6 Crucial Elements for a Strong Devotion, by Glynnis Whitwer
In today’s world we all struggle with staying connected with our Heavenly Father and keeping our minds on Him. Most of us have found that we need reminders about His faithfulness and His majesty. The best place to experience God will always be His word and we should all be faithful in reading Scripture, but after that it is so helpful to be reminded by other people about living as a disciple and a child of God.
Devotions help remind us of the power and peace and life that comes from the Holy Spirit inside of us and our job is to point our readers back to the one who can do all things.
At Proverbs 31 we have spent years distributing devotions to millions of women and over time we have come up with a rubric, or a set of standards, to know when we have a strong devotion that we know is ready to be published. Today I want to share these six crucial elements with you as a way to help you write a devotion that helps lead your reader to the heart of God.
- Devotions Should be Based on Scripture
Jesus said in Mark 13:31, “Heaven and earth will pass away but my Word will never pass away.” A Strong devotion is saturated in Scripture because God has placed power and intentionality in His Words. We don’t use God’s Word as an add on, but the foundation and where we start our devotional. One of God’s words is more powerful than a thousand of mine. Scripture needs to be the foundation, it is not the backup actor, it is the star.
- Devotions Should be Devotional
There are some topics that are simply hard to make devotional. It takes intentionality to align our thoughts with God’s thoughts and so we have come up with a few questions to ask and tell if a devotion is devotional.
- Does it lead the reader to the heart of God?
- Does it leave the reader with a Biblical thought to meditate on?
- Does it reveal a truth in Scripture or an attribute of God?
3) Devotions Should have a Compelling Topic
Picking a fresh topic isn’t always easy but it is so important. A tip is to be reading other devotionals and making sure that you are not also covering a topic that you may notice is being overdone.
So how do you pick a topic? A general rule of thumb is to stay away from generalities and make sure you address a felt need in your reader. What questions or problems is your reader facing? The more you can get into the heart of your reader the stronger your devotional writing will be.
4) Pick an Appropriate Sized Topic
Most devotions are going to be somewhere between 200-500 words, so you have to pick a topic that is an appropriate size for a small piece. For example, trying to address forgiveness in a devotion is too big. But forgiving others for their thoughtless comments breaks it down into a more manageable size.
5) Devotions Should Have a Good Hook
Every piece ever written needs a good hook, and hook is usually the first paragraph or two. You want to give them an intriguing idea right away of where you are going and why they need to go with you.
6) Keep a Devotional Tone
Most devotions have a positive, encouraging tone to the message. They can be challenging, they can be convicting, but even then it is still in a gentle way. A devotion is not a time to start preaching, so guard against using the devotion as a soapbox. These things aren’t wrong, they just aren’t devotional.
In all these things, our number one goal is to help our readers live a more devoted life to Christ and His word. When we include all these elements we are sure to help build that bridge from our words to God’s heart.
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