6 Crucial Elements for a Strong Devotion

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.


Have fears or uncertainty about how to take your next step in your writing journey? COMPEL has so much to offer through lessons, courses and live teachings like this excerpt from one of our Wednesday Workshop to equip you in stepping out towards that dream in your heart. Our goal is to help you start unlocking your writing potential. Sign up now to join the waitlist and the first to know when registration is open again COMPELTraining.com


Glynnis Whitwer has been on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries since 1999. She is currently the Executive Director of Communications, overseeing COMPEL Training and Encouragement for Today devotions, plus providing direct oversight for the training content of She Speaks and She Speaks Studio. She’s the author and co-author of 10 books, including her newest, titled Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest. Glynnis and her husband Tod have five grown children, one beautiful daughter-in-law, one adorable grandson and a granddaughter on the way. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Great List!! Thank you 🙂

  2. Thank you, Glynnis, for sharing your God-given insights with us.

  3. What great insight to share. So helpful.Thank You!

  4. Thank you, Glynnis, for encapsulating all the pertinent information in one spot. This was perfect!

  5. There are so many great scriptures that can be the foundation for a devotional that I’m finding it hard to choose one. I’m praying for God to guide me. Any suggestions?

  6. Jennifer Williams: September 10, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you. I love the printed transcript. I don’t always have time to watch a video (although I did watch the video, too, for this topic). But, love being able to get the main points in written form. Such great tips!

  7. This information is exactly what I have been needing. Thank you so much for COMPEL and all it offers.

  8. Laurie McDuffie: May 14, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    I really like this information…thank you so much! I am a new member, and I am wondering what I can do to save this so I may easily refer back to it in the future. Do you have any suggestions or know where I can find out how to do this?

    • Jane Anderson: June 11, 2020 at 7:35 pm

      I printed this page with the footer at the bottom so the full URL is visible. This is the full URL -https://www.compeltraining.com/6-crucial-elements-for-a-strong-devotion/ If I forget where I found it, I have the path. I don’t know if this answered your question or not. COMPEL has so many resources but they are well organized once you know your way around.

  9. Elizabeth Baker: April 29, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you! It’s so good to have some guidelines to use a s a template for beginning writers!

  10. Virginia Porrata: April 17, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    Great examples of keeping the devo tone as well as breaking down the big topics into smaller doable themes. Truly appreciate the tips!

  11. Mysty Pfeffer: April 10, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    I always learn something valuable in your lessons, Glynnis. Keeping devotions scripture focused is the easy part for me. Maintaining the “devotional and positive” elements is sometimes tricky. Thank you!