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Prayer and the Popcorn popper

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I haven’t seen too many people faint in my time. I’ll never forget one time when it happened and, it could have been deadly but for the grace of God. It was in speech class at the Bible College. We were all giving demonstration speeches. You know, that’s where you find some object or skill, then give a speech and demonstrate how to do that skill. I don’t remember what my speech demonstrated, but I’ll never forget Mike’s.

Mike decided that he’d demonstrate to the class how to make popcorn. Now this was before the big days of microwaves, so he had a popcorn popper. I know some of you probably don’t even know what a popcorn popper is. Well, it was a self-contained unit. In the bottom of the pot there was a heating element that heated up the bottom of the pot when it was connected to the wall socket. You poured oil into the bottom of the pot, put in the corn, and, in a few minutes, you had popcorn. Easy right?

Well, it wasn’t on this day. Mike began his speech by telling us to pour in the oil, cover the pot with the lid, and plug it in to heat up the oil. As he told us, he was doing that to his own pot. Once he had it plugged in, he started talking about the process of popcorn and, I suppose kind of lost track of time. Finally, he got to the spot in his speech where he told us we needed to pour in the popcorn kernels. He walked over to his popcorn popper to show us how and that’s when it got exciting.

Mike reached down to pick the lid off the pot. What he didn’t remember is that he had turned that oil on several minutes ago and that oil had been heating up. When he lifted the lid, a big cloud of smoke shot up out of the pot. The full force of that heat and that smoke hit him right in the face. In a split second, he went down. I don’t mean he wavered back and forth or acted dizzy. He didn’t have time to say a word. One minute he was standing and the next minute he was on the floor. That hot oil, once starved of oxygen by the lid, now had plenty of air and it burst into flame. For the next several minutes the class erupted into pandimonium. An hour later, the pot had been quickly extinguished and Mike was on his way to the hospital. The teacher later told me that when she got to Mike lying on the floor, she had felt no pulse.

Why did Mike faint? Well the heat of that flame may have had something to do with it, but the main reason he fainted was because that hot smoke entered his lungs displaced the oxygen, and, starved for oxygen, his brain basically shut down.

Here’s the point: Prayer is your spiritual oxygen. Without it you will faint. That’s why that first verse says “ . . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Without prayer, you will quit.

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