Dutch Churches Join in 666 Prayer Marathon

Amsterdam, Netherlands - A Dutch religious group organized a countrywide 24-hour prayer marathon Tuesday, fearing that the date June 6, 2006 - 06/06/06 - will lend power to the forces of evil.

The New Testament's book of Revelation says that the number 666 is the "number of the beast," which some Christians interpret as a reference to the arrival of the anti-Christ at the beginning of the apocalypse.

But spokesman Jan Piet of the Ambassadors Ministries said his group wasn't particularly fascinated by numerology or worried that the anti-Christ would arrive on Earth on Tuesday.

"I don't think the devil has much more to do today than on any other day of the year," Piet said. "He causes discord and celebrates some victory just about every day."

But Tuesday "is an unusual day" because of the date, he said.

"It's a day where a lot of people, groups, may use to accomplish everything that has to do with evil and the devil. What we want to do is set down a large amount of Christian prayer as a kind of counterweight," he said.

Around 50 mostly Protestant churches of various denominations in the Netherlands are joining in the prayer marathon, which ends at 6 p.m.. Similar prayer-a-thons have been organized in 23 other countries, including Canada, the United States and Britain.