Leon Fontaine - Your Unfair Advantage
I have a fascinating kind of life story and I'm so blessed that God had me grew up in a home with two pastors, and they were good pastors. My mom and dad, they understood so much of the Word and continually taught me the Word. My dad shouldn't have been alive. He was filled with rheumatic fever and his heart had swollen so large as a teenage boy. He laid in bed while his parents looked after a ranch in a logging operation that they worked. He just laid in bed. And he said, "I had so much fear, Leon". And his heart had swollen so large that when it would beat, and he would gasp for breath because the valves of his heart were, had been destroyed by rheumatic fever, or were being destroyed.
And so my great grandma Olive, where they were Roman Catholic family predominantly. She heard about a healing evangelist in northern Alberta. And so she convinced my dad's parents to let her have him and take him on a trip. She took him up into the services where a man who believed in the power of God. And in that service, he was completely healed. It wasn't a chance. He was healed so beautifully that he came back and began to log as a young man, and get into the cold, and cutting in the bush, and horseback and working with cows.
Just completely restored by the power of God. And because of that he gave his life to Christ. He didn't really have a born again experience until this episode. My mom and him always had services where they would bring other men and women of God who would move in healing, who would move in the gifts of the Spirit, discerning of Spirits. God would show them things to help people, to bless people, and the services were unique. I mean, you know, we would take time there. We weren't as rushed and they could be, you know, as long as we wanted to and we would just pray and minister.
And so as a young teenager, I was fascinated by the supernatural flow of God. And I would corner these people because they always stay at our house because there was no hotel in our small town of Weldon and so they would stay in our house. And then we'd have coffees and lunches, and we just had this fantastic fellowship. Back then there were stuff I don't see much today of, where we would sit around for countless hours talking about the Bible. And how do you flow in the gifts of the Spirit? What's God showing you? And what do you sense when you're in this situation? It was one of the greatest learning times.
And so as a young teenager, I noticed this difference. I noticed that of all the pastors that I met. The ones who moved in the supernatural, by that I mean got miracles on a regular basis. They always referred to Holy Spirit. And they would pray in the Spirit. The term the Bible uses. They would pray in the Spirit every day. And so I became fascinated by this and I remember going forward one time just as a young teen and wanting this. The Bible talks about have you received the Spirit since you believed? And I remember praying in the Spirit and something changed in my life. In the years that were ahead, I found that sports was like, like so many of us people was just my thing. I would travel with basketball teams, football teams, volleyball teams.
The partying was off the charts, off the charts. I would travel with the provincial track teams both Saskatchewan and in Manitoba. And just to see the blatant sexuality. And they couldn't do drugs and alcohol because they'd get tagged and would lose their medals. And I remember as a young teen being tempted, but there just seemed to be a strength that I didn't even understand then. That being filled with the Spirit and praying in the Spirit. I want to show you a couple things about that. Absolutely changed my teen years. I would talk to my friends who were in the youth group. We had about nineteen guys and one girl in our little church that we were in, and I think eight of them are dead today. All from good Christian homes and made poor decisions in many cases. But they would talk to me about their lifestyle, and their lifestyle was brutal, brutal.
Just filled with things the Bible says, "Don't do. You'll hurt yourself". And they said, "I just, I'm so tempted. I just can't help myself, Leon. I mean, this temptation is awful". And I didn't know why I was tempted. I'm a, I'm a normal hot blooded young man but I couldn't participate in it. And in the years ahead as I begin to study the Word as never before so I could pastor people. I begin to understand that even in the midst of me needing confidence. I wasn't a confident young man. I needed strength. I needed ability. I needed constant help. I didn't realize that praying in the Spirit was doing something to me that I had no idea. And as I dove into the Word of God, I began to realize there's a supernatural advantage to the believer. We live in a world, in a fallen world, and we do not have our new bodies yet like we will when we get to heaven.
