When it comes to the World Cup, teams can use all the help they can get. Now that help may be divine, as the Church of England has released five official World Cup prayers, which include ones specifically for the England team.
Written by the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt. Revd. Nick Baines, originally for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the prayers ask for celebration and unity in the face of competition, blessings for the host country of Brazil, and all of the nations taking part.
Baines said in a statement, "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." He added, "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."
There's also something there for those not following the international sports competition, as Prayer 3 is simply titled, "A prayer for those simply not interested."
But for those who are hoping for a miracle when it comes to victory for their team, check out the prayers below:
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
"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.)