February 2, 2017

65th National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D.C.

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event held in Washington, D.C. designed to be a forum for international political, social and business leaders to assemble and build relationships. U.S. Senate Chaplain and Rear Admiral Barry Black, keynote speaker, spoke on Letting Your Voice be Heard in Heaven. His challenge was to pray for all people and particularly for those who govern according to 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

...I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in [positions of] high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

1 Timothy 2:1-2

Dr. Barry Black, U.S. Senate Chaplain and Rear Admiral

On June 27, 2003, Rear Admiral Barry C. Black (Ret.) was elected the 62nd Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Prior to Capitol Hill, Chaplain Black served in the U.S. Navy for over twenty-seven years, ending his distinguished career as the Chief of Navy Chaplains.

One of the responsibilities of the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate includes opening Senate sessions with a prayer, which has become a longstanding tradition. The inclusion of a prayer before the opening of each session of both the House and the Senate, traces its origins back to the days of the Continental Congress and the official recommendation of Benjamin Franklin.

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel...I therefore beg leave to move— that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.”

Benjamin Franklin, June 28, 1787

In addition to opening the Senate each day in prayer, Chaplain Black provides counselling and spiritual care for Senators, their families, and staff – a combined constituency of over seven thousand people. He also meets with Senators about spiritual and moral issues, assists with research on theological and biblical questions and facilitates discussion and reflection small groups among Senators and staff. Chaplain Black initiates and participates in special and seasonal observances, leads interdenominational prayer gatherings and cultivates relationships with local clergy and leaders of humanitarian agencies. “I see my role as the chaplain to be a confidential, spiritual advisor, scripture teacher, intercessor and friend to the Senators, their spouses and the Senate staff as they seek to discover and live God’s wonderful plan.” The Office of the Chaplain is nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and nonsectarian.

Chaplain Black is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and an alumnus of Oakwood College, Andrews University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern Baptist Seminary, Salve Regina University, and United States International University. In addition to earning Master of Arts degrees in Divinity, Counseling, and Management, he has received a Doctorate degree in Ministry and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology. He is also the author of his autobiography entitled, “From the Hood to the Hill.” Chaplain Barry C. Black is married to the former Brenda Pearsall of St. Petersburg, Florida. They have three sons: Barry II, Brendan, and Bradford.