And so this body lives in a world where temptation is trying to get you off course, trying to get you to do wrong things. And the only way you and I are going to be able to walk out in amazing Christian life will be to accept the help of Holy Spirit. Now, I want to talk to you about what praying in the Spirit does. You see, you're human spirit. You are a spirit living in a body. When your body dies, your spirit goes to heaven. And then one day, we'll get new bodies the Bible says in heaven. But you have a soul which is your mind, your emotions, your thinking. And your soul gets damaged on this planet. That's why the Bible says in Psalms 23, "He restoreth my soul".
Why is king David talking about this? When you read his life and you look at the mess ups he made. You can see why his soul needed restoring. I mean, he lost wives, children, and the things. And so he said, "Only God can restore, heal my"... It's like a finger can be pulled off and the raw nerve endings need to be healed. Your soul, your relationships, the things you are working through, thinking through that happened to you can damage your soul. And Holy Spirit, there's an interesting thing that talks about Holy Spirit in Romans 8:26-28. It says here that he'll cause things, all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. But in context, this is talking about praying in the Spirit. It's talking about when you pray in the Spirit, you are allowing Holy Spirit who is in your spirit. You're allowing Him to pray and to pray through you.
Now, your mind will not know what is going on in your world. Your mind will not know what's going to go on tomorrow, but Holy Spirit knows. And without prayer, nothing happens on this planet. The Bible says you have not because you ask not. That word "ask" in the Greek is the same word as declare. And it's not talking about getting God's permission or begging and pleading with Him to do something. And so when He made Adam and Eve in the garden and He said, "Have dominion over this planet". It shows the authority He gave to the human race. So much authority that God couldn't come down and set the human race free. He had to send His Son who took on a human body. And as a human being, He died in our place. And then Jesus said in the last chapter of Matthew 28, "All the power and authority is given to Me".
And so when God wants to move, He needs to move through someone, and He needs to have permission. This stuns people who don't know the Bible. God doesn't need permission. God can do anything He wants. No, He can't. If He could, He would. Why would He be such a jerk as let twenty million babies die, if He could just step in and stop it. Or the people who were kidnapped and chained to beds and the sickest things that go on. If God can just do anything He wants. What in the world is He doing allowing this? He gave authority to man. It is man that is messing up. But we as believers, when we begin to serve Him, so many people want to know the Bible and I do, too. But I want to function in what the Bible says I can do. So I begin to pray in the Spirit each day. And the Bible says in Romans 8:27 that when you pray in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit searches your heart.
Now, at first I didn't know what that meant. I thought, "Well, I'm born again. That means I'm forgiven. Why is Holy Spirit looking for my sin"? So He can nail me. But I realized He wasn't. He was looking for things that were blocking the flow of Holy Spirit coming out of my heart. You see, this is the victory that overcomes the world even our faith. Now, if faith is required to live right, to live in joy and peace, to get up with confidence, and do what you're called to do. Then it comes out of the heart.
So the reason Holy Spirit is searching the hearts, and I could just start reading scripture after scripture. But when Holy Spirit is to find the misbeliefs that have come out of heartaches and brokenness and hurts and repetition in your life. And His job as you pray in the Spirit, He begins to search your heart. And He begins to help you drop off the beliefs, the insecurities, the temptations, the things that are so compromising you. And the sin that so easily besets you that is stopping you from walking in the kind of life that you want to have. And not only when praying in the Spirit searches your own hearts.
But let's make up as an example. Let's say that you are being sued by someone who is a liar, cheater, and you're going to be before a judge. And you don't know how to pray. You don't know what judge you when you pray in the Spirit. Holy Spirit knows the future and He will search the heart of that judge. And he'll soften the heart of that judge in your situation. He'll work on the heart of the opposing attorney. When you begin to pray in the Spirit, that is the reason. And in context in Romans chapter 8, it's the reason things begin to work together for good for you, is because God needs permission to get involved in your life. And this authority which comes, which was given to the human race needs a human being to pray. But my weakness is, I don't know how to pray as I should. Anyone feel like me? I mean, what do I pray all about? But when you pray in the Spirit, then the Bible says He knows.
