The second commandment comes from an interesting story the apostle John tells about a conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman by a well. Jesus was there, resting, while the disciples went into a nearby village for food, when a woman came near to draw water, and Jesus initiated a conversation.
At one point she, being a Samaritan, asked Jesus where people should worship; in Jerusalem as the Jews insisted, or at Mount Gerizim, as her people had always done. Jesus takes the opportunity to tell her what is important about worship, and it is not the location.
Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.” John 4:21
Even as Jesus told the woman that the time was coming where location would not be the main issue, He revealed to her what would be required, that worship of the Father be in Spirit and in Truth. He says it twice.
“But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
God is looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
In this description of our prayer and worship of God, Jesus isn’t giving us a puzzle that we must theologically solve in order to pray correctly, on the contrary, He is showing us the way to worship with the utmost simplicity.
Notice the beautiful picture of the Trinity in this passage, and Jesus says it twice so we won’t miss it – we worship the Father, literally, in the Spirit, and in the Truth. That is, in the Holy Spirit, and in the Truth, Who is Jesus Christ (I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life—John 14:6). Like the Hands of the Father; the Son and the Spirit are the pathway for worship that the God requires, and is seeking.
In practice, this is about total surrender. God initiates our worship and prayer, gathering us corporately, nudging our hearts individually, and we respond to Him with words of worship. We do the best that our vocabulary will allow, but we really only scratch the surface of what our spirit and soul groan to say. Our language fails us when we try to fully describe the worth of God and the boundless gratefulness we have, or the depth of our plea for the hurting, hungry and persecuted—words fail us.
Gratefully, Jesus promised to dwell inside the lives of each of His followers, “the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26). And, He promised that the Holy Spirit would also abide in each believer, “He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17). And through our spirit, the Holy One intercedes, translating our deepest thoughts, and offering them to God beyond language as a sweet smelling incense.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26
We worship and pray to the Father, embraced in His loving arms, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. When God brings you to a church service, or nudges your heart through the day, in a small group, or with your family. Words and songs and everything else is secondary to this—that you surrender to the embrace of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
When you worship from the embrace of God, fully surrendered to the work of His Hands within you, you will truly be on the path to becoming a “Weatherproof” temple of worship, in Spirit and in Truth.