State representative Dave Severin says Illinois lawmakers need prayer. So, he’s urging churches to sign up and sit in the House gallery when the legislature is in session. The Republican from Marion, who is a member of Whittington Baptist Church, says the idea came to him last June as he was driving home following the end of the spring session. Lawmakers had just passed the Reproductive Health Act which gave Illinois the most progressive abortion laws in the nation. As they voted, Severin saw groups of women wearing red capes and white hats as depicted in online series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” sitting in the gallery to demonstrate their support for the “progressive” abortion legislation.
“Where were the Christians? Where was the Church?” Severin thought. It was then that Severin came up with the idea to start the Pray for Springfield Facebook page. The page links to a calendar that shows dates the House is in session and if a church group is scheduled to be in the gallery. Also from the page, you can private message or call to sign up a group from your church.
“It’s not about me. It’s non-denominational. I’m not pushing anything other than pushing people to pray for our state,” he told the Illinois Baptist.
Ultimately, Severin shared, “I want to encourage Christian across the state that God would turn legislators’ hearts and give them wisdom to promote things that are good and right. That he would give people reason to come to Illinois and stay in the state.”
A church from Southern Illinois has already registered to bring a bus load of 55 people to pray in the House gallery when the spring session begins Jan. 28. And Sammy Simmons, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Benton and IBSA President, said his church is working on a date when it can bring a team to Capitol to pray.
“Prayer does matter, and prayer is a great offensive weapon.” Simmons said, “Instead of complaining about the decisions that are happening in Springfield, maybe God’s people should pray that God would lead the decision makers. God implores us to pray for our elected officials.
Simmons underscored the importance of praying in Springfield. “When we go to the Capitol and pray in the gallery, we are able to pray onsite with insight for our leaders and for our state. Who knows how God might move in the hearts of our elected officials as they make decisions as God’s people pray?”