Earlier this week I was driving to town to attend my friend Deb’s funeral. I was helping to officiate the funeral so my mind was on all the details that includes. I was praying for a good message not only from me, but from friends Judy and Charlotte, who were also speaking. I was thinking of Deb’s good friend, Julie. When we each met her we immediately loved her, easily understanding why Deb and Julie were such close friends. And I was also praying for Deb’s family and other friends who might attend.

Out of nowhere the phrase, “Of One Accord,” came to mind.

“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, of any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:1-4).

That describes Deb so well. Her gentle and kind, loving and forgiving, faith-filled and compassionate spirit is very needed on this earth. We met two years ago when Judy began a weekly prayer group. Deb loved the Lord. There’s no doubt about that. And she wanted others to know him, too. It was not only a desire, it was a burden.

If the Lord has never given you a burden for someone or something, it’s hard to understand. It’s a calling to pray for others’ salvation. To pray for the Holy Spirit to draw near to someone so that they may be open to hearing the Word and then be ready to accept the truth of the Gospel.

Deb was a mighty prayer warrior who humbly lifted others in prayer, knowing that the Lord, the Creator of Heaven and earth, heard each and every word of each and every prayer she prayed. She prayed for those she knew and loved and for others she’d never met. She faithfully prayed for the persecuted church. She also prayed for this country that she loved so much.

It was amazing to talking to her other friends, each one sharing a special story of Deb’s love for them and for others. Little things she did to help others. All those little things add up to a lifetime of quietly and humbly caring for others and putting them first.

Judy, Charlotte and I each said that through this experience of trying to honor Deb, we were each blessed and filled with joy upon meeting some of the nicest people. It reminded me of years ago when I went to Mexico to a pastors’ convention. Lupita, the wife of one of the Mexican pastors, came up to me at the end of the first day and said, “Kathy, even though we’ve just met, I feel like I’ve known you a long time. A friend of mine once said that when that happens it’s the Holy Spirit recognizing itself between two people.”

The minute she said that I knew it was true. I thought of all the people I’d met in my life with whom I’d had an instant connection. It filled me with joy to think about the Holy Spirit recognizing itself between us. Tuesday at the funeral, I experienced the same thing over and over again.

There’s incredible joy in being of one accord. Like-minded. To experience the joy of the Lord when two strangers meet for the first time and immediately recognizing the same love of Jesus.

Afterwards, Judy, Charlotte and our fellow prayer warrior, Karen, and I were talking. We were sharing about our love for Deb. We were remarking on all the love we felt in that room because of all the others who love Deb, too. Then we exchanged prayer requests, knowing that we’d all be praying for one another, just as Deb prayed for us and we prayed for her.

The legacy continues. It began on a hill called Calvary when Jesus died for each one of us sinners. But the great news is that on the third day he rose from the dead. He’s in heaven preparing a place for all of us who have surrendered our lives to him.

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason the Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord…” (John 10:14-15, 17-18).

Jesus died for you. Won’t you live for him? Won’t you be of one accord?

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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