A “GLOBAL prayer wave” has been organised to celebrate the opening of the Rugby World Cup, which is being hosted by England. The first match is at Twickenham tonight.
Christians around the world will pray from 8 p.m. (local time) in every time zone, to create a “wave” of prayer during the opening game, England v. Fiji, which kicks off at 8.
The event is being organised by the cross-denominational campaign Engage 2015, which has been set up to help churches in the UK serve rugby supporters during the World Cup. In preparation, a prayer wave was held last year on 18 September.
Today’s can be tracked on an interactive map on the Engage 2015 website. The map will also calculate global social-media participation using the hashtag #rwcprayerwave.
Engage 2015 has also released a resource pack, The Game of Life,to help Christians and churches run mission and outreach activities relating to the tournament.
The co-ordinator of Engage 2015, David Chawner, said that the programme was formed to provide “ideas and prayer topics” to meet the needs of friends, family, and the church with an interest in the game. “The Rugby World Cup is a wonderful way for God’s people to show his love and prayer needs to be at the heart of it all,” he said.
Engage 2015 has no official status in Rugby World Cup 2015, but rather seeks to “demonstrate God’s love” within the game and the communities it binds.
All Hallows Church, Twickenham, held a service of thanksgiving last night to mark the beginning of the tournament. More than 300 gathered in anticipation of the historic sporting event, including representatives from professional rugby clubs London Welsh, London Scottish and Harlequins, and members of the Rugby Football Union and the Rugby World Cup organisers. A representative of Engage 2015 was also present.
Hymns included “Guide me O thou great redeemer” and “I Vow to thee my Country”. The Area Dean of Hounslow, the Revd Richard Frank, led the prayers, and the Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, gave a short address to celebrate the Christian community within the sport, and its Christian roots. In the preface to the Order of Service the rules of rugby were said to have “much in common” with Christian teaching, including fair play, sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork, and the “equal importance” of winning and losing.
The Rugby World Cup, held every four years, is the world’s third largest international sporting event, and involves 20 national squads, 48 matches, and 50 training centres. All the matches will be shown on ITV.