a corporal in the Royal Army Medical Corps the Lord spoke to me very directly and personally. I spoke in an unknown tongue and then God gave me the interpretation. He said, I have called thee to be a teacher of the Scriptures in truth and faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus. And then there was a little pause and then He said, For many. That was in 1944. Now at the beginning of the new millennium, I think there is no way to even calculate how many people my teaching has reached. My radio broadcast, they tell me, is in thirteen languages at least. It’s in four Chinese dialects; it’s in Russian, Spanish and Arabic. So the potential listening audience for that is probably two billion people.
I don’t say this in any way to boast, I just say, it's Gods faithfulness. Also it’s God’s trustworthiness. I mean at that time I was a very insignificant person. I was a second-class nursing orderly. I just want to encourage anybody here, or anyone who ever listens to me to believe that God can do just what He says He will do. The important thing really is to hear what God is saying and know what He is saying to you personally, because He has a personal plan for each of our lives. In 1978, after I married Ruth, I knew the time had come to return to Jerusalem. I’d had a long connection with the city of Jerusalem, a very special relationship. I first came to Jerusalem in 1942, as a soldier on leave from the British Army in Egypt. And I was then already a Christian. I was fellowshipping with a number of Christian workers.
And I remember saying to one elderly Christian lady, I rather like Jerusalem, I think I’d like to live here. She gave me a very wise and prophetic answer, and she said, Derek, you don’t choose Jerusalem; Jerusalem chooses you. And at that moment I knew somewhere inside me that Jerusalem had chosen me. We ended up by building quite a substantial house. But let me say, once is enough to build a house in Jerusalem. There are all sorts of complications. For instance, there are three sacred days. For the Muslims it’s Friday, for the Jews it’s Saturday, and for the Christians it’s Sunday. So you get three days out of seven where you can’t count on your workers. And there are a number of other problems I won’t go into in detail. At any rate, we succeeded in building a house, a really rather lovely house. But we moved later from that to an apartment because we felt the house was owning us, rather than us owning the house.
There are times when the Lord speaks really personally and directly through a passage of Scripture, in a way that would not be a normal interpretation of the passage. And when I was still in the British Army in Number 16 British General Hospital on the Mount of Olives, I was reading in Isaiah chapter 22 one day. And I read about the man named Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. And the Lord said, I will make him a father to the house of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the house of Judah being the Jewish people. And this is a very subjective experience but it was like what I call 'heaven’s electricity' went through me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. And I felt God saying something which seemed incredible. He wanted me to be a father to the house of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I’d never tried to work that out or make it happen, but over the years it has come to a point in my life where that has been fulfilled.
So it is for me a very personal relationship that I have with the city of Jerusalem. When I married Ruth, my second marriage, we had a Jewish wedding ceremony. One of the things I had to do was crush the goblet under my feet and say, If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her cunning. And that was not just a ceremony for me. It was actually a personal commitment to the city of Jerusalem, to which I hold myself even to this day. When I first came to Jerusalem, I suppose there were maybe half a dozen real Jewish believers in the whole city. Maybe that’s a slight understatement, not very much. At this time, there are probably nearly twenty Hebrew-speaking Jewish congregations in this city alone. So though we might in a way still regard it a rather small proportion, it has grown in remarkable strides since I first came to know this city.
About this time, our ministry was expanding in two different directions. Ruth and I personally were traveling very widely. And I made a little reckoning some years ago that I had preached in at least fifty nations. Now that number must be greater. And Ruth and I made, I think, four round-the-world journeys of preaching, one of which lasted seven months. But in the same time, the distribution of my books and teaching material was also expanding in some rather remarkable ways which were a clear indication that it was God’s doing.
For instance, around 1977 I think, I went to New Zealand for some meetings and a young man came up to me and said — I think this is remarkable, He gave me some stationery to sign some letters and this stationery said, Derek Prince Ministries New Zealand. I said, You mean to say we have a Derek Prince Ministries in New Zealand? He said, I had to do, because you’re on the radio and people keep writing in and I had to have something. So that’s how Derek Prince Ministries New Zealand started — it started without me even being aware that it was there. And I’d have to say New Zealand has been a faithful and loyal friend to Derek Prince Ministries for many, many years. In fact, I’ve been on the air through the Christian radio program there, I think, consecutively without ceasing, for at least twenty years every day. And I meet people all over the world who say, I listen to you every morning at 6:30 A.M. And for that I take no credit whatever. It is solely the work of the Christians of New Zealand.
Another remarkable thing that happened, I’m not exactly clear about my dates, but I think it was about 1983. We received communication from an Englishman who was a missionary to China. He told us that he’d been taking his prayer walk on York race track in England. And the Lord had said to him, Take Derek Prince to China. And he, at that time, had not even met me. So he communicated with our office and told us what had happened. And our reply was, Well, if you can get my ministry on the air, we’ll trust God for the finance. In order to make my message acceptable, they gave me a Chinese name, which is Ye-Guang Ming, I can’t pronounce it right. I’m told it means clear light and I think there are millions of people in China, who actually believe I’m Chinese, because they did the job thoroughly. I mean, everything in the program was slanted to being Chinese.
