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Magazine > Content

21 Days

Some miracles take time and, more importantly, persistence in prayer.

By Patrick Wood


I couldn’t understand. Only a few days before, it seemed that God had a bright future in mind for Paulo. So what was he now doing in a coma with a potentially fatal head injury and labeled the most critical patient in the ICU? Death, the doctor lamented, appeared to be inevitable and fast approaching. Paulo’s brain pressure wouldn’t stabilize. Only a miracle could save him.

I sat by Paulo’s bedside with his mother Nilda. “This reminds me of Paulo’s birth,” she told me. “Shortly after he was born, the doctor told me that he had an infection and wasn’t going to survive. So I prayed, and kept praying, reminding God of all He had planned for Paulo’s life.” Twenty-one days later, their baby had recovered.

The number reminded me of the prophet Daniel, who also sought heaven’s intervention for a full three weeks. He persevered in prayer, seeking special understanding about a vision he had regarding Israel’s future (Dan. 10). At the end of the three weeks, an angel arrived with the answers and explained his delay: “From the first day that you set your heart on understanding . . . your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael [the archangel] came to help me” (Dan. 10:12-13).

Reflecting on this curious passage, Nilda and I agreed: The spiritual realm is a mysterious thing. Sometimes God withholds certain outcomes because the timing isn’t right. And other times, our hearts and circumstances require adjustments before He can say yes in consistency with His goodness.

But there’s also the reality of spiritual warfare. Daniel's story shows us there are evidently times the Devil fears what you’re praying for and wages war against it. Meanwhile, God is setting the stage for the answer—dispatching heaven’s forces to fight on your behalf.

So right there at Paulo’s bedside, Nilda and I decided we’d prayerfully fight for her son’s recovery and, like Daniel, persist even if it seemed heaven was silent. And, we would refuse to be offended at God or assume that He was the one holding out on us.

Thus began our first round of intercession. That first day, we read scriptures over Paulo’s sedated body, particularly those optimistic Psalms about restored fortunes and fulfilled destiny.

Then something uncanny happened.

His brain pressure started to drop. From a deadly level of 27 millimeters of mercury, it sank to an astounding 10, and remained at that normal level during the entire hour of prayer. Even the nurses were surprised. Yet strangely, after we left, it climbed back to 27 and remained there until the next day, when friends and family begin praying at Paulo’s bedside once again.

Just when things were starting to look up, the well-meaning doctor advised us not to set our hopes too high. But while we appreciated the medical objectivity, something within us still hoped for a better ending. Paulo's moments of improved brain pressure seemed to be God’s way of saying, Keep it up. I’m with you.

So we did.

Things got worse over the next week. The correlation between our prayers and those moments of improved brain pressure became less consistent. But we had already agreed such moments wouldn’t deter us. So we kept praying and fought to assume the best of God’s intentions.

Then, halfway into the third week, we witnessed a drastic change. Paulo’s brain pressure came down again—and this time, stabilized. And to everyone’s astonishment, he woke up from the coma on the twenty-first day after the car wreck.

Expectant prayers have since become a greater part of our church's ethos. Not all of them get answered exactly as we want—we’re still learning to pray according to the Father’s will. But a shocking number of our petitions are answered, because we’ve learned to contend for them.

Paulo’s recovery was a striking lesson: The best things in life come from God, and yet He doesn’t necessarily eliminate our role in the battle by which they’re won. He wants His children to conquer and, more often than not, will orchestrate a victory that is surprising—as long as we don’t walk away too early.

Copyright 2015 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • August 25, 2013 04:26 PM


    The Heavenly Father's love is powerful and constant. He will never forsake His children.
  • October 28, 2012 10:45 PM


    Thank you so much for this teaching and testimony. I am in the midst of a situation that calls for a miracle right now. I've been praying for a while and have had many breakthroughs, but there is still so much that needs to happen that only God can do. I'm going to try this method of prayer and expect to experience a great move of God. Once again thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony and powerful teaching.
  • October 28, 2012 12:57 PM


    Thank you for this testimony. It has encouraged me to continue praying despite the outlook and trust that God has a plan for every life.
  • October 27, 2012 11:14 AM


    If we get answered immediately, we would not develop a relationship with
    God. We would never learn scriptures, have prayer time. nor develop faith. Health preblems, job searching, family problems may take a long time, but you develop perserverence with God.
  • October 21, 2012 09:19 AM


    As I "happened" to read this article and the last comment relating to this very day - October 21st - I know that God is still directing my path, God still loves me, and that He does indeed plan an abundance future for me. Thank you for this story and these comments. They encourage me and uplift me to continue with my Hope.
  • October 20, 2012 01:11 PM


    AMEN! Glory to God! Praise Him for His goodness and tender care. Thank You Jesus!
  • October 19, 2012 09:48 AM


    thank you
  • October 11, 2012 08:23 AM


    On October 21st of this year it will be 20 years since my 3 year old son was brain injured in a car accident. Like the boy in this article, Mikes survival seemed bleak - God blessed me by placing a young Isreali boy in the ICU at CHoP at the same time - one night as our boys were both declining the father and I sat claiming Gods promises for our sons from the Old Testament - picture the scene - SO against what Moshe's culture would allow - reading scripture with a woman - that you don't know, that isn't even a Jewess?? (unheard of - un THINKABLE) but there we were - broken barriers, petitioning God - me recognizing for the first time in a tiny way just why The Father turned His face away at the crucufixion, the pain unimaginable - His only son - perfect in EVERY way - bearing MY sins..... , I came across Jeremiah 29:11 for the umpteenth time of reading it - but it rose up from the pages and slapped me and has been my sons verse since then :"29:11 For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope." my son remains brain injured, but he lives in the community, with a 'normal' person as his roommate, and is living and loving life - To God be the Glory!!! We fight the evil one at every turn - roommates that convince him not to get up Sunday mornings, people that tell Mike he can live however he wants to, and he doesn't have to do things because his mom says so - and I stand alone many times (no doubt they think I am a religious nut) and say no - you don't have to do it because ` I ' say so - you have to do it because GOD says so.... and I remind him of exactly how MUCH He owes God..... but the evil one wants to break us down - thank you for this encouragement - (written just for me!) to remind me to keep my knees to the earth and my face lifted to the Father from whom ALL blessings flow!
  • October 10, 2012 05:10 AM


    Thanks for this testimony. It encourages me to persist and to pray without ceasing for my brother who is in bed and cannot walk due to a spinal cord illness. God is always good no matter what.
  • October 07, 2012 01:10 AM


    Thank you for the testimony, It gives me insist to some unanswered questions I had. God bless you.
  • October 03, 2012 08:28 AM


    The unseen realm has so much to do with the outcomes of in the world in which we can see. There are constant battles being waged in and around the world, with believers and non-believers. With governments which make policies and laws that are against the laws of God. We who follow Jesus, must be aware that weather we fight or not, we are still in spiritual warfare.
  • October 02, 2012 10:29 AM


    Amen, thanks for this testimony.

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