Leon Fontaine - Triumphant Prayer
As a young man watching people who prayed, I noticed three different kinds of people who prayed. The first were people who wept and cried and sought God and felt like they were really humble, but I never saw any miraculous things in their lives. Never saw hardly anything other than them crying and praying and begging. And it made me think just watching them, "Boy, God's an awful God. You've got to plead, beg, and bug to get Him to do something". And I was not impressed. They can be people of prayer. They would pray every day, but nothing ever change.
Then I noticed another group of people who would pray. They were the militant ones. When they prayed, they sounded powerful by the tone of their voice and how much they screamed at the devil. It was, "In the name of Jesus"! And I thought oh, man! I want to watch these people. But over the months and years nothing much changed in their life either. And but they would put out a lot of effort. That they kind of called themselves the militant church. They were prayer warriors, as though prayer was continually attacking the most powerful being on the planet the devil. That's ridiculous and I didn't see much change in those people's lives.
And so prayer became a real downer for me. I either wasn't praying enough, or I wasn't screaming enough, or I wasn't crying enough, or I wasn't having enough of a burden. But then I was introduced in the Word to His glorious church, His triumphant church, who knew who they were and who prayed from a position of authority. Today, I want to talk to you about authoritative prayer. I want to talk to you about recognizing that prayer is an honor. That prayer is a privilege. That prayer is designed that every prayer you pray should be answered. Every prayer, without exception.
Yet we all feel like we shoot gun prayer at the sky hoping one will get through because we don't know anything about prayer. We don't know the prayer secrets. We don't know there are nine different kinds of prayer. That the principles for one kind of prayer don't work on other kinds of prayer, not that prayer needs to become a religious formula. But the more you understand prayer, the nine kinds of prayer. How Old Testament prayer is different than New Testament prayer. You begin to hear and sense Holy Spirit with amazing accuracy.
And so the purpose for learning prayer isn't to learn rules in a rigid way. That if you do these three steps, it's going to happen. No, it's to get your mind renewed so you begin to sense the Holy Spirit guide you. And what do you do here? Should you pray for that person? You know, etcetera, etcetera. And so prayer is something we all need to understand.
Now, the thing about prayer is to understand that God's will is not happening on planet earth just because He, it's His will. Now, there is a whole group of people who they talk about the sovereign God, but they don't mean He's powerful. They mean He's always changing His mind and you can't really be guaranteed of anything. They're not, they don't believe that God's Word is His will. That if God said it and promised it, that's what His will is. And so these people are forever struggling in this area of prayer.
Now, when you look into God's Word, you'll recognize that He gave the planet to the human beings. It's says the heaven is the Lord's, the earth He has given to the sons of men. When He talked to Adam in the garden, He said to him, "You be fruitful. You multiply". Everybody here wants to be fruitful and multiply. You want to multiply your business, your home, your kids. You want peace to multiply, joy to multiply. You want friendship to multiply, influence to multiply, all of these things. But the Bible doesn't say that we do it waiting for God's authority. It says you have dominion. You subdue this planet. You rule and reign.
Romans 5:17 says we are to rule and reign as kings as human being. So when God wants something done on this planet. He needs to find a human being to pray through and to work through. He doesn't run around just doing whatever He wants. He is a God of authority. He understands authority and He gave the authority of the planet to mankind. This helps you to understand why so many people struggle in this area of prayer. Because they are either the defeated church begging, bugging, pleading, or they're the militant church that's screaming and focused on the devil all the time.
If you are focused in your prayer on the wrong thing, then you will be easily defeated. A really important war strategy is to get the enemy to concentrate on an area that is meaningless. The enemy does that to Christians. He makes them think that he's so big. He's so bad. That you should be noticing him. That you've got to figure out what evil spirit on what's side of the river and who's the... and on and on this intercessory prayer stuff has gone in the past. And it's a defeated, both types of prayer from the defeated church and from this militant church. They both don't get much done.
When you understand that I can speak a word and a storm will calm. You can speak a word and sickness leaves. That Jesus other than in a direct temptation, He said to the devil it is written three times. Other than that, He spoke a word and the evil spirit's left. Other than that, He just went about ignoring him and doing what He was called to do. And you and I when we understand the cross, when we understand we are the triumphant church. We are the church, we are the body of Christ. He is the head. We are the body. And that whatever the head is thinking and desiring the body carries out. So don't get caught up.
