Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

The leaders from our Bible study shared prayer requests for the summer. We see each other twice weekly from September through May, so as I pray for these precious ladies it helps me to feel close to them during our off time.

One prayer request has brought deep conviction this past month as I pray it for her daily, especially in light of the various recent tragedies. Her request? She wanted to “Love deeply, care openly, share boldly.”

Wow…and ouch.  This prayer request of hers has become mine, too.


Love deeply.

Before I speak a word of criticism. Before I share even well-meaning advice, whether asked-for or not. Before I act according to what I think is needed. Love deeply. I can only do that if I’ve been asking the Lord to give me His perspective on other people. To see them through His eyes. To see their wounds. Their pain. The deepest needs of their heart. To love deeply is not easy, and I cannot do it without the supernatural empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Care openly.

It’s not enough to love deeply. As Maria once sang in the Sound of Music, “love isn’t love until you give it away.” Yes, I can pray for people. But how else can I show love? A card? A phone call? Run an errand? How about the gift of time—just being there?  Caring openly means sacrificing something on my part. Time. Resources. Effort. But I can’t love deeply unless I’m also caring openly.

Share boldly.

I know Christians who are bold in their sharing of the gospel. But love is missing. Care is missing. The sharing is more like a slam with a sledge hammer than the communication of good news. I’ve said it before: we Christians are often better known for what we are against than what we are for. Anti this. Anti that. Of course, we need to stand for truth in an uncompromising way. But Jesus found a way to do that without beating people over the head with a Bible. In fact, His harshest words were directed not at unbelieving sinners but at the religious community of His day. Another ouch.

This prayer request to love deeply, care openly, and share boldly reminds me of the motto of Dallas Theological Seminary: “Teach Truth. Love Well.” It’s a paraphrase of a portion of Ephesians 4:15, “speaking the truth in love.”

What would happen if every Christian purposed to always speak truth in love. Or as the above prayer request noted, to first love deeply and care openly before we share boldly? I’d like to find out, wouldn’t you?

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