ANSWER TO PRAYER
(The John Villanueva Story)
(The John Villanueva Story)
By: John Villanueva
all the depressing things that I hear about and see on TV, I would like to
give you a testimony that will cheer your heart and give praise to God. There
are many things to be grateful for, but when God answers a big prayer like he
has answered in my life, it opens not only your eyes, but your heart and soul
to just how great God is and how powerful the sacrifice was that Jesus made on
Calvary. Let me share a little story with you.
In the spring of 1986, I had been married for
almost 3 years. I had a 2 1/2 year old son and my wife, Joyce, was pregnant
with our second child. It was at this time that I met a woman and began an
affair with her that ultimately separated me from my family and destroyed our
relationship. I did not think about what having an affair with this woman was
going to do and to be honest, at the time, I did not care.
Although my wife was also lost, neither one of
us having Jesus in our lives, she wanted this relationship to work.
Whereas, my only concern was to have as much fun as I could. It got to
the point where I just did not want to be with her and one time I had even
struck her while she was pregnant with Phillip, our second son. I didn't know
it then, but I was headed for destruction - I was headed for the pits of hell.
I left my wife and moved to Tennessee with this
woman. Everything seemed to be going so well (talk about deception). The woman
I was with immediately got a job, and not too long after, I got a job too.
Mine was temporary and hers was more long term. Both of us had left things in
Indiana, where we were both living before moving, so we both got time off work
to drive up there and pick up what we left behind.
It was at this time that I once again saw my
son David. I spent a couple of days at the house with him. When it came time
to leave again and make my way back to Tennessee, my son said a few words to
me that have stayed with me to this day. He said, "Daddy, please don't
leave." Every time I
thought of my son David, which was quite often over the years, I would hear
those words ringing in my ear and I would begin to cry. I left my wife who was
pregnant and my 2 1/2 year old son standing there holding her hand while I
drove away. Not long after I was gone, my second son Phillip was born. To this
day, I have not seen my son Phillip in person. Not long after that I was
locked up and sentenced to life as an habitual criminal.
For many years after that I continued to live
in sin. I was a deceiver, a liar and had no concern about anyone except for
what it could benefit me. I was on my way to eternal damnation, but I couldn't
see the harm I was doing to myself, let alone to others.
Even in my state of deception, I still attended
some church services and counseling programs. Little did I know that seeds
were being planted and the faithfulness of these groups were changing my heart
to know Who it was that made them so faithful.
In September of 1994, I transferred from the
prison I was in to this prison, N.E.C.X.
Little did I know that God's hand was in that transfer. When I came to
this prison I had already been locked up for 8 years and I could feel myself
growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was through the
diligence of one particular group known as the Philadelphians out of
Knoxville, TN, who faithfully came back each week to the prison I was in and
every other week to this prison that I truly came to understand who Jesus was
and is and what He did for me on Calvary. It was also through the diligence of
brothers right here in the prison that I soon came to the place that God had
prepared for me.
On November 15, 1994, which is also my natural
birthday, God had a place prepared for me so that I would know that I was at
the end of myself and could no longer live my life without Him. There were no
fancy churches, no lights flashing, no fireworks, no people praying over me.
There was just me, my room, and the presence of God in the form of His Holy
I wept and wept when I felt God's Spirit coming
into me to clean this old wretched man out. I knew no feeling like it and have
not felt anything quite like it since. I don't believe that there will ever be
a more revealing, spiritual cleansing like that ever again. For in that day,
my Father took all of my uncleanness and washed me clean with the blood of His
Son Jesus Christ my Saviour.
It seemed that everything in my past, all the
evil that I had done was before me, and with a mighty sweep of God's loving
hand, He scooped them up and cast them far from me into the depths of the sea
of forgetfulness. And at that same instant, He filled all the emptiness with
the presence of His precious Holy Spirit and a true understanding of who I was
through His eyes and of His most wonderful holy gift, His Son, my Lord Jesus
It was as if at that moment I knew what it was
that I was always at constant battle with. It was as if in that moment God
revealed to me who I was and what He can make of me. He shattered the man I
was and created a new vessel that He could use for His glory. He took a
tremendous weight off of my shoulders and put it on His. If I could praise Him
for all eternity, it would not be enough. I wept for what seemed like hours,
but could not be sure. I just know that on that night, I met Jesus and
received Him in my heart as my Saviour and Lord and I knew that my life had
changed. I knew I would never be the same again.
I began studying God's Word and learning more
about Jesus and all the things that come from knowing Who He is and what we
can have by just believing in Him. One of the Scriptures that stood out for me
was John 8:32,36, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free
Another Scripture that I learned very early on
was Matthew 7:7‑8, "Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be
opened." I knew that if I asked God, He would answer my prayers and
having faith I believed and thanked Him for it.
