Each morning, Senate Chaplain Barry Black opens the session with a prayer to guide senators throughout their day. But from the onset of the government shutdown, Black has turned his prayers into punditry, urging Congress to find a way to reopen the government.
"Have mercy upon us, oh God, and save us from the madness," Black prayed Thursday morning. "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," he continued. "Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown, transforming negatives into positives as you work for the good of those who love you."
Black has tailored his daily prayer to the government shutdown each day this week. Less than ten hours away from the government shutdown on Monday, Black prayed for senators to come together instead of remaining divided.
"As our nation stumbles toward a seemingly unavoidable government shutdown, keep our lawmakers from sowing to the wind, thereby risking reaping the whirlwind," Black said. "Lead them away from the unfortunate dialect of us vs. them as they strive to united for the common good of this land we love."
Black was elected by the Senate to the non-partisan post in 2003. In his duties as a Senate chaplain, Black provides spiritual guidance and counseling to members of Congress and their families and hosts prayer meetings and discussions. Black previously served in the U.S. Navy as a rear admiral for over 27 years, where he became the chief of Navy chaplains.
But the prayers about a government shutdown aren't just emanating from the Senate. House Chaplain Father Patrick Conroy offered this prayer for members of Congress on the first day of the government shutdown.
"This is a painful day for many across our land, and the sense of disappointment deepens," Conroy said. "May those who possess power here in the Capitol be mindful of those whom they represent who possess little or no power, and whose lives are made all the more difficult by a failure to work out serious differences."