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Senate Chaplain Prays to End Shutdown 'Madness'
PHOTO: Senate Chaplain Barry Black is photographed in his Capitol office, Jan. 18 2012.

Each day of the government shutdown, senators have listened to the prayers of Senate Chaplain Barry Black guiding them to act responsibly to reopen the federal government. From urging Congress to pay Capitol Police to restoring the benefits afforded to military families who have lost loved ones on the battlefield, Black, a retired rear admiral in the Navy, has tailored his daily prayers to fit the issues consuming Congress during the government shutdown.

"Save us from the madness," Black prayed on day three of the government shutdown.

Here's a compilation of his daily prayers since the government closed:

SHUTDOWN DAY 12: Oct. 12

"Eternal God, we are indebted to you for your many mercies and continue to look to you for our well being. Remind us that prayer really is listening more than speaking, an act of empathy rather than self-expression. Give our senators this day the special gifts of wisdom and understanding, patience and strength, motivating them to follow what is true and do what is right. Lord, inspire our lawmakers with a renewed trust in you and a commitment to work together for your glory. We pray in your sacred name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 11: Oct. 11

"Oh mighty God, we desperately need your steadfast love to sustain us during this difficult time. Lord, give our lawmakers the wisdom to distinguish between truth and error, and the courage to act upon those insights. Help them to avoid the shortcuts that lead away from your will. As you make them your eyes, ears, feet and hands to bring solace to those who suffer. Give them a hatred of all hypocrisy, deceit and shame as they seek to replace them with gentleness, patience, and truth. We pray in your great name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 10: Oct. 10

"Immortal and wise god, may the memory of your past mercies sustain us during these challenging times. As we have reached the tenth day of this federal shutdown, strengthen our senators with your might, preserving them with your grace, and instructing them with your wisdom. Inspire them to take a step back from partisanship and to take a step forward toward patriotism, striving to strengthen and not weaken this land we love. Lord, make them alive and alert to the spiritual values which underlie all the struggle of this challenging season. Direct their going out and coming in, as you energize them with your presence. We pray in your strong name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 9: Oct. 9

"O God, in whose presence our souls take delight, to whom in affliction we call, forgive us for continuing to sow to the wind even when hearing the sounds of the approaching whirlwind. Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on far-away battlefields, it's time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough. Cover our shame with the robe of your righteousness. Forgive us, reform us, and make us whole. We pray in your merciful name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 8: Oct. 8

"Gracious God, we praise you that although we have merely a feeble hold on you, you have a mighty grasp on us. Use your mighty hands to lead our lawmakers to your desired destination, making them instruments of truth and justice. May the tirades of majority be enough to lead our lawmakers for doing what is best for America. May our Senators' daily choice be characterized by ethical congruence, as they strive to match their words with deeds. We pray in your great name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 7: Oct. 7

"Eternal God, our stronghold and defense, your judgments and will are perfect, so we place our trust in you. Thank you for the privilege of speaking to you in daily prayer. Forgive us when our prayers are so other worldly they are no earthly good. Forgive us also when we put politics ahead of progress. Lord, strengthen our senators today, helping them to not throw away their confidence in you. Inspire them to persevere in seeking to do your will, knowing that your promises are sure and that the harvest is certain. We pray in your holy name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 5: Oct. 5

"God of heaven, you are great and we come before your throne with reverence. Lord, look at us and hear our prayers for our Congress, our nation, and our world. Make our lawmakers so transparently just and fair that falsehood may be banished by the truth that sets us free. Supply the needs of those who are hurting because of this government shutdown, as you give our senators the conviction that, with you, all things are possible. We pray in your great name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 4: Oct. 4

"Eternal God, thank you for the many mercies you extend to us each day. Lord, we're grateful for our federal law enforcement agents and first responders and pray that we may emulate their patriotism and self-sacrifice. May we go beyond applause in expressing our gratitude but make decisions that will ensure their timely and fair compensation. Today, give our lawmakers the vision and the willingness to see and to do your will. Remove from them that stubborn pride which imagination itself to be above and beyond criticism. Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, infusing them with the courage to admit and correct mistakes. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 3: Oct. 3

"Have mercy upon us, oh God, and save us from the madness. 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. 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. We pray in your merciful name, Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 2: Oct. 2

"O God, who remains our shelter in the time of storms, we are helpless without your power. Unless you empower our lawmakers, they can see the ideal but not reach it. They can know the right but not do it. They can comprehend their duty but not perform it. They can seek the truth but not fully find it. Dear God, help our lawmakers, enlighten their minds, purify their hearts, and strengthen their wills, enabling them to pass beyond guessing to knowing, beyond doubting to certainty, beyond resolving to doing, and beyond intention to action. We pray in your sacred name. Amen."

SHUTDOWN DAY 1: Oct. 1

"Be merciful to us, oh, God. Because of your constant love, because of your great mercy, wipe away our sins of commission and omission. During this legislative stalemate, help our lawmakers to test all things by their conscience, seeking to do right as you give them the ability to see it. Stir their hearts making them bold to follow your ways. In these days that try our souls, strengthen our weaknesses replacing cynicism with faith and cowardice with courage. We pray in your holy name. Amen."

PRE-SHUTDOWN: Sept. 30

"Eternal God, our ever present help in trouble, as our nation stumbles toward a seemingly unavoidable government shutdown, keep our lawmakers from sowing to the wind, thereby risking reaping the whirlwind. May they remember that all that is necessary for unintended catastrophic consequences is for good people to do nothing. Lord, lead them away from the unfortunate dialectic of us versus them, as they strive to unite for the common good of this land we love. Let them not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give them the determination to make the right things happen. Bless them with the courage to stand for something, lest they fall for anything. We pray in your merciful name. Amen."

PRE-SHUTDOWN: Sept. 27

"Holy God, you created us for freedom, so keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction. Use our Senators today to serve your purposes for this generation, making them ever mindful of their accountability to you. Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty, using judicious compromise for the mutual progress of all. Provide this land we love with your gracious protection, and may we never cease to be grateful for the numberless blessings we receive each day from your hands. We pray in your merciful name. Amen."

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