A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers.
John 4:23, The Amplified Bible
Jesus’ life, death and resurrection had one main objective and that was to regain man’s access to the Father. Adam completely lost the spirit-to-spirit or heart-to-heart connection when he sinned. The literal lifeline was severed for him and all his offspring. First the system of sacrifices was implemented, then the Law was established to provide some means of allowing the Lord to relate to mankind and vice versa. However they were only weak bridges between The Holy Almighty and death-contaminated man.
Over the course of 4,000 years, only a few had even limited insight into the Father and even fewer had a true relationship with Him. It took the life and blood of Jesus, His Son, to recover all. And recover all is exactly what He did.
When the Lord recovers something, it is always better than it was before. Jesus restored the broken covenant between God and fallible man to a covenant between God and Himself, an immortal Man, then let us in on it! He recovered the dominion Adam had as underruler over the earth, and seated us in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 1-2)! Most importantly, Jesus recovered the relationship between God and man and elevated it to Father and son (or daughter).
Now, Jesus, by the Spirit says, with full access to the Father, come boldly to the throne of grace and obtain (see Hebrews 4:16). This is more than just a warm invitation. It is to be our way of life, our way of living. Jesus said, “My Father will grant you whatever you ask in My Name” (John 16:23, The Amplified Bible). Take a look at every reference Paul makes to whom he is praying. It is without exception to the Father in Jesus’ Name (Ephesians 1:17, 3:14; Colossians 1:2-3).
Why? The reason is basically twofold: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (James 1:17, New International Version) and no man comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6). In other words, everything, EV-ERY-THING good comes from the Father. You must go to Him to get it, and through Jesus (or in His Name) is how you do it.
This is so much more than just heaven’s system of withdrawals and deposits. It is an incomprehensible privilege and opportunity! It takes the help of the Holy Spirit to fathom the concept, even more the reality, that you and I are beckoned to “come boldly to the throne”!
I’ve been to Washington, D.C., several times. Each time, just landing in the city gave me such a sense that we were in a place of great power and influence. Actually being in the halls of the White House leaves no doubt that you are inside the walls where the pinnacle of political power resides. But even the great Oval Office cannot compare to the throne of the Creator! The Master! The Almighty! Light, Love and Life Himself! Just this alone, when it really dawns in your heart and mind, is enough to draw you to your prayer chair with an eager yet humble expectation.
When the eyes of your understanding are enlightened to His call for you to “come up hither” (Revelation 4:1), the desire to worship Him—or to be with Him—is an all-consuming instinct. It can be humorously compared to the way a puppy loves to be with its loving master.
But here’s something you may not have considered. John 4:23 speaks not only of those who worship the Father (like the puppy that follows its master’s every move), but the Father seeks such worshipers. Most people assume that God just wants to surround Himself with people who adore Him, as if He is some kind of egomaniac. But the Greek word translated “seeks” can also be translated “worship” or “desire.” In other words, He seeks us the way we seek Him. We desire to please Him, to be with Him, to follow Him. He desires to please, to be with and to lead us. You could say He seeks a mutual relationship of love and adoration. This is the basis of a living prayer life.
But notice the two elements that bring it all together: “In spirit and in truth.” In John 17:17 Jesus said, “thy word is truth.” So, we can say “in spirit and in the Word” and be accurate. The Spirit and the Word are the two essential elements our mutual relationship with the Lord is founded on. The Father longs for those who long for Him in, or by, the Spirit and the Word. That’s not hard to understand.
Consider this: How did God create the universe? Genesis 1:2-3 (New International Version) tells us that “the Spirit of God was hovering…” and then “God said” and whatever He said was. There you have it, the Spirit and the Word. This is His way. Everything from the very beginning has been by the Spirit moving on what God said. There are no exceptions, so to fellowship with the Father in prayer you must know this. To fulfill your God-given role as a covenant son or daughter, and underruler, you must understand the ways of the Spirit and become skillful in the Word of righteousness.
Throughout 30-plus years of ministry I’ve seen what results when one is overemphasized and the other left out. It doesn’t matter if it’s preaching, praying or living. People who attempt to be spiritual without the Word get “off.” That means everything from silly to prideful. It’s the shortest route to deception and spiritual bankruptcy. On the other hand, the Word without the leadership of the Spirit is at best dry, but will eventually become legalistic, harsh and even cruel. Since God is love, it is impossible, impossible!, to accurately interpret His Word into our lives without love. And it is the Holy Spirit who shines the light of love into our hearts (Romans 5:5). An ongoing awareness of His role is vital.
But who would really want one without the other?
How, then, do we apply this to our prayer lives? Well, none of us will ever arrive at knowing all there is to know in skillfully living by the ways of God. But we can easily understand this basic principle that applies wherever we are in our spiritual walk and can be built upon forever: There is nothing you have apart from God that will bring you close to God. Because of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice, you have been given the same means by which the Father masters circumstances and blesses humanity—the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word of the Holy One. Do not come to Him without the Word on your lips and the leading of the Spirit in your heart. And for a certainty, don’t face the devil with anything less!
If you don’t know the Word, that’s an easy fix. Read it! Listen to preachers preach it! Practice speaking it! If you don’t know how to be led by the Spirit, ask Him! It is His ministry calling to lead you to what you need to know. He will lead you to the Word that will teach you about yielding to the Spirit. It is a never-ending thrill ride that will eternally lift you more and more fully into the presence of Him who is seeking you.
by Terri Copeland Pearsons