If you've got a history in the church, you'll notice that for every mile of truth, there's two miles of ditch. And so I found people who didn't believe in praying in the Spirit like they did in the early church. I found people who did believe but they were just crazy. Like I just, "Oh, man. I can't do that. I don't really want to do that". And I begin to seek God and say God, because I would go to services were stuff would go on that was just, you kind of go like, ugh. And one day God just spoke to me and said, "Jesus was filled with the Spirit always. How did He act"? Peter was filled and he kept himself full of the Spirit.
Paul, the apostle Paul. And you'll notice that whenever they would do miracles, it would say, "And Peter filled with the Spirit and the man walked. And Paul filled with the Spirit and the miracle that took place". And I begin to notice in the book of Acts and in the Pauline epistles that to maintain a Spirit-filled life is key to not just see miracles for others but to walk in the kind of confidence it would take to take on soldiers and be shipwrecked four times and all the things that Paul went through, and Peter went through. And so I didn't know everything about it. I just knew that it worked. Now, in 1 Peter 5, it says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, and He's going to exalt you in due time. Casting all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant, your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions that are accomplished in your brethren all over the world".
People are all dealing with this. So what do we do? Well, it's very clear here and I want to show you a term that I think you'll love. In the Bible in the Old Testament often talks about the arm of God. And when God, and when it does, it's talking about Jesus. But when it's talking about the hand of God, there's difference in the arm and the hand. It's talking about Holy Spirit. So here it's saying humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God and He's going to exalt you. What does it mean to exalt? It doesn't mean parade you around and make you famous. It means exalted over every storm, every fight, everything the enemy throws at you, everything that's needed. And the call of God on your life, your career, your marriage, your home, your family. You will win. To be exalted means to take the winner's circle.
And so it's saying here, humble yourself and flow with the Holy Spirit. The mighty hand of God. And so many Christians don't do this. They think that, you know, one time a long time ago they got baptized in the Holy Spirit, or they've never even heard about it. But we need this. As a teenager I would, I got a job working in a hospital. And I begin to practice what I was learning. In the back of ambulances I would pray for people. And I would do it so they wouldn't even know I was praying for them because if they reported me for praying, I instantly lost my job.
So I learned to operate in the gifts of the Spirit and allow Holy Spirit to flow through me in a way that was just kind of, I call it Spirit Contemporary. I was spiritually alive but I wanted to be contemporary. I didn't need to put on a show. I didn't need to do crazy wild things that some people acknowledge as filled with the Spirit. And I begin to see miracles in amazing ways. And I begin to recognize that even if it was what to do in an accident scene, or seeing things I could never know but I knew something by the Spirit of God, or even as a pastor, you know, walking by piece of property one day and hearing Him say, "Buy that piece of property. It's been sitting there right beside you. You can use it. You're going to be growing".
And I asked the staff, find out somebody who, who owns this piece of property? Nobody knew. We finally found out who owned it and they said, "We just had a meeting this week and we decided to sell it. How did you know? Nobody knows". God knew. And so the supernatural ability of God gives you an unfair advantage in this world. I've had people hanged around me who are unsaved and in business over the years. And they'd say, "Man, you are so lucky. Everywhere you go something good happens like, like it's just not even fair". I thought, anybody can give your life to Jesus Christ and then pray in the Spirit. God is not holding anything back. The devil doesn't have the power to hold anything back. That means praying in the Spirit and studying His Word. Just growing in grace that it begins to move into the area called the heart.
Now, the heart is kind of an overlap of your mind and your spirit. Now your spirit is where God is, and your mind is what your parents and grandparents trained and society trained and school trained and you trained it. Our heart's a little messed up. But thank God, Holy Spirit searches our hearts. And what's He doing? Hebrews 4:12 says that when you look at the three parts of man, it talks about the very motives and intentions of the heart. God's Word and His Spirit goes in and begins to clean out these things that are stopping and hindering the power of God from working in your relationships, working in your health, working in your future. And you will know when you meet someone who maintains a constant spirit-filled life. Because yes, they're normal people given to normal exasperation and anger and all the rest. But you will see them quickly move into a place of getting back into the peace, getting back under the spout where the power flows out. Praying in the Spirit. The washing of water by the Word and maintaining a spirit-filled life. It'll make you the most attractive person to friends and business associates and spouse.
