The Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump: Rear Admiral Barry Black’s Opening Prayers – January 16 - February 5, 2020
This is actually Day 8 of the Impeachment Trial
[In his opening prayers, Rear Admiral Barry Black, United States Senate Chaplain, appears to be sending important and urgent messages to the Senate jury. The highlighted sentences seem to emphasize his main points as the trial unfolds. Given that several Republican Jurors – Mitch MConnell and Lindsey Graham specifically – revealed long before the Impeachment Trial began that they were not “impartial jurors,” one can only conclude that the chaplain’s admonitions were directed to them and others who would corrupt the proceedings, which, presumably, could have included some Democratic Jurors, who, at least had the good sense to keep to their own counsel.
History will judge how well the majority jurors have conducted this trial that offered no witnesses or supporting documents.]
Day 1: (1/16/2020)
No prayer – Rear Admiral Barry Black was attending a prayer breakfast.
Day 2 Prayer: (1/21/2020) (Incomplete transcript of Chaplain Black’s prayer)
[Let us pray.] You are our rock…Keep us from dishonor only by walking in your precepts can our lawmakers remain within the circle of Your protection and blessings. Lord, turn their ears to listen to Your admonition as You infuse them with the courage to obey Your commands. We have trusted you since the birth of this land we love. That is why we will declare your glory as long as we have breath. Lord, as our senators prepare to gather for today’s impeachment trial, we declare that you alone are our hope. We pray in your mighty name, Amen.
[This appears to be a partial excerpt. Apparently, C-SPAN did not air the chaplain’s prayer on day 2, at least that I could find.] (CNN)
Day 3 Prayer: (1/22/2020)
Let us pray. Sovereign God, author of liberty, we gather in this historic chamber for the solemn responsibility of these impeachment proceedings. Give wisdom to the distinguished Chief Justice John Roberts as he presides. Lord, You are all powerful and know our thoughts before we form them. As our lawmakers have become jurors, remind them of Your admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:31 – that whatever they do should be done for Your glory. Help them remember that patriots reside on both sides of the aisle, that words have consequences and that how something is said can be as important as what is said. Give them a civility built upon integrity that brings consistency in their beliefs and actions. We pray in Your powerful name, Amen.
Day 4 Prayer: (1/23/2020)
Let us pray. Almighty God, our Rock of Ages. Be omnipresent during this impeachment trial, providing our Senators with the ushering awareness of Your powerful involvement. May they strive to have a clear conscience in whatever they do for You and country. Lord, help them remember that listening is often more than hearing. It can be an empathetic attentiveness that builds bridges and unites. May our Senators not permit fatigue or cynicism to jeopardize friendships that have existed for years. At every decision point throughout this trial, may they ask which choice will bring God the greater glory? We pray in Your mighty name, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 5 Prayer: (1/24/2020)
Let us pray. Almighty God, as we resume this impeachment trial, let Your will be done. Enlighten our Senators as you show them Your will. Lord, guide them with Your wisdom. Supporting them with Your power. In spite of disagreements, may they strive for stability and respect. May they respect the right of the opposing side to differ regarding convictions. Give them the wisdom to distinguish between facts and opinions without lambasting the messengers. We pray in Your strong name, Amen.
Day 6 Prayer: (1/25/2020)
Let us pray. Eternal God, the way, the truth, and the light. Unite our Senators in their striving to do Your will. Lord, You have been our help in ages past. You are our hope for the years to come. We trust the power of Your prevailing providence to break this impeachment trial to the conclusion You desire. Lord, we acknowledge that your thoughts are not our thoughts. And Your ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your thoughts higher than our thoughts. And Your ways higher than our ways. Lord, we love You. Empower our centers, renew their strength. We pray in Your dependable name, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 7 prayer: (1/27/2020)
Let us pray. Lord, through all the generations You have been our mighty God. As millions more the depths of Kobe and Gianna Bryant and those who died with them, we think about life’s brevity, uncertainty, and legacy. Remind us that we all have a limited time on earth to leave the world better than we found it. As this impeachment process unfolds, give our Senators the desire to make the most of their time on earth. Teach them how to live, oh God, and leave them along the path of honesty. May they hear the words of Jesus of Nazareth reverberating down the corridors of the centuries and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. And, Lord, thank You for giving our Chief Justice another Birthday, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 8 Prayer: (1/28/2020)
Let us pray. Oh God, You are our rock of safety. Protect us in an unsafe world. Guard us from those who smile, but plan evil in their hearts. Use our Senators. Bring peace and unity to our world. May they permit Godliness to make them as bold as lions. Give them a clearer vision of Your desires for our nation. Remind them that they borrow their heartbeats from You each day. Provide them with such humility, hope, and courage that they will do Your will. Lord, grant that this impeachment trial will make our nation stronger, wiser, and better. We pray in Your strong name, Amen.
