Yesterday, I shared how the World Cup is a time when the eyes of the world will be on the world–to the tune of 500 million people across the globe watching.
Today, the 2014 FIFA World Cup begins, and so to we begin by taking the next 32 days and praying for each country. Country #1?
República Federativa do Brasil–that is, the Federative Republic of Brazil.
By far, the largest country in South America,
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and occupies 47 percent of the continent of South America (Wikipedia)
Brazil was awarded the privilege of being the host nation due to its soccer (futbol) pedigree as well as having the 7th largest GDP in the world. Yet, corruption kept rearing its ugly head, as protests started: why so much money into the World Cup when that money could be used to alleviate the economic struggles of the people who live there? Over 84% of Brazil’s population is in the urban cities, and these cities are large, with Sao Paolo coming in with over 11 million people–and 20 cities having over 1 million.
They have a rich culture of literature and music (if you want a taste, then listen to the soundtrack of the movie Rio–no, I’m not kidding) and cuisine. Each year at Carnival, these are put on display in rather bacchanalian ways–indulging in the most hedonistic pleasures right up until Ash Wednesday, when they fast from such revelries (much like Mardi Gras–Fat Tuesday–does for the people of New Orleans).
Pray for the religious climate in Brazil as well. Soccer means much, but soccer won’t last into eternity–and soccer cannot redeem a soul. Below is a chart about the percentage of those involved in certain religions.
Item of prayer:
- Pray for missionaries in Brazil, such as Phil Kesler of the International Missions Board, as he works to spread the gospel to the nation of Brazil.
- Pray for the nation’s leaders as they find ways to help alleviate the financial and medical suffering of the people of Brazil.
- Pray that the nation sees that soccer is not ultimate. Last year, after a loss, the fans came onto the field and beheaded a referee out of unrest. Beheaded. A human being. May God spare such atrocities during the next four weeks.
I have Brazil as part of my Final Four for the World Cup–but they must come to the top of the list as a matter of prayer. Even if you don’t watch soccer much, tune in to the opening match on ESPN (4 Eastern, 2 Mountain).
May our hearts break for Brazil.