Pastor and recording artist Donnie McClurkin recently shared an emotional testimony with an audience at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Fla.
The Grammy-winning pastor of Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, N.Y., credited his God-given musical talents and the prayers of gospel artist Andrae Crouch for helping him break free from shame he had felt since he was 11 years old.
“I never thought that I would be doing this because people told me what I could not do,” McClurkin said. “They didn’t tell me who I was. They never told me what I could accomplish, who I could be. They put the shackles on and the limits on.
“But God used music in order to free me by increments of all the bondage—until I could move past what people thought of me, until I could move past people's opinion, until I could move past people's naysaying, until I could see in me what others wouldn’t tell me was there.”
He shared how Crouch, a pastor and one of the pioneers of contemporary Christian music, encouraged and prayed for him when he was 11.
“And Andrae Crouch laid his hands on my head … and prayed one simple prayer: ‘Lord, give him what you gave to me,’” McClurkin recalled.
The 54-year-old, born Donald Andrew McClurkin Jr., has spoken in the past about troubles he faced in his youth, including the death of a sibling and being sexually abused by male family members.
He has also faced criticism since sharing his ex-gay testimony and was allegedly uninvited from a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial concert in Washington, D.C., last year because of his views.
Watch a short video of his testimony below.