I had the wonderful privilege of attending the National Prayer Breakfast last week in Washington, DC. Since 1953, members of Congress have gathered to pray for our nation and have invited the President of the United States to join them in prayer and offer a few remarks.
I am not suggesting that our political differences or positions melt away due to a breakfast focused on the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth with more than 150 nations represented. What I am saying is that this gathering gives me great encouragement, despite our differences, that the leaders of our country and those of other nations block out a few days to fellowship and pray together. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents take time to lead us in prayer and during these days on Capitol Hill. This is something that the faith community can take comfort and encouragement from. It signals to me that hope rises when we focus on Jesus.
It was my privilege to lead a delegation of staff, trustees, donors and friends to the 64th National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. Dr. Julio Guarneri and Susan Wilhoit represented the Buckner International Board; Buckner donors including Dr. Roger and Dr. Wes Saade joined me; friends of Buckner including Rev. Charles Foster Johnson and Rev. Mark Grace; and staff including Brad Barnett and Sarah Klotz were also part of our group. This year, my wife, Dr. Belinda Reyes, joined me for this event. We had the privilege of meeting with Senator Trent Franks of Arizona on issues related to vulnerable children, orphans, and foster care. We also met with Congressman Louie Gohmert regarding our ministry in Longview among other appointments.
I did not think the week could get any better than our dinner with Chaplain (Admiral) Barry Black, the 62nd Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. He shared his life story and ministry in the U.S. Senate. His vision is to pray for revival starting in Washington, DC. The depth of his walk with the Lord and his ability to recall poems, speeches, and long stretches of Holy Scripture coupled with a profound sense of God’s presence is simply amazing. I have included a link so that you might learn more about him. Dr. Black was honored with an honorary doctorate at Andrews University and was the commencement speaker at my graduation ceremony from Andrews in 2009. He is an incredible leader and uniquely qualified for this strategic role at this time in our nation’s history.
Along with representatives from 150 countries, we enjoyed this time with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey; Andrea Bocelli, members of Congress, President Barak Obama, Dr. Ken Blanchard. Other notable guests in the crowd included Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman. It was a profoundly impacting week for friends of Buckner.