Now, when James 5, it's talking here in verse 13 and it says, "Is anyone among you suffering"? Now, that word "suffering" doesn't mean with sickness and disease. It means suffering with hardship, business hardship, people coming against you. You're going through something. It says, "Is anyone amongst you suffering or afflicted"? It says, "Let him pray". Then it says, "Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms". Both of these are talking prayer. "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven".
It's talking here about how important prayer is in every area of our life. If your life has an affliction. If there is stuff going on in your relationships. There is going on in your career. There is going on in regards to safety. Things are going wrong. People are coming against you. It says pray! Why? Because prayer will deal with what is behind that attack. Prayer will deal with things. It is prayer that releases God on the scene. When we begin to understand this, that prayer is praying from a sense of power and victory.
I'll never forget in one of the services that we were doing midweek. It's either Sunday night or Wednesday night. That a young man walked up to the front after I was done the service. And he was dressed in all black and he had white makeup on his face and had this arrogant look about him as if he was, you know, large and in control, walked up to me and in front of the people standing around said, "You know who I am"? I said, "Yeah, you're the person who thinks that gonna kill me". I said, "The God that I serve is so powerful". I said, "That you don't have the hope of succeeding, and the pathetic devil that you serve". Because I could sense he was a, he felt he was a witch or warlock. He had all these different terms. He worshiped the devil. He admitted it. I said, "You served a defeated, fallen angel. I can't believe you fell for such a wimpy pots".
He was shocked that I would speak this way. And he then said to me, "Well, you know what, I heard you're talking about healing. I have a two-year old daughter who has the ankle bones are deformed. She needs a miracle. You think God would heal her"? I said, "Yeah, go get her". So with the only about a hundred of us left at the service, he went back to his house and he got his little girl. He brought her in there. He stood her on a chair in the middle of the floor. And I just reached over and said a simple prayer and spoke healing over this body. She turned around just walked across the floor, ankles, bones, all beautifully restored and he's shocked.
So he gave his life to Christ. And in the story as I talked with him a little bit there. He informed me how he used to be a Christian but the church that he went to, they're always whining and crying to God and never got a prayer. Or they would try to bind the devil and they'd never get any answers. He said, "I just realize the devil's more powerful than God. And so I thought, just cast out God, told God off". And he started worshiping and studying Satanism and any to get his hands on for witchcraft. And then he figured out that he had all the story about how that if he could kill me, he's going to get more power. And oh, it's just, it was this whole story. I give you the quick version. And so he said, "But then when you said that I served this defeated little angel and that you served the God". He said, "I've never heard it talked about that way".
And I want you to know that the way the church prays and what they think is humility. But it's just this crying, defeated. Oh, please, Jesus. You don't find the disciples praying that way. You don't find Jesus praying that way. They prayed with authority. And I want you to know, that if you want to be effective in prayer. You need to be a student of God's Word. You need to understand. You need to understand that the Bible is the most amazing current book you could ever imagine.
The Bible is a book of principles that shows you behind the scenes. The kingdom of darkness and what it is doing. The kingdom of light and what it is doing. And regardless of the new inventions, regardless of computers and rockets, atomic warfare. There's always going to be two kingdoms until the end of this age. The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. And behind everything that one group does, is the kingdom of light, the angels of God, and the authority that they're learning. And the kingdom of darkness is this lying thing that tries to seduce you and I away from knowing Jesus and knowing the authority that is in His name.
Now, there's a story in the Old Testament that is a powerful look. It's a story of a man named Elijah. Elijah saw such wickedness going on in Israel. Israel was serving a god called Baal. B-A-A-L. In serving this god, they had 450 priests whose job it was to kill their children as they sacrificed them to their god Baal. Sick, disgusting, murderous cult. And he gets up and he tells king Ahab, "It is not going to rain on this country until I say so". Turned around and walked off and it stopped raining. In the third year of the famine, he gets before king Ahab and he says, "You take your 450 priests and you bring them to this area and we're going to see whose God is real".
So they all get together. All of Israel gathers. I mean, this was a demonstration with hundreds of thousands if not millions of people standing in a crowd watching 450 prophets of Baal and they built an altar and they put a sacrifice on that altar, and they began to pray. They started in the morning. They began to pray and beseech their God to whichever God would answer by fire. They couldn't light the sacrifice on fire. The real God had to light this sacrifice Himself. So these prophets of Baal began to pray and pray and pray and pray and pray. Then they began to cut themselves which is a sign of demonic worship. And as they cut themselves, blood would run, and they prayed till noon, nothing happened. Then they continued to pray and dance and jump and worship their God, and cry out to their God till the evening sacrifice time.
