In Revelation 4, the ‘prayers of saints’ are described as a sweet smelling incense of worship that continually rises before the throne of glory – and pleasing to Him!
In John 4, while talking to the Samaritan woman on worship, Jesus said: “The Father seeks true worshippers who worship Him in spirit and truth”. True worshippers would indicate that in His Kingdom, there are ‘false’ worshippers also! Worship even in the Name of Jesus may not always be ‘in spirit and truth’. How then do we ‘worship in spirit and truth’?
Worship in spirit: We do acknowledge that it is only the Holy Spirit who helps us to worship God in a way that is worthy of Him and acceptable to Him. But note that, in this verse, ‘spirit’ is a small ’s’, referring to our human spirit. So what Jesus meant here is that true worship is something internal. It is that beautiful communion, awe and adoration between our spirit and God. It is not necessarily external outbursts. But of course, the inner reality of true worship naturally expresses itself externally through a life of utter devotion to Him alone!
Worship in truth: That is why worship also has to be ‘in truth’, i.e. in accordance to the Word of God and God’s character. For example God is holy and nothing unholy can come into His presence! So, if we harbour an unforgiving spirit against someone-no matter how much she/he may have hurt us-then we cannot worship ‘in truth’. For Jesus teaches in the Lord’s Prayer that, if I cannot forgive another, then God does not forgive me. This sin becomes a barrier between God and me so that without repentance, confession and reconciliation, all my attempts to pray and worship is in vain. In fact, Jesus goes further and says that even if I have nothing in my heart, but realise that someone holds a resentment or grudge against me, then I must leave my gift at the altar, go be reconciled and then come, offer my gift to God! ( Matthew 5:23-25) Not only am I not able to offer true worship, but my offerings and services for Him also are not acceptable to Him. He desires a clean heart and clean hands!
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Dear sister, in all the stresses and strain of life and all its relationships, how is your worship of God? Of course you pray-you pray for yourself and you pray for others. But my question is, are you giving yourself to praise and worship God with a clean heart and life? How are your relationships in your family. Jesus reconciled us to God, so that now, by His grace and Spirit we can be reconciled to one another.
Is there someone you are not talking to, or angry with-someone who has hurt you deeply? Take that person before God and ask God to fill you with His glorious love that will flood your heart and wash away all that is unclean and bitter there, so that you can forgive that person -unconditionally. Do not pray, “Lord change that person”! Put away any pride in you, humble yourself and pray instead “Lord change me!”. And He surely will! What a wonderful love-gift to our Saviour who suffered so much to give Himself for us! And for you, that terrible burden on your soul will be lifted, and you will experience the joy of the release of His Spirit within you- to worship God! It is such true worshippers that the Father seeks!