Writing Devotions That Foster Connection
by Tracie Nall
I remember my first introduction to an Encouragement for Today devotion; it arrived in my inbox as a forward from a friend. From the first line, I felt seen. The words on the screen were straight from my heart. I have been a subscriber since that day.
That is what makes a devotion different from any other piece of writing. Unlike a biblical teaching, Bible study, article or blog post, a devotion has the ability to close the gap and create a connection between you and your reader. More than sharing scriptural information or motivational inspiration, a devotion fosters an intimate connection. A devotion has the ability to keep your reader coming back for more, creating faithful followers because more than an author, you become their trusted friend.
Your words speak to and for her heart.
As writers, it can be challenging to know if our words are making a heart connection.
Here are a few ways you can make sure, from the first word to the last, your devotion is weaving a thread of connection, knitting your heart to the heart of your reader.
1. Share God’s Heart. Start with Scripture. The Word of God reveals the heart of God; to know His heart, you must read His Word.
A devotion is birthed from the outflow of our personal devotion time. When we spend time in God’s Word, He speaks to our hearts — healing, convicting, encouraging, admonishing; it is from that place, a pure heart, we are able to write words that will move the heart of our reader. Scripture is the primary point of a devotion.
2. Share Your Heart. This is the personal point in a devotion.
Readers are drawn to authenticity; the more vulnerable you are, the greater the potential for connection. When we share our burdens, questions, challenges and difficulties openly and honestly, our reader is able to relate organically and emotionally.
As she reads your words, she is able to place herself in your shoes. She sees herself in a similar situation. She feels the same emotion. She hears herself asking the same questions. Often referred to as “felt need,” author Andy Stanley calls this “finding the emotional common ground.”
3. Share God’s Wisdom. The intersection between God and our reality is the powerful point of a devotion and where transformation begins.
When we share what we learned from His Word, the counsel we received from a godly friend, the answer to a long-prayed prayer, or the biblical Truth that answered our question or provided the solution to the need, it shows our reader the powerful heart of God toward His children.
4. Share an Invitation. This is the pivotal point in a devotion. The place where you shift direction.
Invite the reader to apply God’s wisdom to her own story, showing her the potential for God to meet the need of her heart as He met yours. As a writer, you are extending your reader an invitation from God to change her heart.
When sharing an invitation with our reader, we are saying to them what author Max Lucado says, “God loves you just the way you are, but too much to leave you that way.”
As writers, when we open and offer our hearts to our readers, it can be scary. We can feel intimidated being vulnerable, but from our hearts flow springs, offering life to the heart of our readers (Proverbs 4:23).
If you want to make a heart connection with your reader, start with the heart!
For His glory,
Tracie Gunther Nall
Many writers find it difficult to identify the “felt need” of their reader. How do you connect to the heart of your reader? Share your best ideas or suggestions in the comments below.
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