In Make Your Voice Heard in Heaven, Barry C. Black shares about the power prayer has played during his time as chaplain of the United States Senate. He delivered the keynote address at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast and this book appears to be written as a follow up to the positive reception he received after his address.
Prior to reading this book, I did not know much about the chaplain positions in the United States Congress. Here is a little about what I learned: There is a chaplain for the Senate and another for the House of Representatives. They are full-time positions paid by the federal government. They are elected by the house they represent. The House chaplain serves for two years and the Senate chaplain position is perpetual. They open each congressional session with prayer. The chaplains provide pastoral care for Congressional members and their families. Barry C. Black was elected in 2003 and is the first black chaplain and the first Seven Day Adventist to hold the position.
Black gives practical advice on developing the habit of prayer and understanding the power of prayer for individuals and a nation. “With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, I daily attempt to remind our lawmakers of God’s providential power over the course of the nation—and the nations.”
He also gives us a glimpse of the role prayer plays on Capitol Hill:
“With all the news of congressional disagreements and discord you see in the media, you may not realize that many individuals on Capitol Hill regularly seek to make their voices heard in heaven through intercessory prayer. Each week that the US Senate is in session, twenty to thirty senators, from both sides of the aisle, meet for a prayer breakfast that begins and ends in prayer. During the closing prayer, lawmakers join hands.”
Throughout the book, we are reminded that Christians must pray, and we must pray as we have been taught in Scripture. Prayer is a discipline that we develop through many seasons—including when God seems silent or when we don’t “feel” like being good—and we pray with submission, purity, patience, perseverance, and without fear. Black walks us through the model prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus gave us in the Sermon on the Mount. He says “The model prayer taught by Jesus began to make a difference in my life when I stopped thinking of it as a prayer to recite and began to see it as a prayer to pray.”
Any book on prayer can only scratch the depth of its power. What we learn in prayer (and what we learn when we struggle to pray) shows us how little many of us know or practice. The privilege of drawing near to God and communicating with the Creator of the universe should marvel us. Prayer is at once a blessing and hard work. As Black tells us “God could use angels or directly intervene, but instead He gives humanity the opportunity to be colaborers with Him in His redemptive outreach.”
Thank you to the people at Tyndale House Publishers for a copy of this book.