While praying each and everyday from the time I
was born again, one of my most persistent prayers was for the Lord to restore
my sons to me. I prayed that the Lord would soften the heart of Joyce their
mother and that she would write to me or that she would allow one of my sons
to write to me. While I prayed concerning this before I was born again, I
didn't believe in what I was praying for. That was the difference between
answered and unanswered prayer. And it wasn't just me praying, there was a lot
of people praying, in here, and out in the free‑world.
On April 28, 1997, I received an answer to my
prayer. Although I didn't know it right away. It was on that day that I
received a letter from my oldest boy, David. At first I didn't even know it
was my son's letter to me and I just laid all my mail on my bed as I normally
do. I started getting ready to take a shower when I glanced down and got a
closer look at the letter that was written in pencil. I thought at first that
it was a letter from my niece who sometimes writes to me in pencil, until I
saw that the letter was addressed from Gary, Indiana.
I reached down for the letter and I could feel
the trembling in me as I slowly opened it and the first words that jumped out
at me were "Dear Dad!" From that point on I could barely read the
letter, for the tears that welled up in my eyes blurred them from seeing some
of the words.
I ran to a friend of mine and was crying so
hard. He wasn't sure what had happened to me. I told him, "It's my
son, it's my son!", pointing to the letter in my hand continuing to
let the tears roll freely. After reading it, he could only acknowledge that it
was a blessing from God because he knew how strongly I had been praying for
this and he knew that there had been many other people praying for this also.
I went back to my room, covered the little
window on my cell door, and fell on my knees and gave praise to God for answer
to my prayer. It took almost three years of continuous prayer, but I know
beyond a shadow of a doubt that God answered my prayer. I asked God to confirm
that He had put my children back in my life, that this wasn't just some chance
thing, and He pointed me to Scripture several days later, Malachi
4:6, "And he will turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their
God may not answer prayer in your time, but He
does answer them in His time. He is a holy and wise God and knows all our
needs and concerns long before we do. If you want to know what the peace of
God is, you must, "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts
and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6‑7)
Since the writing of this testimony, the Holy
Spirit has inspired me to write a book of poems which were to help me to grow
in the knowledge of God. Since the writing of this testimony, my first son
David, who is now 16 years old, has forgiven me for all I have done. And it
may interest you to know how great and wonderful God's mercy is, because my
second son Phillip, who is 14 years old now, has also been writing to me and
by the grace of God, has also found it in his heart to forgive me. This in
itself is a wonderful act of God since Phillip has not seen me physically to
And just to show you how wonderful and great
the Lord is, he has given me the increase, because Joyce now has a third
little boy, Jeremy, whom I love as my own son. When he wrote to me for the
first couple of years, he would always call me John, now he has come to love
me and trust me enough to think of me as his dad. He now calls me dad when he
writes and when I call. Only God can do this because I feel that he sees Jesus
The first time I spoke to the boys, it was on
Christmas Eve of 1997. It was the best Christmas present I have ever had in
what seems like a lifetime. How glorious the Lord is in all that He does for
us as believers. Since then we have grown closer than ever.
God is so good and His love is everlasting. I
can't see them right now, but I am believing that God will provide a way. I
love my children very much and I know that God is well able to make a way for
us to be together. Seeing them in person would be a wonderful gift, a gift
that only God can provide. I believe then they will understand the change that
God has made in my life once they can all see me in person. I encourage all
who read this testimony to pray for this miracle to happen.
I cannot give you words to describe the love of
God because His love for us is immeasurable. I just pray that someone will be
blessed by this testimony in some way and that through it you will realize
that God is faithful and true to His Word even when you think that you have
lost all hope. It has been 11 years for me before this prayer was answered,
but God knew just when I needed answer to my prayer and HE provided it. Jesus
is there with His arms open wide waiting for you to come to His embrace. Jesus
loved you long before you ever thought of loving Him. He is saying, "Won't
you come to me and let me lift your burdens from off of your shoulders."
(Matthew 11:28 30) Jesus loves You and He wants you to know Him. May God bless
With Love In JESUS!
John J. Villanueva, #117376 0
Northeast Correctional Complex
P.O. Box 5000
Mountain City, TN 37683-500
PLEASE HELP SHARE THE BEST NEWS GOD HAS FOR EVERY PERSON!
"And this gospel of
the kingdom [Jesus
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a
witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
To help us share the Best News every person needs to hear on this planet, randomly click FOR JESUS on just three (3) of the JESUS DID IT! links below. It will take just a few moments of your time. Please - that's all you are asked to do. God will reward you! (Of course, be highly encouraged to forward one of these video clips to those who may have never heard what Jesus did for them on the cross ... especially young people). Thank you so much!
JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT! JESUS DID IT!
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Dear Reader -are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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