Derek Prince was born in India of British parents. He was educated as a scholar of Greek and Latin at Eton College and Cambridge University, England, where he held a Fellowship in Ancient and Modern Philosophy at King’s College. As a student he was a philosopher and self-proclaimed atheist. He also studied Hebrew and Aramaic, both at Cambridge University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In addition, he spoke a number of other modern languages.
While serving with the British army in World War II, he began to study the Bible as a philosophical work and experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Out of this encounter he 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 his life. He was baptized in the Holy Spirit a few days later. Since then, he devoted his life to studying and teaching the Bible.
Discharged from the army in Jerusalem in 1945, 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 main gift was explaining the Bible and its teaching, in a clear and simple way. His non-denominational, non-sectarian approach has made his teaching equally relevant and helpful to people from all racial and religious backgrounds. He pioneered teaching on such groundbreaking themes as generational curses, the biblical significance of Israel and demonology.
His daily radio broadcast Derek Prince Legacy Radio since 1979 (formerly Keys to Successful Living), reaches more than half the world and includes translations into Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Malagasy, Mongolian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish and Tongan. He is the author of over 40 books, over 450 audio and 150 video teachings, many of which have been translated and published in more than 60 languages.
Derek's organization, Derek Prince Ministries, distributes his work and teaches and trains missionaries, church leaders and congregations through 12 worldwide offices.
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 six 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.”
September 24, 2003 Derek died in his sleep at his home in Jerusalem of heart failure. He is survived by 11 children and an extended family of over 150 people. He was 88.