Day 9 prayer: 1/29/2020
Let us pray. Divine Shepherd, honor, glory, and power belong to You. Refresh our Senators as they enter a new phase of this Impeachment Trial. May they realize that You have appointed them for this great service and they are accountable to You. Lord, empower them to labor today with the dominant purpose of pleasing You, knowing that it is never wrong to do right. Give them resiliency in their toil as they remember Your promise that they will reap a bountiful harvest if they don’t go give up. Help them to follow the road of humility that leads to honor as they find their safety in trusting You. We pray in Your majestic name, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 10 Prayer: 1/30/2020
Let us pray. Eternal Lord God, send Your Holy Spirit into this chamber. Permit our Senators to feel Your presence. During this Impeachment Trial. Illuminate their minds with the light of Your wisdom. Exposing truth and resolving uncertainties. May they understand that You created them with cognitive capabilities and moral discernment to be used for Your glory. Grant that they will comprehend what really matters, separating the relevant from the irrelevant. Lord, keep them from fear as they believe that Your truth will triumph through them. Eliminate discordant static with the music of Your wisdom. We pray in Your great name, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 11 Prayer: 1/31/2020
Let us pray. Eternal Lord God, You have summarized ethical behavior in a single sentence. Do for others what you would like them to do for you. Remind our Senators that they alone are accountable to You for their conduct. Lord, help them to remember that they can’t ignore You. And get away with it. For we always reap what we sow. Have Your way, Mighty God. You are the potter, oh Senators, and we are the clay. Mold us and make us after Your will. Stand up, Omnipotent God. Stretch Yourself. And let this nation and world know that You alone are sovereign. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 12 Prayer (February 3, 2020)
Let us pray. Arise, Old Lord, as we enter the final argument phase of this trial. Mighty God, we continue to keep our eyes on You. On whom our faith depends. From start to finish. May our Senators Embrace Your promise to do for them immeasurably, abundantly above all that they can ask or imagine, Lord, help our lawmakers to store Your promises in their hearts and permit You to keep them from stumbling. Grant that they will lead a legacy of honor as they seek Your will in all they do. We pray in Your amazing name, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 13 Prayer (February 4, 2020): Senate Session – Senators spoke for up to 10 minutes each on the articles of impeachment against President Trump - abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Let us pray. Eternal God, we offer You our hearts. Guide our lawmakers. May they strive to permit justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Grant that they will join You in Your Messianic thrust to bring good news to the marginalized, to announce freedom for those who suffer, and to give sight to the ethically, morally, and spiritually blind. Lord, inspire our Senators to live pure and blameless lives, seeking to bring the greatest glory to You. We pray in Your strong name, Amen. (C-SPAN)
Day 14 Prayer (February 5, 2020): Senate Session Votes to Acquit Donald J. Trump
Let us pray. Strong deliverer, our shelter in the time of storms, we acknowledge today that You are God, and we are not. You don’t disappoint those who trust in You, for You are our fortress and Bulwark. Lord, show our Senators Your ways and teach them to walk in Your path of Integrity. Through the seasons of our nation’s history, you have been patient and merciful. Mighty God, be true to Your name. Fulfill Your purposes for our nation and world. We pray in Your Holy Name. Amen. (C-SPAN)
Did any of the Senate Jurors seem to heed the chaplain’s messages? If so, who and how?
On Day 2, what is the chaplain’s implied message and tone of voice? (Youtube)
On Day 3, what is his likely message to Chief Justice John Roberts?
On Day 4, what is his message about keeping open minds as the trial proceeds?
On Day 5, what is the warning about discerning facts from fiction? Also, what does he imply about “respect” despite differences?
On Day 6, what is the chaplain’s implied great hope?
On Day 7, how have the Senate Jurors who voted to acquit made the world a better place? How have the Senate Jurors who voted to convict made the world a better place? Generally speaking, how can all of us make the world a better place with our limited time on earth?
The main points of the prayers seem to follow a bell curve (normal distribution), with Day 8 atop the curve with the most pointed admonition. Day 11 offers a minor uptick in its urgency, but on days 12-14, Chaplain Black’s prayers seem to be more resigned and generalized.
On days 2-10, what seems to be the chaplain’s best hope? By Day 12, what has the chaplain likely already concluded?
Main Points of Each Prayer
1/21, Day 2: “Lord, turn their ears to listen to Your admonition as you infuse them with the courage to obey Your commands.”
1/22, Day 3: “Give wisdom to the distinguished Chief Justice John Roberts as he presides.”
1/23, Day 4: “Lord, help them remember that listening is often more than hearing. It can be an empathetic attentiveness that builds bridges and unites.”
1/24, Day 5: “In spite of disagreements, may they strive for stability and respect. May they respect the right of the opposing side to differ regarding convictions. Give them the wisdom to distinguish between facts and opinions without lambasting the messengers.”
1/25, Day 6: “We trust the power of Your prevailing providence to break this impeachment trial to the conclusion You desire. Lord, we acknowledge that your thoughts are not our thoughts. And Your ways are not our ways.”
1/27, Day 7: “Remind us that we all have a limited time on earth to leave the world better than we found it. As this impeachment process unfolds, give our Senators the desire to make the most of their time on earth.”
1/28, Day 8: “Guard us from those who smile, but plan evil in their hearts.”
1/29, Day 9: “…it is never wrong to do right.”
1/30, Day 10: “Eliminate discordant static with the music of Your wisdom.”
1/31, Day 11: “Remind our Senators that they alone are accountable to You for their conduct. Lord, help them to remember that they can’t ignore You. And get away with it. For we always reap what we sow.”
2/3, Day 12: “Lord, help our lawmakers to store Your promises in their hearts and permit You to keep them from stumbling.”
2/4, Day 13: “…give sight to the ethically, morally, and spiritually blind.”
2/5, Day 14: “Lord, show our Senators Your ways and teach them to walk in Your path of Integrity.”