Lahaina Front Street Preacher Phillip Prais Memorial Service

A one year memorial service was held at the old fort at Banyan Tree Park June 11 2009. Lahaina local Front Street preacher Phillip Prais passed away on June 11 2008. He was 66.

Tens of thousands of visitors to Lahaina passed by him as he ministered from Banyan Tree Park for over two decades. The pictures and video tribute below are from my trip to Maui during Easter 2008.

Picture Tribute to Phillip Prais

My picture of Lahaina street preacher Phillip Prais playing his guitar and singing at the old fort at Banyan Tree Park on Easter day 2008. We will miss seeing him each year.

Lahaina Front Street preacher Phillip Prais at the old fort at Banyan Tree Park on Easter day 2008, playing his guitar and singing.

The picture of Phillip Prais as most of us Lahaina visitors remember him. He stands at the corner of Front Street and Hotel street in Banyan Tree Park and ministers.

Lahaina Front Street Preacher Man Phillip Prais at the corner of Front Street and Hotel street in Banyan Tree Park on Maui

Lahaina Front Street Preacher Man

Phillip Prais made many tourists and some of the surrounding store owners uncomfortable. After 20 years of preaching from Banyan Tree Park, he was served a criminal trespass notice on May 16, 2008 which banned him from the park.

Lahaina Front Street preacher Phillip Prais Happy Easter cardboard signs at Banyan Tree Park Easter Day 2008. Lahaina Police quoted in the Maui Time Weekly:

He left signs up on trees, cardboard all over the place. We had to clean it up several times.

From the Lahaina News on June 5, 2008:

...and all the businesses around the Wharf Cinema Center, the Banyan Tree and south Front Street are in Heaven: the preacher is GONE, and they say, 'Hallelujah – Peace at Last!'...

On June 11, 2008 his body was found behind the Holy Innocents Episcopal Church on Front Street a few blocks from the Banyan Tree Park. His death appeared to be from natural causes. Some suspect the natural cause to be heart failure - a broken heart.

Video Tribute to Phillip Prais

Like so many Maui vacationers, we looked forward to spending a few minutes listening to him on our vacation each year as we walked up and down Front Street.

He would stand at the corner of Front Street and Hotel Street and preach to those of us passing by.

Click on the PLAY button in the image below to view our video tribute to the Lahaina Front Street preacher man Phillip Prais. You may get an misleading message video has been removed if you are on a slow connection or the video provider has a glitch. Either try again or watch the video on Youtube.

Poem Tribute to Phillip Prais

This is a poem by Branch Isole from his book Seeds of Mana'o. This insightful poem describes a seminal issue that some businesses had with Phillip Prais - he was a commercial affront.


On the corner he stands
guitar slung,
like an outlaw’s gun
First in one hand
and then the other,
the Book

He cries
He hollers
He sings
He laments
Addressing America
His pronouncement,

A neo John
A wilderness voice in paradise lost
Old Testament shame
New Testament cross

Icon tree behind
World around to bludgeon and blunt
Spectators and listeners abound
a commercial affront

Frightened children cry
at his tantrum rant
Adults shriek
against incriminating words
which sting,
as they penetrate the skull
seeking a soft hollow, in each psyche

A knife in the heart
A spear to the lung
Silver bullet to the gut
fired from this,
Gospel hired gun

© 2004 Branch Isole from the book SEEDS OF MANA'O
Reprinted with permission

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Your Comments

Phillip babtised me in waters of lahaina. That was the biggest honor of my life. He truely introduced me to the words of Christ. Philip lives forever in my heart. I can still hear him singing "beloved let us love one another. for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is Love. Beloved let us Love one another. 1 John 4 - 7 and 8."

I love you brother Phillip! We shall dance and sing together again at the wedding my brother. E ko makou makua i loko o ka lani, e hoana ia kou inoa. ehiki mai kou aupuni: e malama ia kou makemake ma ka honua nei, e like me ia i malama ia ma ka lani la.

Your brother eternally, Kea Tiger

I spent time with the street preachers referred to as "The Brethren" of which Philip was a part of in the islands, living and preaching on the streets of Hawaii, mainly in Waikiki, Lahaina, and Kona. I knew Stephen also and his family.

I'd like to contact another street preacher, David Woods and his wife Charolette. Last word was they were in Kona, but that was many years ago.

Looking for another names James Pittman from Florida. James was my roommate when we moved to Hawaii back in 1988 and met David and the rest on the streets in Waikiki. I gather that Stephen is still there in Lahiana? Maybe he knows about David?

If somebody could get word to Stephen, maybe he knows how to get in touch with David and/or James. It would be awesome if one of you could get a note to Stephen for me?

My address is: Chris Jackson 9913 E. Main St. Lot 163 Mesa, AZ 85207 email:

Thank you so much if you would pass my address and note. I'm looking for David and Charolette and James on to Stephen.

Again, thank you! Chris Jackson

Four years has passed, yet I find myself think of bradda often. To the best of my ability each day I attempt to live the principles Christan as well as what he shared with me about Hawaiian culture values and how the two have so much in common. Just a note to try to keep him alive in our spirits.

