CofE issues special prayers to accompany Olympic torch relay

Two new prayers have been issued today to accompany the Olympic torch relay on its tour of the nation.

The prayers, in full below, look forward to the celebration of "skill and determination" and ask that God strengthen Christians to serve and love their neighbours.

They will be used by many of the Church of England's 16,000 churches as the torch passes through their communities or close by.

A free pdf download of liturgical resources has also been made available for churches for use during the 2012 Games. The resources contain suggested Bible readings, prayers, collects and litanies.

The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Tim Thornton, and Cornwall Methodist District chairman, Rev Steve Wild, will be the first to use one of the new prayers at a special event marking the arrival of the Torch at Land’s End on Friday evening.

They will kindle a second torch for a nationwide prayer relay from a beacon being lit at nearby Chapel Carn Brea to symbolise the Gospel coming into Cornwall via the first Celtic missionaries.

Twelve lamps will be lit from the torch - one for each deanery - and churches from all denominations will then be invited to use the lamps to light an Olympic prayer flame for their own church.

The prayer relay’s baton will be passed on by successive communities over the coming 70 days.

There will be prayers and special events at each handover, with the Bishops of Durham, Newcastle and Whitby among those taking part in their local exchange.

The prayer relay is one of the many Olympic outreaches being organsed under the ecumenical umbrella of More Than Gold.

It has produced a free guide for Christians to use during the prayer relay. It hopes to see a "cascade" of prayer as the Olympic torch traverses the nation.

Bishop Thornton said: “It is a great privilege to be first in the chain of events and to be able offer a Christian perspective on the passage of the Olympic torch across Cornwall. We are trying to help even the most rural of communities feel part of the action.

“These specially composed prayers are the ideal way to celebrate the Torch Relay as we prepare as a nation for the 2012 Games. I encourage people to pray them over the next 70 days.”

Composed by the Liturgical Commission, the new Church of England prayers read:

Loving God,
as this torch travels our nation,
preparing us to celebrate the skill and determination of
those competing in the Olympic and Paralympic Games,
strengthen us to love you and serve our neighbour
with all the skill and determination you give us,
through Christ, the light of the world. Amen.

As this light travels our nation,
may your light, O God, shine in the hearts of all
who gather to celebrate the energy, skill and dedication of others.
Send your Holy Spirit
to light up our lives
and set our hearts on fire with love for you;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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