In fact, my friend Ross Paterson was later in China and was with a certain pastor. And he, I think rather unwisely, said You know Ye-Guang Ming is really British. The man was so indignant, he was prepared to fight him about it. They did a very thorough job. So that humble beginning with radio — I think we were on eight stations, I forget how many, has expanded to the point where we are, I think, it’s in thirteen different languages today, and it’s worldwide. And again I have to say all the glory goes to God. I go back to that promise that He made me, that I would be a Bible teacher for many. And I believe that if God had tried to show me in 1944 how many it would be I would have been totally unable to believe it.
Towards the end of 1998, after Ruth and I had just celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary, the Lord called her home. I have no question that the Lord did it. She was in one of the best hospitals in Jerusalem, received excellent medical care. If anything could have been done to preserve her life it was done, but the Lord took her. And I simply have to say what Job said, The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away. But I feel that I owe it to Ruth, not just to myself, to complete my ministry. And I was looking backwards to the time we had together.
Now I’m beginning to look forwards to the time when we meet again. If I were to look back, which I don’t do very often, I’m always looking forward rather than back, I would say the mistakes I’ve made are more in motivation than in action. I was an only child, without brothers or sisters, and I was by nature a very self-centered person. God has only delivered me from self-centeredness very gradually over time. When I look back I could wish, I'd had a different attitude toward some of my fellow Christians. There’s a little song put to the tune of Danny Boy, which says, He looked beyond my faults and saw my needs. And that’s where I feel if I had to change, I would like to change and view my fellow Christians, looking beyond their faults and seeing their needs. In fact, God has brought me to that place to an amazing extent, because, when I talk to people now and their needs are exposed, I begin to feel their need as my need.
So God has been helpful, been wonderfully gracious to me and I give Him all the glory. What He’s really been dealing with me is my own character and my priorities. And they have changed significantly over the years. Of the various themes I’ve dealt with in my books and my other teaching, and there have been a wide variety of themes, I think the one which is most original, in the sense that I’ve never heard anybody else teach significantly on this theme, is the transition from curse to blessing. And I have seen it transform lives that were apparently hopeless, for whom there was no future. But not only that, I’ve seen it make a great difference in the lives of Christians who were relatively successful. I think the whole Western world has lost the understanding of what a curse is.
Now when you move outside of Europe or America, if you move to Africa or Asia or even South America, people will realize how powerful and how dangerous a curse is. But I feel that the people of the West are suffering under a curse and they don’t understand their diagnosis. And I have been able to help multitudes of people. But you see, I’ve never read another book or heard another sermon, that deals significantly with that theory, with that issue. I feel it’s a tremendous weakness, especially in the Western Church. It surprises me how much the Lord still seems to be pouring into me. I’m not producing fewer books, I’m producing more books. I just produced a book which I consider to be very significant on Husbands and Fathers and even in the midst of producing that I’ve started writing a book on Judging: Where, when and how?
And I still believe God wants me to write a book on holiness and probably on a vision for the church of the future. I’m just in the Lord’s hands but He just pours all this into me. And then again the Lord has given me, has added to the dimensions of my ministry in a rather surprising way. I have come to see, and I’m amazed how long it took me to see it, that one of the major responsibilities of all Christians is to care for orphans, widows, the poor and the oppressed. God has put such a burden on my heart that I can hardly speak about it without tears. This is totally a supernatural burden. It’s not the process of reasoning within me.
And I wonder and I say to myself, Why did God pick me? And at least I have this answer, that people cannot say to me, You haven’t been practicing what you preach. Because here I am the father of twelve adopted children. And the head of a family that numbers about one hundred fifty persons. So, I don’t claim any credit for that, God led me into it. But I do now have a passionate concern. Especially for single mothers and their children. Looking back I realize, I had never thought about it, I married a single mother twice. The first one gave me eight children, the next one gave me three. And we picked up one more in the middle, so we have twelve. I’m now in my eighty-fifth year and I marvel at God’s grace and mercy toward me over so many years.
And here I am, still active, traveling, preaching, with assignments in various parts of the globe in the year that’s coming, including Benin in West Africa. And I didn’t even know where Benin was when I accepted that invitation. But God has been so good to me, because a few months back I was diagnosed, in a hospital in Britain, with cancer of the bladder. But the Lord sovereignly and supernaturally intervened without my even asking for it. And I was delivered from a demon of cancer. And I do believe as far as I have all the evidence, that I’m extremely well and healthy at this present time. So here I am, Lord, give me my next assignment.