|This article is authored by Dick Leggatt, President of Derek Prince Ministries – USA and comprises his September 11, 2013 Newsletter.Click here to receive the Derek Prince Ministries emailed E-devotional.|
Are you moving forward with a clear sense of purpose? Do you feel you are running the race that the Lord has set out for you to run? Is there a sense of a continuing legacy you will leave for those who follow you after your race is completed?
These are extremely important life questions for each of us. The aspect of legacy is very much on our minds right now concerning the work of Derek Prince Ministries, especially as we mark ten years since Derek’s passing on September 24, 2003. Amazingly, the legacy of his life, ministry and teaching is going strong ten years after his departure. In fact, the impact not only continues but expands all around the world.
It is our hope that the content of this letter, including some of our reflections on Derek’s legacy, will be a great encouragement to you as you consider the impact of your own life as you run your leg of the race of faith.
“I Miss Him”
Just recently, the Derek Prince Legacy Radio team was doing some recording work together. Stephen Mansfield, writer of Derek’s biography and host of the Derek Prince Legacy Radio broadcasts, was in the recording booth. I was in the studio control room with Jon Simpson, our producer and recording session director, along with the engineer who was doing the recording. Between takes, Stephen and I were sharing memories of some of our personal times with Derek, and I concluded by saying something like, “He sure was a great guy.” Somewhat wistfully, Stephen remarked, “I miss him,” and I responded, “I do, too.” There was silence among us for just a few minutes in that studio as the depth of the statement, “I miss him,” sank in for all of us.
It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since Derek stepped into the glorious presence of Jesus Christ. We all miss him. But who among us would have ever thought that the legacy of his ministry would be continuing as strong as it is today?
A few years before his passing, even Derek himself had to change his mind about continuing the ministry. Many years before his death, when asked what should be done with the ministry after his passing, Derek’s response had been clear and curt: “Shut it down.” But in the succeeding months after giving that response, the Holy Spirit began to work on Derek, re-shaping his response from “Shut it down” to “Carry on!” In those months of hearing from the Lord, Derek had become convinced that God’s plan for the ministry was that it should continue after his passing: “It is my desire — and I believe the Lord’s desire — that Derek Prince Ministries should continue the work started through me over 60 years ago, until Jesus returns.”
And so it has — in a most amazing way. And so it will.
“Let Us Also…”
Even before stepping into the position of leadership at DPM – USA over seven years ago, I had invested a lot of study time in Hebrews 11 and Hebrews 12. In fact, if anyone would have asked me over the last four decades what I considered to be my “life verses,” I would have immediately responded: “Hebrews 12:1–2.”
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12:1–2 NSAB.
The irony is that for many years, I misquoted the verse. How, you ask? Without realizing it, I was leaving out the word “also” in the phrase “ let us also lay aside every encumbrance.” The “also” there is a very important point, linking this verse directly to all of Hebrews 11 — the record of the Bible’s greatest heroes in the faith.
Derek always said, “Whenever you see a ‘therefore,’ you need to find out what it’s ‘there for.’” That particular “therefore” precedes the mention of the cloud of witnesses, of which Derek is now a vital part. Theologians have differing views as to whether that cloud of witnesses is actively looking on as we run our leg of the race of faith they began. However, ever since I began at Derek Prince Ministries, I have had a clear sense that I am working in full view of that cloud of witnesses.
Derek is among them; my father-in-law, Don Basham, is among them; my father and mother are among them, as well as many friends, family and other “fathers in the faith.” I choose to believe that all of them, the entire host of heroes of the faith, are cheering us on. They earnestly want to see us successfully complete the leg of the race that we — also — are expected to run. Indeed, they have a stake in it.
The First Leg of the Race
Space does not permit a full discussion of all the implications of Hebrews 11 and 12 in our lives. Just one important aspect, though, is that those who have gone on before us began the race, but we will do the finishing lap on the race they began. (Please see that mysterious verse, Hebrews 11:40, which says “…that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”)
So how did Derek begin his race? We thought you would be encouraged by some of the excerpts from an interview in which he talked about his early years.
