Recently I was prompted to think of a word to describe my prayers. The word that popped into mind was “popcorn.” The majority of my prayers are simple payers that I pray when someone or something pops into my mind, so popcorn is probably a proper portrayal of my prayers. Even when I am devoting a specific amount of time to prayer, my mind can jump from one need to another. I often pray about many things in a short time. I want to gain some perspective as to what he Lord may desire to show me regarding my prayer life through popcorn.
I begin with some analogies. The popcorn popper is me, the kernels of popcorn are prayer requests, and the heat and air of the corn popper are representations of the Holy Spirit.
A kernel of popcorn that has not been popped is not edible. It must burst into a fluffy puff of corn rather than remaining a hard seed. A thought that is not prayed cannot be heard by God. It must be verbalized to become a prayer. In Jeremiah 29:12, the Lord says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” If I expect the Lord to hear and answer my prayers, I must put words to my thoughts whether it be silently for only the Lord to hear or audibly for the ears of those around me to hear.
As I come back to the popcorn analogy, I visualize an older hot air popper. After the kernels of corn are placed in a hot air popper and the appliance is turned on, heat and air are generated to change the hard kernels into edible pieces of puffed corn. When praying, I rely upon the help of the Holy Spirit to give life to my prayers and bring my prayers into alignment with the will of God. In scripture, the Holy Spirit is symbolized by fire (heat) and wind (air). According to Acts 2:3, at Pentecost, the descending of the Holy Spirit is described as tongues of fire. In Luke 3:16 John the Baptist foretells that when Jesus comes He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. In John 3:8, Jesus compares the Holy Spirit to wind. If I were to watch corn being popped, the popped kernels of corn would come flying out of the hot air corn popper. These kernels can be symbolic of my prayers ascending to heaven.
The product of edible corn can now be contained in a large bowl. Hot popcorn is good to eat but it is better if salt and butter are added. Here again is symbolism. Jesus describes us as the salt of the earth in Matthew 5:13. As I pour melted butter over the popped corn, it is as if I my prayers are being anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit. In II Corinthians 1:21-22, Paul talks about how we are anointed by God and sealed with the Holy Spirit who resides in our hearts. Salt and butter enhance the taste of popcorn while the anointing of the Holy Spirit increases the power of prayer.
If I have a bowl of popcorn, I enjoy sharing it with others. The Lord is waiting to receive the offering of my prayers. Spiritually, Revelation 5:8 describes the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders presenting the Lord golden bowls full of incense that symbolize our prayers. It is amazing to think that my prayers are helping to fill the golden prayer bowls in heaven. The smell of freshly popped corn is tantalizing, but the aroma of incense is more pleasing to the Lord.
All of this is exciting to me, but I also feel the Lord’s prompting to examine the contents of my popcorn prayer bowls more closely. There appear to be two bowls that I am filling with my popcorn prayers. The first bowl contains all the short unique prayers I lift up to the Lord for numerous people with various needs. The contents of the second bowl is equally full. However, this bowl is filled with prayers for one specific request that evolved during a more concentrated time of devoted prayer. Understanding that the contents of both bowls are of equal value to the Lord, I desire to fulfill the exhortation in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” God hungers for our prayers as we hunger for popcorn. I am encouraged to read in James 5:16 NLT, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Wonderful prayer is the outcome of conversation with the Lord just as wonderful popcorn is produced when kernels of corn are combined with a popcorn popper!