“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”
Read the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4
The Samaritans worshipped in spirit but they lacked the truth about God, Jews had the truth of God but lacked spirit in their worship. When praying, we can pray with spirit but receive little of what we ask for because we lack truth – we don’t understand the will of God and ask for things outside of God’s will. On the other hand, we can pray in truth but lack spirit – our prayers lack faith that God can do anything and we are bound by a narrow view of what God is willing to do
Are you lacking in your prayers in either spirit or truth? Do you know what God’s will is when you pray and do you pray with full faith that God can answer your prayers?
For our prayers to be effective, we need to be praying in accordance with God’s will but also in faith that he can do anything. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman that a time would come when true believers would not be confined to worship in a certain place such as the nearby mountain or Jerusalem. Our prayers are not affected by our location likewise. There is no “holier” place to pray. God will answer a prayer the same way if it is prayed at home or at church.
Have you ever felt that you needed to be in a certain location to pray?
Not only do we have the ability to go to God anywhere, we can go to God at any time in prayer – it is never too late (see Nehemiah 2 for an example of a quick last minute prayer)
What are your thoughts on what Andrew Murray says in his book?
“Let our attitude in prayer be the deep confession of our inability to bring God the worship that is pleasing to Him, the childlike teachableness that waits for Him to instruct us, and the simple faith that yields itself to the breathing of the Spirit. Above all, let us hold on tightly to this blessed reality – the secret of prayer in spirit and truth is in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God, the revelation of His infinite fatherliness in our hearts, and the faith in His infinite love for us as His children.”
If we have been Christians for any length of time, it is easy to be comfortable with one method of prayer, but we must seek to pray in both Spirit and in truth. Our prayers should not just be focused on one thing, but on many things we’ve been told to pray about. The next lesson will give us an example of exactly how to pray by showing us how Jesus prayed.
We can get in a rut with our prayers. We either concentrate on physical problems and forget the spiritual, or the other way around. If we want to pray in spirit and in truth, we need to remember both the physical and spiritual needs of others. We need to recognize that while we pray for people who are sick and hurting, we need to pray for spiritual growth of ourselves and our church. Conversely, if we are growing as Christians, our love of mercy and compassion should grow as well and we should remember those who are sick and hurting – but we need balance and need to remember both.
Adapted from With Christ in the School of Prayer