Julie found her destiny not in stars but in God
She worked for the Beatles, married a pop star and became a single parent but now Norfolk-born Julie Anderson is an influential church pastor with her husband Rod, in Suffolk and London. Sandie Shirley reports.
A woman with a love for God, she has walked and talked with Him through the dramatic twists and turns of life and today she is helping open the doors to His heart for others.
In August she brought musicians and teachers from America and across the UK to a barn near the Norfolk/Suffolk border to bring healing, miracles and hope. Quite simply, having tasted that God is good, Julie wants others to taste and know His goodness too.
Recalling her young first marriage, Julie says: "Somehow I just knew however much I had messed up I could start again and if I had a destiny I felt I had one relationship left to get right in my life and that was with God."
Over four decades ago she went to America to receive everything she could from heaven and made a new and lasting pact with her Saviour, Jesus. "Since that day a fountain of life and encouragement has always risen up in me to pray, no matter what I have faced and I have not stopped praying and seeing answers to this day!" says Julie.
She grew up in Norwich where her life was a vibrant mix of city and rural living that included sailing, riding and tennis with friends. Armed with shorthand and typing she later took a job in the capital working for an oil company but she was bored. Reaching for the London evening paper one day, she made a heartfelt plea: "God, if you have anything for my life, show me!"
The result was startling. She immediately answered a one-line advertisement - 'Famous Impresario seeks private secretary' - and soon she was mingling with celebrities when she worked for BBC TV chat show host, Simon Dee. The doors of the music world swung wide with a developing love for music that continues with Christian vocals and instrumentals today.
Julie became involved with an emerging era and an ever-widening circle of musicians and eventually worked for the Beatles and married pop star, John Walker, of the Walker Brothers. But celebrity life brought later despair.
"While living in the south of France among the Rolling Stones while my former husband was recording, I saw what the Stones offered and it was not enough for me. In desperation I cried out within to God. I wanted to know why I was born and what for? One night, sitting eating dinner opposite Mick Jagger, I was desperate and cried out to God again for help."
A moving spiritual encounter followed and God continued to point her heavenwards after her first marriage ended and she became a single parent.
"My mother told me I had blotted my copy-book by marrying a pop star and ending up as a single parent. My Norfolk friends were settling down with families and my mind was filled with my own problems and life looked like a dark wilderness, but I learnt that God was my maker and my husband.
"I spent a lot of time listening to the inside conversation of my heart and I wanted to leave Norfolk. I felt humiliated by all that had happened and I knew change had to happen. I wanted a new beginning, a new chapter and to learn how to be responsible for my life and my child."
A window of time opened to put things right with God. She left England with her three-year-old son and a couple of suitcases to join friends in America.
"Over dinner one night they said I should repent of my sins and ask Jesus into my heart. I thought that was quite rude and they were crazy. I had grown-up in a Christian family, school and nation - why did I need to repent of sins and ask Jesus into my heart, wasn't I already a Christian?"
But despite her reservations Julie did just that while also hearing about the Holy Spirit. "I wanted anything God would give me if it was real, so the Holy Spirit became my best friend."
Today her transformed life is helping to transform others. Together with her husband Rod, by her side for the last 31 years, she runs an international prayer and healing ministry. The doors of destiny and providence have widened as she has regularly prayed at Westminster and with high ranking officials for God to impact the nations and the UK.
Prayer has been important since she was a child. "My mother prayed with me every night and I learned she knew who she prayed to! I understood it was not hard to talk to God and prayer was about being real and talking to Him from the heart."
Prayer was her upholding force a few years ago when Rod was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and liver failure. He was given just 20 months to live, but as he fought infection, medics believed he was too ill for a transplant. Heartbroken and numb, Julie went home to pray and read her Bible as a 24-hour prayer vigil continued for Rod.
"It was April 17 and there was a huge storm as I set my face like flint and prayed hard and heavy. I went to my Bible reading and believing that God had given Rod breath and spirit and his times were in God's hands. That evening there was a telephone call from Rod - the hospital were going to operate the following day having found a liver for him. He came out from hospital 11 days later - it was a total miracle," says Julie.
The couple lead the Commonwealth Church at London's Regent Park and they took over Ostler's Barn at Mellis, Suffolk seven years ago, turning it into the Prayer Foundation's headquarters and launching an annual family prayer camp three years ago.
At times Julie has been ushered into a spiritual realm beyond her own. When she was just three she recalls seeing angels at her Norwich home and later in life she remembers meeting Jesus when she was given a vision of heaven and hell. That vision has been part of the driving force to share God's love and help light the fires of faith for others while enabling them to grow through prayer.
"Today is a rehearsal for tomorrow. If you want to go to heaven you have to be willing to let God change you. He is concerned about your heart so can you say: 'God do you have more for my life?' because your heart is in His hand. Until you find your identity in Jesus, you are not going to be successful in finding your destiny. Once done, it's eternal!"
Pictured above is Julie Anderson outside Ostler’s Barn in Mellis, Suffolk.