Aloha Nui Loa Lilly from Alaska 2012

Wow. I just learned of Bruddah Philips passing. Thank you Jesus for all the kind words for a simple man that loved Jesus. He truly did the work of an evangelist. I knew Philip for a short time when I was in Hawaii myself back in the late 80's. Stayed at his family's place over in Hana for week once. I met Philip on the street through another brother, David(actually looking to locate him if I can, and James). And I knew Stephen and his family too.

Wow, brother Duane! IS that you? Did some recording back then, some stuff brother Allan did also. I use to have all those cassette tapes you recorded back in about '90. I may still have them somewhere.I left the islands back in 1991 and have not returned, but this sure brought back memories of a time when I dedicated my life to Jesus Christ. Philip played a part in my searching the scriptures when I was just a babe. It was quite the experience to sit with him and read the bible, God teaching me through him.

Thank you Jesus! I'll keep an eye out on this board in case somebody knows anything about David and Charolette and their family, or brother James.


I was looking forward to sitting and listening to precher Phillip this october. I was very sadden to hear of his passing, but i know there is alot of rejoicing in heaven!! You are home now brother Phil! Im looking foward to joing you and many others that are saved through Jesus Christ our lord. Your tears are dry forever.

Love in Christ, Mary

On our first trip to Maui in the late 90's, my husband and I met the "Preacher Man". At first, I was scared of him but husband went right up to him and started a conversation. That was the beginning of a new friendship and admiration for a man that did what he loved. Every trip back to Maui started and ended with a visit to the Preacher Man. My husband has an awesome picture of the two of them from a few years ago sitting on a table in his office. He looks at him every day! We have told so many people about him that he was was sought out by our friends and family when they visited Maui. I am so sad that he is gone and we will not be able to see him again. God Bless the Preacher Man!

Its been a little over a year now....since we lost a treasure that was "Our Preacher Man".....he is to me, along with Frances and all followers of his Banyan Tree of the most gratifying reasons I visited Lahaina Town whenever I was on Maui.....I enjoyed coming in to sit, break bread, enjoy natures offerings and listen to the word and message under the Banyan Tree........the spiritual ease which I felt sittin along side him was something I craved then.....something I miss now.....I have been told that faith is the belief in all that is unseen......and for someone like myself......not being able to see him....and receive his words, and feel his faith.....physically under the Banyan Tree weighs heavily on me...... I was a man of little faith.......and he is one person, that in my life and journeys has reached inside my being like no other.....and drawn out faith in the word, and in fellow man....and for that......he is a treasure......and will always be.....Bruddah Phil is not gone.....Bruddah Phil will not be forgotten.....Lahaina Town (without its politics) will forever have a special place in my heart........but Bruddah Phil will always have a place in my heart and remain in my thoughts......Lahaina town will never be the same to me..... it will always be beautiful.......just not the same without him there. Mahalo Bruddah Phil!

Walt Austin, Texas

Just wanted to thank you for making this tribute for my dad. May his body rest in peace and his spirit live on forever. ALOHA

Joshua Kaeo Prais, Phillips son

I first saw "the street preacher" when I was a young teen, visiting Maui for the first time from a small town in Canada. From the eyes of an impressionable, small town boy, He was certainly unique, and I vividly remembered him after only seeing him once. From what I now know, it seems that he was just beginning his work on Front Street when I first saw him.

I then returned to Maui 2 more times as a teen, and always looked for him by the Banyan Tree. Now, at 33, I am making my first return to the island in close to 20 years. While booking the trip, I had made a point that I was going to introduce myself to the man I now know as Philip Prais.

I am saddened to hear that I missed him by only a few months. You always regret most the things you never got to do.

Chris in Canada

I have grown up listening to Rev. Prais from the sidewalk of Lahaina. It is with a heavy heart that I write this. I will miss seeing him sing and preach the Word of the Lord but he has done what we are made to do which is serve the Lord. Thanks be to the Lord for bringing him home.

He was a rock, safe shelter to anyone who needed spiritual comfort. I can not believe they made him leave his home. In doing so they surly broke his heart.I doubt anyone knew more about the Bible or had the ability to minister to the most needy. He was loud at noon everyday, the rest of the time you had to strain to hear the golden drops of wisdom fall from his lips. My heart goes out to his brother Francis and all the others that were so devoted to him.

The world is a big place, there is room in it for all of us, there was certainly room enough for Brother Philip.

Tolerance and compassion, truth and humility I can only hope to live by the true message Brother Philip dedicated his life to.

Blessings, Lily from Alaska

Brother Phillip Prais Memorial GOD Willing
Banyan Tree Old Fort
Saturday June 28th 8 a.m.
Psalm 5:3 "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Lahaina Ohana In Christ

ALLELUIA!!! Thanks for your tribute to Brother Philip. I was a close friend and brother in Christ, traveled with him from '87-'98. I miss him, and appreciate your kind memorial!
God bless you, Brother Duane

Did Lahaina street preacher Phillip Prais touch your life? Do you want to describe something we left out? Do you need to give another side of the story of his life? Leave a comment.

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