23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
For the hour cometh - the dissolution of the Mosaic dispensation
We have no temple to which we can repair. We have no priest to whom we can take the visible tokens of our submission and confession. We have no established and striking service of worship in which we can take part.
We are inorganic units, sojourning among the Gentiles while chaos reigns in the land of promise. We can only worship as individuals. But there is consolation in the thought that our individual worship is acceptable, if offered in spirit and in truth. Nay, the Father seeketh such to worship Him.
What a comfort here, that the Possessor of heaven and earth finds pleasure in the approaches of those who believe in Him, and who approach Him in truth and not in pretence: in spirit and not in form merely. To make this approach, we need not to go to a particular place. We require not to come together, though coming together is required of us under another head.
God fills heaven and earth. He is not far from every one of us. He knoweth our thoughts afar off. We need but to turn our thoughts and words to Him. This seeks and needs solitude. The human mind is weak. We cannot attend to God and man at the same time.
While in a sense we may set God always before our face, we must step aside from even the dearest friends when we mean to address ourselves to the Father in the particular manner implied in the word prayer.
It is frequently recorded of Jesus that he withdrew from the multitude and spent even whole nights in prayer. And in this matter, the true heart instinctively shuns the situation of the hypocrite, who desires it to be known he is praying. Prayer in spirit and in truth seeks absolute privacy as Jesus enjoins.
Of course, the public exercises of the brethren in the assemblies of the saints stand in a different category; but even in these, when the leader of our approaches is a true man and no mere performer, the words of the petition will be brief and modest and subdued -- a result certain to accompany a consciousness of God.
But the primary reference of the words under consideration is doubtless to those individual [and simple] acts of worship which are a constant luxury and strength to such as worship God in spirit and in truth.
Bro Roberts - Seasons 1: 41
24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
A first principle with me in all reasonings upon this subject is, that "there is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all" His spiritual family. Another axiom is that "He is the Blessed and Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who ONLY hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; WHOM NO MAN HATH SEEN nor can see " (1 Tim. 6:15). And again, "God is Spirit " (John 4:24); and He is "incorruptible" (Rom. 1:23).
THE INCORRUPTIBLE SPIRIT DWELLING IN LIGHT is the Scripture revelation of the undefinable essence of the self-existent Eternal One, who is from everlasting to everlasting, God. What His essence consists in, He has not revealed; He has made known to us His name, or character, which is enough for men to know; but to say that because He is a spirit he is therefore "immaterial," is to speak arrant nonsense; for immateriality is nothingness, a quality, if we may so speak, alien to the universe of God
Elpis Israel 1.6..