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Church of England publicizes official World Cup prayers
Church of England publicizes official World Cup prayers - photo by Metro Creative Graphics

There will be no prayers from the Vatican for Pope Francis's beloved Argentina, but the Church of England won't show the same restraint. The denomination has announced five official prayers for dedicated fans, including two for England's team.

"The prayers have everyone covered — the games, Brazil, the England football team and even a prayer for those who are 'simply not interested,'" Time reported. Originally written for the 2010 Word Cup in South Africa, the prayers will come in handy for an English squad that began their 2014 campaign with a loss to Italy on Saturday.

The Right Rev. Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, authored the prayers and acknowledged in a statement released by the church that the World Cup is superficial compared to crises in Iraq and Nigeria, but he emphasized prayer's ability to engage every aspect of life in a .
"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. .... 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," Baines said.

In a witty article titled "World Cup 2014: Who Says England Haven't Got a Prayer?" The Independent reported that the shortest of the official prayers is simply "Oh God …," which encapsulates the pessimism surrounding England's play. Baines redeemed himself for some by including another, more positive option: "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."
"Baines does not actually believe these prayers will help England win the World Cup," The Guardian reported. "But he does believe that the enthusiasm around the tournament is worth celebrating in itself."

The five World Cup prayers join a long list of topical prayers available on the Church of England's website. The denomination is also known for its Book of Common Prayer, which lists prayers and other resources to help individual churches structure their worship services.

The church's commitment to a variety of prayers might come in handy for readers feeling overwhelmed by the World Cup's invasion into multiple aspects of news. Deseret News National reported last week that Brazil's churches are grabbing headlines at an impressive rate.

The World Cup "prayer for those simply not interested" is an appeal for patience in the midst of the month-long spectacle. It reads, "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. Amen."

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