Years ago I was in a well known English church and got a bit annoyed at everything in the service being introduced with 'Shall we ... pray/sing?" I felt like calling out, "No". Ever since then I have been noticing how leaders of worship introduce components of a service. Thus I hear, and you also probably hear things such as I heard that night, or,
'Would you please stand to sing ...?'
'May we pray now?'
'Could you please turn in your prayer books to page 420?'
My recommendation is that we (a) think carefully about how we will introduce 'the next thing' in the service, (b) reflect carefully on what it means to be a confident rather than a diffident leader, (c) make a decision to speak confidence rather than diffidence, and (d) do this on a group basis within a parish so that all leaders lead confidently.
Thus we should find ourselves giving a polite instruction rather than asking a question of our congregations.
"Let's stand to sing our first hymn"
"Turning in our prayerbooks to page 410, let's affirm our faith together"
"As our Lord has taught us, we pray [brief pause], 'Our Father ...'."
Note one key word is "let" in the phrase "let us" or "let's".
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