How can I be a godly woman? Are there biblical models to inspire me? In this article, Derek Prince's wife Lydia shares her thoughts on these important questions.
Biblical models of a godly woman
As long as I have known the Lord, I have been searching to understand what the scriptural role is for women. In my eyes, a womanly woman is one who is not trying to be a man and yet at the same time, she isn’t just a cypher that’s behind the dish pan without a mind, nor is she someone who manipulates her husband and other people to get her own way. None of these are godly, womanly attributes.
As I searched the Scriptures I have come up with seven adjectives that I think describe godly women from the pattern of the Scriptures. In essence, I guess I want to be like all of these women, to have the proportion that I’m intending to have of each of these attributes.
- First of all, I thought about women of prayer. The classic example is Esther who fasted and prayed and saved her people. Another example is Hannah, the mother of Samuel who continually beseeched God until He gave her a son. She gave that son right back to the Lord, and God gave her more children.
- The second adjective is courageous. Sarah, Abraham's wife, is spoken of as a woman who did not give way to any fear (1 Peter 3:6). Sarah had probably a fairly good life in Ur of the Chaldeans and was suddenly just taken off with her husband, wandering for many years. Abraham was given the promise of the land that would be his, and Sarah went along. At one point she was in the harem of a Pharaoh. Another time in the harem of a king, but she didn’t fear. I really think that’s magnificent. I would like to be as courageous as Sarah!
- The third adjective is loyal. Ruth is a biblical example. She was not Jewish like the previous women I mentioned, but she is the pattern we have of a loyal, devoted woman. She said, “Where you go I will go. Where you lodge I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She said that to her mother-in-law and she became the grandmother of King David in the ancestors of the Messiah. She was devoted and dedicated to the Jewish people.
- Then I think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and she was a woman who trusted the Lord. When the angel came to her and said, “You’re going to be the mother of the Messiah,” she said, “May it be done unto me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). She believed, she trusted, and she also stood finally on Good Friday at the cross and saw her Son, the Messiah, hanging there and she trusted that God would raise Him up. She was also there on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came because she was a trusting woman.
- Prophesying. On the Day of Pentecost, there were men and women gathered in the upper chamber, and they all spoke with other tongues (Acts 2:4), and we read of the daughters of Philip who prophesied (Acts 21:9).
- Another adjective for a godly woman is that of the capable woman. Just think of Abigail, the wife of David, who had a servant’s heart. I love Abigail because she was so quick. She always hasted to do things. She didn’t waste time. Once she knew what she was supposed to do, she did it without any hesitation (1 Samuel 25). She was married to a bad man, but she came and made intercession to David and the Lord smote her husband and then she became the wife of David. When the servants came to her and said, “David wants to take you for his wife,” she just fell down at their feet and said, “Let me just wash your feet.” She didn’t see herself as anybody special, but she was special because of her servant’s heart and because she was so capable.
- My final one is a ministering woman. There were women who travelled with Jesus who ministered to Him, who provided for His support out of their own means, who provided food for Him, who provided lodging for Him, who did His laundry. There were women who travelled with the apostles and helped the apostles. There were women that we read about in the church who are ministering to women, and I think that that’s so little value today.
I think of Derek’s first wife, Lydia, and I can hardly think about her without getting choked up because she was a successful missionary and a good preacher. There’d been a revival among the Arab women in Ramallah in her home, and yet she gave all that up to stand behind Derek and to invest herself in Derek and pray for Derek. When Derek and I first came into a relationship he said to me, “I’m so glad to have you to pray for me, because after Lydia died other people prayed for me. I’ve appreciated their prayers but no one prayed for me in quite the way that Lydia did.”
As I talk to young women, I see that there are so many who are looking for models to know how they can be godly women. If you are looking for role models, the models are right here in the Scriptures. They are just as apt and just as timely now even though things have changed a lot since the Bible was written. Character doesn’t change!
I have to say that I am simple-minded. I believe that what the Bible says is true, and if it says to do something then you should do it. There are a lot of things that I have learned with my head that I have not yet put into practice, but I’m working on it and this is what I would say to all the others of my sex who are listening—really look at these patterns that I’ve mentioned here. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you as to how you fit in, and where you can fulfil your function. And then go forth rejoicing believing that God will make your life more than it has been until now.
Taken from Derek Prince's personal Update Letters #16