So last week we had healing evangelist Craig Marsh and his wife Jenny, with us in our local churches for a week. I have to admit I wasn't hugely looking forward to his visit. He came last year and I just didn't 'get him' (wrote partly about his visit here). Plus the fact that our church community has just lost a dear friend, who we really felt God would heal. So you can see I wasn't really in the mood for a week of healing mission...
So there I was Saturday morning heading off to help set up for his first engagement, a teaching session of how to pray for healing. I spent the entire car journey repenting of my ill-feeling towards him and asking God to fill me with faith, an open-mind and a heap of joy. Thankfully He did (love God like that, so faithful :) ). And what's more, Craig Marsh was brilliant.
Not only was the teaching good and sound, but he was humble too. He talked about how God had spoken to him about how to pray, but that was just what he was taught, not the only way or necessarily the best way. He talked about God using doctors and medicine and that he would never tell people to come off medicine without being medically checked first.
He gave some great testimonies of people that had been healed, including pictures. (For the cynnical of course there was no proof, these could be pictures of anyone, but I cannot counteract that, except to say that I found him totally genuine.) At the end of the session, he prayed for a healing annointing on everyone present. Personally I found this very powerful, even after he had let go of my hands it felt like someone was physically holding them for quite some time. So much so, that I had to open my eyes to check they weren't ! and yet I still felt it afterwards.
On Sunday morning he preached at our church and gave a great talk, especially in light of what our church is going through, about perplexity and not undertsanidng why God doesn't appear to act in some situations. He had a great line: 'perplexity is an ingredient for maturity'.
On every occasion I have seen him speak he prays for everyone. Even if that means staying for hours, he still stays and he prays. In fact last year we were even supposed to be out of the hall we had hired and all the clearing had been done and he was still there praying for people in an empty hall!
Half way through the week he did a session for our church staff in the office which again was very powerful. Again at the end he wanted to pray for us all. I clearly felt God telling me to repent in front of everyone about the way I had felt about him. That was hard but it was one of those moments where you just know God is telling you to do something. He was perfectly lovely about it, and then when he prayed I felt a real touch fromnt he Holy Spirit, I personally felt that if I hadnt been obedient that wouldnt have happened for me. Like I had a choice to be obedient to God and in doing so I opened the door to the Holy Spirit.
I didn't go to all the sessions last week so I don't know if there were lots of people healed. I heard a few testimonies from people who had had minor healings and I certainly prayed for people who felt better after prayer. It's fair to say I don't think it was the huge outpouring we were hoping for, and turn out was not as high as hoped for, but it has had an impact on our local churches and I pray that will be something that continues.
People have accused Craig Marsh of being rude and arrogant and of being untruthful. All I can say to those people is that I didn't experience anything like that. I found him both funny and engaging, and he spoke with passion, humility and honesty. No, I didn't see hundreds healed, but plenty came forward to give their life to the Lord or to recommit themselves
to him. His preaching and teaching were great, biblically based, profound at times and he clearly understood where we were at as a church.