real time

by Kristen

“Undaunted, Moses prayed, and he kept on praying for forty days and nights.”[1]

Forty days.

That’s real time. I get that. But for some reason, I gloss over time when I read. It’s not that I don’t read the words; it’s more that I forget to attach meaning to them. I read “forty days,” and I replace it with a mental flip of the calendar. I move past it in the split second it takes to read the words.

Somehow I miss forty days is a real span of time. It’s the six weeks I spent backpacking through Europe. It’s roughly the time between Thanksgiving and New Years.

And when Moses prayed for forty days for God to spare the Israelites after the golden calf debacle, those forty days were just as real.

But once I remember to give weight and importance to the length of time, I have to remember it wasn’t a finished story; it was a present reality. They were living it in the moment. The outcome was still a mystery.

When Moses lay prostrate before God neither eating nor drinking but pleading with God to spare His idolatrous people, he did not know what the answer to his prayers would be. And yet he prayed for forty days and nights (Deuteronomy 9:18). It was after forty days that God showed mercy.

There was no guarantee going in. On day five he was hungry and dehydrated, and he didn’t know if God would relent. On day twenty-two when the people were still down there with their man-made baby cow statue, what was he thinking? What about on day thirty-seven—was he feeling frustrated that he wasn’t the one who sinned and yet he was still praying with no answer on behalf of others?

Have I prayed for anything with a fraction of that faith and perseverance? I take silence as ‘no’ way sooner. And even when I pray for things over a period of time, it’s never with that intensity or confidence.

“Undaunted, Moses prayed, and he kept on praying for forty days and nights.”[2]

A dauntless pray-er . . . in real time. One minute at a time; one prayer at a time. That’s how I need to read it. That’s how I want to live it.



[1] E.M. Bounds, E.M. Bounds on Prayer, (New Kensington: Whitaker House, 1997) 16.

[2] Ibid., 16.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.