Annual 90-hour 'Bible Reading Marathon' at US Capitol, prelude to National Day of Prayer

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, participating in the National Bible Reading Marathon, Washington, D.C., April 29, 2019.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, participating in the National Bible Reading Marathon, Washington, D.C., April 29, 2019. | Louie Gohmert Facebook page

The annual "Bible Reading Marathon" is on the steps of the U.S. Capitol this week. Scripture will be read aloud, uninterrupted, for just under four days straight.

"Because the Bible is at the heart of America's founding principles, it should be voiced at the heart of our Federal Government, exhorting our nation to return to God's precepts," the vision statement on the website for DC Bible Marathon explains.

"Therefore, it is our desire to publicly read God’s Holy Word on the steps of the nation's Capitol, every year, for ninety consecutive hours."

Established in 1990, the marathon brings hundreds of Christians to Washington D.C. to the front of the Capitol Building to read aloud the entire Word of God publicly from cover to cover, with no commentary. The marathon is a ministry of Seedline International, headquartered in Brazil, Indiana.

Among the participants this year was Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas.

Bible reading marathons are not only happening now in the nation's capital but around the country.

While evangelical Protestants are known for their emphasis on the primacy of Scripture and their Bible-reading habits, the idea of reading the Bible aloud from Genesis to Revelation in unbroken fashion is not exclusive to them.

At the start of Lent this year, Roman Catholics from St. Martinsville, Louisiana sponsored a Bible reading marathon where "300 lectors from the 121 parishes in the diocese, along with faith leaders of other denominations from across Acadiana," read from a special handmade Bible around the clock from Ash Wednesday through Sunday evening, March 10.

The event was intended to help “prime the pump” and reignite a love for the word of God and its practice in life, according to Michael Champagne, a local priest who organized the event.

“People everywhere love to exercise. It’s important to stay in physical shape, which is why many participate in programs such as CrossFit and compete in Iron Man races, triathlons, and marathons. And we wanted to provide a way for people to spiritually exercise,” he said in a statement.

“God’s pre-eminent way of speaking to us is through the sacred Scriptures. Every page of the Bible recounts God’s burning and fatherly love for us, and the Bible Marathon is a reminder of that love.”

The Bible reading marathon in Washington D.C. began Sunday and concludes Thursday with the National Day of Prayer service.

The national observance of the National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday at the U.S. Capitol.

The theme of this year's NDOP is "Love One Another" which comes from Christ's words in John 13:34, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you.”

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