In the midst of all this was one individual who had been led to have his voice heard - by all present - and, we believe, by one present but not seen. Chaplain of the Senate, Barry Black, was the keynote speaker for the event. Having served in his current position for nearly 14 years, Black was no stranger to the breakfast or the powerful and elite who had gathered. After all, he opens the Senate in prayer at each session and leads Senate Bible studies and prayer groups on a regular basis. He also maintains a network of volunteer liaisons in each senate office to assist him in meeting the needs of his constituency.
As chaplains, we likely have wondered what do we have to contribute amid a crowd whose focus is on everything but spiritual truth. Black's message on Thursday assures us that we always have something to offer. Being a prayer breakfast, Black focused on prayer and led those in attendance to consider who it is that hears our voice when we engage in this sacred act. He referenced, from the Bible, Paul's letter to Timothy where Paul advises prayer "for kings and all who are in authority." But Black went beyond and expounded on the relationship we, those offering prayers, are to have with the truly powerful one who hears our utterances. "Making our voices heard in Heaven," said Black, is a worthy goal.
No one should be surprised by Black's voice bringing truth during political controversies. In 2013, when the government was shut down over funding disputes, he gained a following by offering Senate invocations which included such frank admissions as this: "We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness, and our pride. Create in us clean hearts, oh God, and renew a right spirit within us. Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable."
We congratulate Chaplain Black for his dedication, courage, and wisdom. As a chaplain for life, his example should encourage each of us to pursue having our voice heard in all the right places.
watch Chaplain Black's address here
[Editor's Comment: I met Chaplain Barry Black in Nashville, TN, for a very special Senior Navy Chaplains conference. As I recall, IPHC Navy Chaplain Vince Arnold made a significant presentation about pastoral care. In the providence of God I met Barry Black and he and I hit it off immediately. He is from the Hood in Balttimore, MD, and IX was from the Heart of Dixie in Segregated Birmingham, AL. Later he became the Chief of Navy Chaplains. He is an ordained minister of the Seventh Day Adventists.
You must see and hear Chaplain Barry Black as he speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast on the day of the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Click here on this hyperlink to hear Barry Black speak on Making Your Voice Heard in Heaven.