THE faith of the Church of England does not appear to extend to
its football team. Asked to come up with prayers for England
success in the World Cup, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick
Baines, came up with just two words - part invocation, part
helpless lament: "Oh God. . ."
It comes in a set of prayers released by the Church of England
communications office to coincide with the start of the World Cup
Bishop Baines's prayers include ones for Brazil, the tournament,
and even those uninterested in football.
A second prayer for England is an adaptation of the 20th-century
translation of a prayer by Bishop Richard of Chichester (d. 1253),
asking that England players "might run more clearly, pass more
nearly and enjoy the game more dearly".
A die-hard Liverpool fan, Bishop Baines 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.
"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 - 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."
comment: Pray for the World Cup
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
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
"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.