God, when I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, gave me the gift of interpretation of tongues. I was so inexperienced and unspiritual I didn’t know that you had to wait six months to get any spiritual gifts, so I just got it the night I was baptized in the Spirit and spoke in tongues. The first night, I had the most wonderful succession of poetic messages, and I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the language.
But I only remember one very short passage, which went like this: “It shall be like a little stream—the little stream shall become a river, the river shall become a great river, the great river shall become a sea, and the sea shall become a mighty ocean. And it shall be through thee.” I had really no idea what God was talking about.
Another example was when I was about to be discharged from the Army. I was praying and I got this tongue and interpretation in which God said, “I have called thee to be a teacher of the Scriptures in truth, in faith and love, which are in Christ Jesus.” And then He paused and said, “…for many.”
If He had even tried to tell me how many people I would reach, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. But there is no way of being able to calculate the number of people I have reached. It must be in the millions—and I give God all the glory. See, it was His plan.
That’s one thing I’ve been careful about. I haven’t always succeeded, but I’ve always tried to find out what is God’s plan. Not, what do I think I should do, or what do other people think I should do, but what does God think I should do.
Our Leg of the Race
Are you inspired to know that Derek completed his leg of the race so effectively? Actually, I find it tremendously moving, and somewhat challenging. Somehow, I can believe that God would do it through Derek, but find it hard to believe He could do it through me. Do you feel the same way?
If you are battling with that same response, I think we ought to pray together right now. We have Derek’s testimony before us — the record of the Lord reaching out and touching a 25-year-old corporal in the British army, transforming him into a Bible teacher with worldwide impact. Couldn’t the Lord touch us and use us in a similar fashion?
Maybe ours will not be some worldwide outreach or expansive ministry like Derek’s. But certainly the Lord wants to use you and me in a very significant way for His glory and for the sake of His kingdom. Are you ready to offer yourself to the Lord to be used in whatever way He would choose?
Dear Lord Jesus, here I stand before You, desiring to be used for whatever purpose You have destined me to fulfill. In full recognition of my faults and my weaknesses, I present myself to You. I am Yours, Jesus. You can do all the needed repair work. You can transform me into the person You have destined me to be.
As I look at Derek’s testimony, knowing that he has completed his leg of the race, I also present myself to You for my leg of the relay race. I see the baton before me, and I receive it as from Your hand. In Your presence, and in the presence of that great cloud of witnesses, I receive the baton and commit myself to run the race that You have set before me with endurance, fixing my eyes on You for the strength and stamina I will need to complete it.
I am Yours, Lord Jesus. Help me run the race and finish it in a way that brings maximum glory to Your name. Amen.
Take a moment now. Open and close your hand right now, imagining that you are holding the baton that Derek Prince and others have passed along to you. The track extends before you; your lane is clear; and you have one lap to go. Are you ready to run that lap for all you are worth? Thank God that you are willing to do so!
You’ll be glad to know that all of us here at DPM–USA have made a decision very similar to the one you have just made. In fact, that’s why we’re doing what we are doing. We are running in the lane right beside you. For that reason, we have the greatest desire to help you in every aspect of the race.
One of the best ways for us to help is to keep you supplied with substantive materials from Derek Prince’s teaching legacy — books, CDs and DVDs and MP3s that can encourage you and inspire you to run with endurance. How would you like to have the full interview, “Derek Prince: His Life, His Work” from which we took the earlier excerpt? It’s yours for free download by clicking here. You can enjoy it with our blessings and compliments.
Providing you Derek’s material is just one small expression of our enormous thanks to you for your prayers and financial support. This wonderful work goes on because so many like yourself carry such a strong commitment to see it continue. Thank you so very much — and please keep us posted on the progress you are making in your leg of the race. Every time we hear from you, it encourages us tremendously.
In more ways than one, it’s time to run. Are you ready? Ready for the leg of the race that the Lord has set before you and me? Now it’s our turn!
All the best,
P.S. We are so grateful for you. Please let us give you the added blessing of the listening to full message of “Derek Prince: His Life, His Work.” It’s full of other aspects of Derek’s testimony and views that will surely encourage you. Just click here to download. Thanks so much!
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.