National Day of Prayer closes marathon

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, May 3, 2012

With a final closing message from Rev. Rick Hayes of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Troy, the sixth annual Bible Reading Marathon came to a close at noon Thursday.

The marathon began on Sunday with a prayer walk through the streets of Troy and first readings followed at 7 p.m.

By noon on Wednesday the Bible had been read in its entirety, with Troy mayor Jimmy Lunsford serving as the final reader.

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The 90-hour marathon saw over 360 participants who read passages from the Bible, including members of local churches, college students and individuals.

“I thought it went well this year,” said Linda Adams, administrator of the Salem-Troy Baptist Association, which hosted the event. “We had a lot of people come up and read for the first time, and even though a lot of people can be nervous about reading in front of a crowd, we had good participation and a lot of people coming to listen.”

The National Day of Prayer message led by Hayes brought about an end to the marathon. Hayes recited the parable of the Prodigal Son from the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament and then led the attending crowd in a final word of prayer.

“The marathon needs to conclude with a message of the Gospel and the story of the Prodigal Son is the message of the Gospel,” Hayes said. “The message that we have a loving Father who is waiting for us to return to Him.”

The sponsors of the marathon said they realize the importance of having the public readings of the Bible, and made it clear that the event is open to people of all denominations.

“It’s important to honor God with a public reading of His word,” Adams said. “We need to hear His word today more than we ever have before. And we’re not just about one denomination, but all denominations. Everyone is welcome. We’ve got to pray for our leaders. Not just today, but everyday as they make decisions.”