And finally, Elijah had enough, and he was teasing them. Maybe he's gone on holidays. Maybe he's sleeping. Who knows! And finally, he had enough he said, "All right. It's my turn". And he built the stones of an altar. Put an animal on top and he cut it into pieces and then God said, "Pour barrels of water on top". He soaked the sacrifice down, soaked the rocks on the altar down. It gathered in a trough around that altar. And then he prayed a prayer that was 30 seconds long. And out of an empty blue sky with not a cloud, a bolt of lighting or fire came out of heaven. So tremendously that it burnt up the sacrifice. It burnt up the rocks and it licked up the water, I just kind of see this lightning strike that goes, and it just stays there, and it was all done. And they all immediately turned to God.
Elijah turns to the king and he says, "I hear the sound of rain". There wasn't a cloud in the sky. He said, "Get ready. We're gonna have to head out. Get ready". So while the king is having a snack, he goes up to the top of Mount Carmel and he says to the young man who was with him, his servant. He's a helper. He says, "Do you see any clouds"? He says, "Nothing". He looks from the top of the mountain. The Bible says Elijah bow down and put his head between his knees. Which is the position for childbirth literally in those days. And as he's there, he sends the young man back again. Did you see a cloud? He says, "No, nothing". He just keeps sending him back. Why? Because he knew there would be. He knew God had spoken and he knew that God had spoken but he needed to pray.
So he is praying. And we're not talking about all day. We're not talking, he just pray and every time the young man came back, he'd sent him back to the, go look for a cloud. So after seven times, he says, "I see a cloud in a distance the size of a man's hand". And he says, "Get up! It's going to rain". And he tells the king, "Head for Jezreel". So the king, he's got the fastest horses in the country on his chariot and he heads out. And the Bible says that the skies got dark and it started to rain. And Elijah outrun the chariots of the king because the presence of God came upon him.
Now, I want to show you something about this story. In the book of James 5:16, it talks about the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available dynamic in his working. And the next verse says, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain in the land for three years and six months. And then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit". It says here that Elijah made the rain stop and Elijah made the rain start. But when you go back to the story in 1 Kings 17 and 18, it says God sent the rain and it shows us that God stopped the rain. Well, which is it? Is it Elijah or is it God? It is a relationship between God and man. Even though God told Elijah, "You go tell the king it's going to rain". Yet Elijah still needed to pray.
Can I say something to you? If you've stopped praying, you've given up. The things you've prayed about didn't happen. You didn't get into the Word and learn to pray. You didn't understand your rights and privileges because of the cross. His death, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension. And when you don't know how to pray, then you pray a miss. People often say, "Well, God knows my heart". Well, if God knows your heart and all you have to do is ask. Then we don't, we need one verse in the Bible. But we've got 66 books. There's things to grow and to learn in. And if you want to become a person of prayer.
Oh, I don't mean the whiny defeated Christians who all get together and, you know, if you want something to happen, get the prayer tower praying. Get the prayer basement praying. Get the prayer group praying. Get millions of people praying because then God will do it. What a ridiculous thought! That's nowhere in the Bible. Instead one person would pray, or they'd have a group of people praying for something. But it wasn't see how many you can get praying because then we'll convince God. So I'm not talking about defeated Christians trying to convince God. I'm not talking about militant prayer warriors that have to explode and always screaming at the devil. I'm talking about a prayer so powerful that you know who you are.
You know what Christ has done. God's will for your life does not automatically happen. A God's will for anything happens when a human being allows God to pray through him, allows God to work through him. So if you want to begin to pray where your prayers get answered. If you want to pray where you've finally take control of your life. Then you must learn how to pray. And as you learn how to pray, you will begin to add excitement like you've never dreamed possible. You will begin to understand the prayer of faith and you'll speak to mountains and giants and they will obey you when you understand the principles of the prayer of faith.
Who can pray it for and who you can't pray it for. You'll understand the prayer of supplication and how you use it. You'll understand intercessory prayer properly and when to use it. You'll understand the prayer of praise and worship and how it can unlock stunning miracles like Paul and Silas singing while they're handcuffed and chained in the deepest dungeon. And that prayer of praise and worship destroyed the chains, not just on them but in every person in the prison. When you learn the power of prayer. When you understand the rights and privileges that you have. It is no longer a worry or a wondering. It is an authority that knows what I can do and what I cannot do. And so Holy Spirit begins to guide you and things begin to happen.