The front-to-back Bible reading that has been going on for more than three straight days will come to an end today, with the last verses to be read before a closing ceremony by the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Since Sunday night, scores of Christians have been gathering on the West Terrace of the Capitol building for the 20th annual U. S. Capitol Bible Reading Marathon even with rain precipitating throughout the week.
When the event concludes today – National Day of Prayer – with a closing ceremony at 2 p.m., 90 hours of reading will have been completed and scores of prayers will have been lifted up.
And critical to the success of the event has been the Capitol building's staff and the Capitol Police's Special Events department.
"The Capitol Police Special Events department has always been helpful. This year was no exception," reported Michael and Terry Hall, directors of the marathon.
"The Capitol staff and especially the Capitol Police have been always gracious, polite and helpful to us in spite of the extraordinary demands that our unusual event places on their time and resources," they added.
Though an earlier report by event sponsor Faith and Action had claimed that Capitol Police authorities denied planners the use of a sound system and that they demanded for all equipment and supplies to be removed from the Capitol grounds at the end of each 24-hour permit period, the Halls set the record straight this week in a statement to The Christian Post.
According to the marathon directors, the use of sound equipment has always been prohibited due to the event's close proximity to several key Congressional leadership offices. Furthermore, the standing rule for Capitol events is that none can last over 24 hours.
However, last Thursday, the event's coordinators were granted a special waiver that allowed them to remain in place without having to move off the grounds during the five-day, four-night marathon.
"For this and for the privilege of reading on the West terrace, we are very grateful," the Halls stated.
"At this ... point in our 90 hour readathon the only complaint we have is about the rain," they concluded.
Following today's closing ceremony, there will be the Capital Region National Day of Prayer Observance – a cross-cultural annual event of worship, repentance, supplication and celebration of the Church's unity. The observance includes a time of prayer and intercession, a gathering of pastors and church leaders, and a public prayer and unity assembly in the evening on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capital.
Though the Bible Reading Marathon has been held each year since it was established in 1990, the National Capitol Region National Day of Prayer has been held annually since 1984.
The wider National Day of Prayer, meanwhile, has been observed since it was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Since 1988, it has been observed each year on the first Thursday of May.