You can change nobody. You cannot change anybody's heart. Work on your teenager all you want. You can't change their heart. If you don't believe me for those who are single get married. You can't change somebody. But when you pray in the Spirit, did you know the Spirit of God as you pray in the Spirit begins to search their hearts. He's not forcing them. He's not dominating them. He's bringing revelation and cleaning out the misbeliefs that are hurting them. What a beautiful way to pray over your kids and your teens. What a beautiful way to pray over your grandkids and the future generation that aren't even alive. When I die and go to be with Jesus, I will have prayed over the generations of my family that will be alive when Sally and I are gone. And those prayers they never end.
I am living out today the prayers of a great grandmother Olive and my dad Cam. My mom is still alive. As they prayed over us and those prayers are still working. There's not a time. You know, it's like our food. Sally is so good. We buy food. She just check the dates. I just eat it and half way, she go ugh. There is no expiry date on prayer. No expiry date. For decades my dad prayed for his boys, believed God for us. And today I'm walking out his... I want to, that, I want that accumulation to be upon what goes on upon the church, the television stations. The things that God has entrusted us to raise up for Him as we pray and declare. It's amazing. But if I could bring you to something that has kept me sane and emotionally stable. Usually. It's praying in Spirit. There's a verse in the Bible, I'll end with this.
It's 1 John 3:18-23, it says, "Beloved, if your heart condemns you, if you don't have confidence and boldness and assurance, you will not receive anything from the supernatural realm". But it says, "God is greater than our hearts". And it says in verse 20, "If your heart is tormenting in self-accusation, making you feel guilty, making you feel condemned. God has a bigger and above that". And as you begin to tie these beautiful mysteries together, no wonder Holy Spirit searches the hearts as you pray in the Spirit. Because I don't know about you but I can condemn myself pretty fast. I feel guilty over things I don't even do. Religion has a way of doing that. If you're raised in a home, that boy, if you're ever wrong, that you get it. Well, there's this fear that you're always wrong. That you're always doing something wrong and you can't believe.
Faith is where your heart is established in the Word of God. And Holy Spirit, He is here to search your hearts and He'll begin to help you plant the Word as Jesus talks about in Mark 4. Faith is a process not a onetime emotion. And as you plant the Word in your heart, your word, your heart begins to produce all the favor and blessing of God. First thirty-fold, sixty-fold. And, you know, most people will tell me with my first year of serving Jesus was when I had the most miracles, win the most people to God. Then I kind of just got the usual, you know. What a backwards way to look at God. You can grow in strength, confidence, blessing, health, relational strength. I mean, it can just keep growing and growing because the light grows brighter and brighter until that perfect day. And if you'll keep praying in the Spirit, Holy Spirit as your helper will continue to just keep this soul, this heart growing in grace. God's favor. God's ability.
And faith just begins to be released, and everything you put your hand to begins to prosper. And everything you begin to do, you'll see the presence of God. The supernatural ability that takes you over, takes you through. That even when you're waiting for a miracle to take place and it hasn't happened yet. And others are scurrying around like chicken little going, "Buck, buck, buck, buck. The sky is falling". You just go, "My God's never failed me". And I don't know what others are believing for, but I will win and I will succeed and I will overcome and I will walk in a constant blessing because my God said so. A thousand fall at my side, ten thousand on my right hand. It will not come near me. And you begin to take these promises praying in the Spirit.
I don't think I'd be here, if we couldn't pray in the Spirit. Having to find millions of dollars for every organization. From the death threats to the people that blog about you and come against you. The things that go on and just everyday life you deal with. I'm just so thankful. Just getting in my prayer closet and just praying in the Spirit. I just feel this washing of water by the Word. I just feel the strengthening. Praying in the Spirit just strengthens you, builds you up on your most holy faith. Burns the chaff from the wheat. Burning off all the negative emotions and motives, and it leaves you with a strength and an ability and a joy for life. That only He could bring.