Senate Chaplain Prays Urgently for Nation's Leaders

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As millions prepare to celebrate the Easter season, many turn their hearts toward prayer.

But for one man on Capitol Hill, prayer is a year-round, fulltime job.

Senate Chaplain Barry Black offers prayer and spiritual guidance to the nation's leaders in a special, non-partisan way.

For more than 200 years, all sessions of the U.S. Senate have opened with prayer.

Among all the political leaders on Capitol Hill, Chaplain Black's job is to set the tone at the beginning of each session.

"This gives me an opportunity to intercede on behalf of the senators and to begin the day with a spiritual emphasis," Black said.

This spiritual leader humbly seeks God for each prayer he writes for the Senate.

"I want it to be indicative of where we are now and so the prayer is revised based on the newness of the moment," the chaplain said.

"I'm caught up in that cliffhanger. And I think many times it spills over into my prayer," he explained.

Black's prayer played a crucial role during last year's debt crisis.

"As our nation faces the potentially catastrophic, inspire our lawmakers to seek your counsel," he'd prayed during the crisis.

"They were at a moment of extreme peril," Black recalled. "I think that was what I was articulating."

The Senate chaplain sees prayer as a way of planting seeds in the hearts and minds of the country's decision makers -- a job he believes will always be necessary.

"If ever there were a time we needed prayer it is now, and it's on Capitol Hill," he noted.

"I have more than enough material to pray with passion, fervor and specificity," Black said smiling.

*Originally aired on April 6, 2012.

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