If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:7, 8 NIV)
People have occasionally asked me whether God told us to start a new site in Sandhurst, and how we can be sure it is what God wants us to do? That's a very good question, how do we know if God is really in all we are doing? Well I think some of the answer to that question is in the words recorded in John 15 above.
We'd hopefully all agree that one of the keys to living a fruitful life is prayer. Although there is much that we can do to produce fruitful soil with the potential for growth, it is only God who can supernaturally produce growth (see 1 Corinthians 3:6). Jesus is talking about that here when he tells us to "ask" in order that we might be fruitful.
But there is something surprising in what Jesus says about what we should pray for. He doesn't tell us to pray for God's will to be done, as he did in the Lord's Prayer, but instead for us to ask for "whatever you wish". That sounds quite dangerous, who knows what outlandish things we might end up asking for!
But the key comes just before in what Jesus says, the precondition for our prayer ring answered, which is that we remain in Jesus and that his words remain in us. What I've found in my own life is that the closer I get to Jesus, the more my desires change to become his desires. This is what David expressed when he wrote "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart". (Psalm 37:4 NIV). When we delight in him then our desires will be his desires and there will be no end to our prayers being answered.
I see Sandhurst in the light of this. We've never heard a voice from heaven telling us to start a site in Sandhurst, or had a prophetic word telling us to go there. But we have had a growing wish, an increasing desire to do something in that area, which I think is more strongly God's desire than it is ours. So we're now asking God to bless what we're doing in Sandhurst, making it fruitful and bringing him glory. And we're believing that he will hear our prayers and do what we've asked him to do.
That's a very long way of saying please be praying this week for both our Bracknell site and the launch of our Sandhurst site. Pray for fruit, pray for salvation, pray for workers, pray for God to be glorified. And if you're free please come and join us at the prayer meeting on Wednesday night - 8pm in K2 (and for the hour before praying for social justice in the K2 lounge if you're free). Hope to see you there!