Peter Maher’s Testimony

Peter Maher
Pastor of The Range Church in Montville, Queensland

I grew up in a very dysfunctional family, and at the age of 10, I started using drugs and alcohol to escape from my life. By the age of 19, I was injecting myself with speed and heroin and was desperate. Someone gave me a tract that told me about Jesus. One night, I read in that tract that Jesus would forgive my sins and set me free from the life of addiction if I asked him into my heart and came to him. So I prayed that prayer over and over. I had an amazing experience with God and I became born again. I started to go to church, but I didn’t really have an understanding of God’s love and grace for my life. Over the years, without that understanding, I started to walk away from God and became the prodigal son.

I made a lot of money, but my life was unfulfilled without Christ. I started to use drugs again, but this time it was much worse than when I was in my teens. I started to manufacture, import and sell drugs. I had everything that anybody could possibly desire in this world – until I was busted. I lost everything that was important in my life. I ended up with a 6½ year sentence. I was very bitter and angry but, in time, I started to realize that, if I didn’t change my life or allow my life to be changed, I would just be going around and around in the same cycle as the other men in prison. I saw the blank expressions on their lost faces. Some were telling me that they’d been there four or five times. I knew that that was going to be my life.

“When I was released from prison, I was able to smash all my drug paraphernalia in the bin and say, “Lord, I give my life to you…”

In my cell one night, I got down on my knees and I had that prodigal son moment where I realized I was in the pigpen. I said, “Father, I want to come back. I know my life with you was so much better.” He accepted me with open arms, but I didn’t have the understanding of God as a loving father. That was when I found the Gideon-placed Bible at the Woodford Correctional Centre. In my cell, I began to read it over and over again. I read it so much, it started to fall apart but the words came to life in my life. The words showed me that God loved me, that his grace was sufficient for me, and I began to realize what it was to be a child of God.

When I was released from prison, I was able to smash all my drug paraphernalia in the bin and say, “Lord, I give my life to you. I have surrendered my life to you. I don’t want the world. I want you, Jesus.” I went to Bible college after I left jail. I’ve become a pastor now, and it’s because of the Word of God and its transforming power in my life.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” – Psalm 34:8-9