8 Simple Steps to Writing a Devotional – Part I
Have you ever wanted to write your own devotional but thought you weren’t “Spiritual” enough? You read big name Christian authors and speakers devotionals and think to your self you could never write like they do? If you have had similar thoughts this article is for you.
I want to start off by saying that big named Christian authors and speakers didn’t start out writing professionally until they have had years of practice. One important element to keep in mind when considering writing devotionals is if you are a born again believer and you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you then have also been given the Holy Spirit and through the Holy Spirit Christ who lives in your heart by faith, works and wills in you to accomplish His good purpose.
It is the Holy Spirit that enables you to accomplish His good work to which the bible says gives us understanding, wisdom, gentleness, kindness, love and all the fruits of the spirit. With that said, that also enables you to write inspirational, encouraging, and affirming devotionals that speaks to the mind, body and the soul.
The second most important element when writing devotionals is to write it for your self first. The inspiration or encouragement you receive is what you will use to encourage others. Simply writing for someone else is usually not as affective because the tone and language of the devotional may come off as a lecture or preaching at someone rather than to someone. Self application is a must to write heartfelt and sincere devotionals that touches the heart.
My advice is to write from the heart and write with a Holy fear that you are simply relaying God’s words but with your own personal touch. I have put together 8 simple steps to writing a devotional and encourage you to practice, practice and practice some more, but as you do you will be blessed more than you can imagine or think. Over the years my greatest healing came through writing personal scripture devotionals and began sharing them with others. Writing devotionals changed my life and it will change yours too as you make the time and effort to spend with God in His Word and allow Him to speak to you. God is faithful and He will do it!
Here they are as follows:
1. Pick your Scripture: In your daily quiet time with God, pick out the scripture that speak most to your heart. God speaks to us through His Word and when we take note of the particular passages and dig a little deeper God will speak volumes.
2. Read in Context: Once you have picked a passage it’s important to understand the scripture in context. Simply put; read what the passage means in it’s own chapter. Read above and below to get the full meaning of why the passage was said and what it means. If necessary read cross references or bible summaries.
3. Find Overall Theme: To find the theme, once you read the context of the passage along with a particular message look for what the Holy Spirit may be showing you through the passage such as; forgiveness, love, holiness, anger, etc…Take that as your overall theme and build your devotional around that theme.
4. Do Your Research: Find keywords within the passage, especially your theme words and look them up in bible dictionaries, Webster dictionaries, do cross references on your main passage and topical scriptures, you can also add a familiar story or bible story that sums up the theme and last look up bible commentaries to expand your understanding on the passage itself and also confirm your own thoughts and conclusions.
5. Draw your Conclusion: After you have done all your research findings you can then draw your conclusion of what the theme or topic’s real message you believe God want’s to say to you personally and through you. Write it down.
6. Personal Application: Once you have done a thorough study on the passage or theme topic then spend time pondering this lesson and ask God to help you receive this for yourself and then begin applying it by putting it into action in your own life. You can also write that down.
7. Write it Out: Next begin to write it out in format. The most common formula is: 1. Title 2. Introduction 3. Body 4. Conclusion. Here is the part where you put all your research, your writing, thoughts and personal experience and/or revelation into a readable devotional format. Organize your thoughts first then condense all of your writings into a brief and to the point summary of your findings that is clear, concise and to the point, a devotional format that is simple for anyone to understand.
8. Edit, Edit, Edit: The definition for Edit simply means to refine to conform to a standard or purpose. Go over all of your writing, checking for spelling, errors and grammar and make sure your devotional stays on point. Editing is also another important element to writing devotionals, articles, papers etc… If you think you need to brush up on your grammar, there are grammar handbooks available online or at your local library.
Once you start writing devotionals you will grow and improve in your writing abilities and skills but more importantly your relationship with Christ will grow and be more intimate as you spend more thoughtful time in His Word. I hope these tips will encourage you that anyone can write devotionals as long as they come from the heart and glorify God!
Blessings to you