The following Extract from the treasure chest which is the Spurgeon Archive, is very challenging and humbling for those of us who are involved in leading services and preaching.
BRETHREN, we want to do our work rightly and effectively, AND WE CANNOT DO IT WITHOUT POWER. . . .We could be ministers, as some men are ministers, without any particular power, either natural, or acquired. Merely to perform services (to use an ugly word) "perfunctorily" does not require special endowments. Any speaking machine might do as well. There are ministers whose sermons, and whose whole services, are so much a matter of routine, and so utterly lifeless; that if power from on high were to come upon them, it would altogether bewilder them. Nobody would know them to be the same persons; the change would seem too great. The same things are said, in the same tone and manner, year after year . . . When this is the case among Nonconformists, it ruins the congregations, for it is death to every possibility of collecting people to hear; and still more is it murder to all hope of their being improved if they do hear. . .It is possible, even without a liturgy, to pray in a very set and formal style; indeed, it is so possible as to be frequent, and then the long prayer becomes a severe infliction upon an audience, and the shorter prayers are not much better. When I have thought of the preaching of certain good men, I have wondered, not that the congregation was so small, but that it was so large. The people who listen to them ought to excel in the virtue of patience, for they have grand opportunities for exercising it. . . You labour to discharge your ministry, not with the lifeless method of an automaton, but with the freshness and power which will render your ministry largely effectual for its sacred purposes.
Spurgeon knew the key to true success in ministry: the anointing of the Holy Spirit. At the start of this New Year let us seek God for a fresh filling and empowering of His Holy Spirit. Do you preach? Pray that you may preach with power. Do you pray? Pray that you may pray with power. Pray for yourself, your church and your minister that God may pour out His Spirit afresh and deliver us from spiritual dryness.