With less than three weeks until England's opening match with the USA in South Africa, the Church of England has published three prayers for the World Cup: two for the teams, the hosts and the fans -- and one for those not interested. The prayers ask for blessings on all those involved, for generous sportsmanship and for the soccer competition to be a source of celebration.
The prayers, for personal use or for use during church services, were specially written by Bishop Nick Baines of Croydon and the church's communications office in association with the Rev. Peter Moger, national worship development officer.
Baines said of the prayers: "More than half the population pray at some time and everyone will be affected by the World Cup in one way or another, so it makes sense to have some prayers for those that want to use them. This isn't just about football; it's about the rainbow nations of the world celebrating together with the people of South Africa."
Prayers for all those involved in 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.
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 South Africa 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.