Adapted from Anglican Communion News Service
The Church of England has released Prayers for the World Cup. The prayers are by the Rt. Rev. Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, who wrote them during the last football World Cup in South Africa in 2010 and has posted them on his weblog, Musings of a Restless Bishop.
In addition to prayers for those participating in the World Cup and those traveling to “join in the party,” there is also a prayer “for those simply not interested” by the competition.
After the end of the last World Cup, Bishop Baines wrote two prayers for England’s team. The first of these (“Oh God...”) reflects the lived experience of many England football fans, whilst the second prayer is a lighthearted take on a traditional prayer used by the Church of England in June each year to mark Bishop Richard of Chichester in 1253.
Speaking ahead of the release of the prayers, Bishop Nick, a diehard Liverpool fan, said:
God is not partisan and there are bigger things to pray for around the world, not least in Iraq, Nigeria, and Sudan, to name but three.
At its heart prayer is about expressing our desires honestly and having our vision of God, the world and one another changed by our praying.
For the next few weeks at least the passions and hearts of millions of men, women and children around the world will be focused on Brazil, where I’m pretty sure there will be lots of prayers being offered up throughout the tournament.
I know some have suggested it might take too much of a miracle for England to win the World Cup; we constantly over-rate, over-hype and over-anticipate England performance and then indulge in a collective intemperate bloodletting against team and manager when they fail to deliver on the big stage.
My hope is that the World Cup would be a reminder of the joy of a nation coming together in a common cause — something that in itself is worth celebrating.
A Prayer for the World Cup
Lord of all the nations, who played the cosmos into being, guide, guard and protect all who work or play in the World Cup.
May all find in this competition a source of celebration, an experience of common humanity and a growing attitude of generous sportsmanship to others.
A Prayer for Brazil
God of the nations, who has always called his people to be a blessing for the world, bless all who take part in the World Cup.
Smile on Brazil in her hosting, on the nations represented in competition, and on those who travel to join in the party.
A prayer for those simply not interested
Lord, as all around are gripped with World Cup fever, bless us with understanding, strengthen us with patience and grant us the gift of sympathy if needed.
Prayers for the England Football team
A final prayer
“God, who played the cosmos into being, please help England rediscover their legs, their eyes and their hunger: that they might run more clearly, pass more nearly and enjoy the game more dearly. Amen.”
(Based on The Prayer commemorating Richard, Bishop of Chichester in 1253 and used by the Church of England on 16 June each year Most merciful redeemer, who gave to your bishop Richard a love of learning, a zeal for souls and a devotion to the poor:
grant that, encouraged by his example,
we may know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day,
who with the Father and the Holy Spirit are alive and reign, one God, now and for ever.)