Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) speaks during the 2015 Southern Republican Leadership Conference May 21, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. About a dozen possible presidential candidates will join the conference and lobby for supports from Republican voters. National Journal

"Prayer changes things!"

That message greets visitors to Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum's campaign website. Or, more specifically, the part of his website that asks visitors to join Santorum's "prayer team" — a coalition of Santorum supporters who sign up to receive, the website says, prayer requests sent out by the campaign.

"Senator Santorum is a big believer in the power of prayer," Matt Beynon, a spokesman for the Santorum 2016 campaign, told National Journal. "There are folks who ask how they can help, and the senator always tells them that the No. 1 thing they can do is pray for him and his family and for the other candidates."

Santorum is no stranger to prayer. The former senator speaks often of his personal journey to devout Catholicism. Every campaign Santorum has run since he was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 has organized a volunteer prayer team. And he has personally implored supporters to pray for him and his family on the campaign trail.

During the 2012 presidential race, the Santorum campaign sent out prayer requests when the candidate's youngest daughter, Isabella, became seriously ill and was hospitalized.

"It's a very difficult thing, running for president of the United States. Prayer can bring peace and solace," Beynon said, adding: "This is an incredibly stressful time for the senator's family, and he understands that's the case for all the candidates and their families."

But at a time when 2016 operatives are looking for creative ways to collect data from supporters, the prayer team allows the Santorum campaign to organize and amass information that could help target the candidate's message to would-be voters. Even more crucially, it creates a database of potential donors.

After failing to win an invite to the coveted Republican prime-time debate on Thursday, Santorum will square off against a slate of GOP candidates lagging in national polls, including Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal, in an earlier forum. That means Santorum won't get the chance to stand side-by-side with leading 2016 Republican contenders such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump.

Santorum has also hauled in considerably less cash than many of the Republican front-runners. Bush has raked in roughly $120 million for his 2016 bid, including super PAC money, while Santorum has so far collected less than $1 million, according to Federal Election Commission data.

Anyone can join Santorum's prayer team. All you have to do is hand over your email address — or allow the 2016 contender's website to sync with your Facebook account — and the campaign promises to start sending prayer requests. (The campaign did not say how many people have signed up or how often requests are sent out.)

Signing up creates an opportunity for the campaign to ask for money. A confirmation email from the Santorum campaign notifying supporters that they have signed up for the prayer team prominently features a link that reads: "DONATE NOW."

Far from serving as a way to raise money, the campaign says that the prayer team helps people support Santorum even if they don't have cash to spend.

"A lot of politicians focus on asking, 'Can you give me another 25 bucks or 2,700 bucks?' But running for president is about a lot more than dollars and poll numbers," Beynon said. "Running for president is about uniting people, and this offers an opportunity for folks who want to be part of something more than themselves to get involved."

But of course, if the prayer team leads to donations, the campaign won't complain.

"There are a number of ways for people to get involved and the prayer team is one way. Donating is another," Beynon said. "But some people may be able to do more than one thing. Someone may be able to give money, someone may be able to make phone calls or go door-to-door, and someone may be able to pray. Some people may be able to do all four."

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