Continuing a tradition that began over 200 years ago, our nation will recognize today as the National Day of Prayer. Thousands of events will be held locally across the nation including prayer breakfasts, concerts of prayer, rallies, church prayer vigils, student flagpole gatherings and observances held in sports stadiums. In Washington DC, hundreds of believers are meeting on the West Front of the US Capitol today to read the entire Bible aloud and without commentary for 80 continuous hours.
Since 1990, the largest and longest running Bible Reading Marathon (BRM) has taken place on the front steps of the White House in Washington DC. The marathon, one of many being held in the world, is held primarily in conjunction to the National Day of Prayer in the United States, but has grown internationally, as a stand of solidarity for the church.
The Bible Reading Marathon is often timed to culminate with the National Day of Prayer because "All of the volunteers that are standing here feel that we're a living embodiment of Isaiah 55 where God declares that His word will go forth and accomplish the purpose that He purposes", says Mike Hall, Director of the Capitol Marathon.
People from all sorts of backgrounds and nationalities come to our nation's capital to share in God's unity by reading the Bible together. The timing is aimed at preparing the heart for what God will do next, and encouraging people to read their Bibles more. It's also an exercise in freedom, a theme echoed by NDOP's theme, "Let Freedom Ring". Hall explains, "It is a group of volunteers, Christian volunteers who come together to read through the entire Bible on the west lawn of the United States Capitol. This is the 15th year we've done that; we're standing here, exercising our First Amendment rights, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and most important of all, freedom of religion."
The Bible Reading Marathon is partnered with Bible Pathway Ministries, a program that takes readers through the Bible in a year. The history of the two groups followed the same path toward a common goal.
In February of 1989, Dr. John Hash, founder of Bible Pathway Ministries, met with Dr. Jerry Wiles, President of Bible Pathway Ministries at that time, and members of the staff to share his vision to enlist one billion people to read through all the Bible.
The first Bible Reading Marathon took place on January 1, 1990, at precisely 12:01AM on top of the Mount of Olives where a small group of believers began reading through the Bible.
At the same time, similar Bible Reading Marathons were held in Berlin and Bucharest--all to awaken a global response to the desperate need for a return to reading the Word of God.
Bible Reading Marathons have been held in such far corners of the world as Canada, England, France, Germany, India, Holland, Hungary, Mexico, Nigeria, New Zealand, Peru, Sweden, and Russia. They have also been held throughout the United States -- in town squares, on county courthouse steps, and at state capitols.
Read aloud, the reading of the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation takes approximately four days.