What to Consider When Writing a Devotional
Thanks so much for being a part of the Belmont Daily team! Here are some things to keep in mind as you write your post.
- Draw from the passage.
Spend some time reading, re-reading, and meditating on the assigned verses. Pray for the Spirit to reveal His truth to share and focus on. If you’re given a “big idea” from the staff, let that give you some guidance as it fits into the context of the week’s reading and Sunday’s sermon.
- Stay on point.
Keep only the ideas that make or prop up the idea you’re hoping to convey. If you need to go beyond your verses to lend context for who is speaking, to whom, and the environment, be brief and general. There may be devotionals before or after yours that look at those verses in more detail and you don’t want to step on or repeat their points.
- Don’t try to cover everything in one post.
This isn’t a systematic theology that defines you, it’s a single thought from the passage that you are helping the reader connect to.
- People love personal.
If there’s an example or reason why you can speak to a particular passage, use it! (ie. If the passage speaks to mentoring and you’ve been mentored – share what it meant to you).
- People love personal, especially our weakness and failure.
We tend to compare what we know about ourselves with what we don’t know about others, so be honest and vulnerable (appropriately so). If you have people enslaved in your basement, maybe don’t share that. And maybe let them out, and definitely get some counseling.
- Some passages will benefit from contextual commentary.
It’s great to add some background and meaning to a text that might inform the reader but don’t overuse this tool. Context is king but can become dry and clinical unless it lends itself powerfully to what you’re trying to convey.
- Pay attention to grammar.
Use Grammarly, it will catch things that you don’t but it’s not gospel. Avoid run-on sentences. Make sure your sentences are sentences (with a noun and a verb).
- Pay attention to style.
Write in your own ‘voice,’ but writing like you speak doesn’t come across the same on the page. Reread your draft to see how it flows and sounds.
- Ruthlessly edit.
Less is more.￼ Read over your draft a couple of times and shorten phrases. Avoid using words over and over or cliches that don’t add much. Have a friend or family member read over it to get perspective on how your thoughts come across to someone outside your own head.
- Don’t take the final edit personally.
If we didn’t think you weren’t perfectly wonderful and amazing in the most delightful way, we wouldn’t have asked you to write the post. But there is a final editor. And he isn’t perfect, but he is insecure and needs to justify his job, and dare we mention, minored in English. He promises to use a light touch as much as possible and preserve the post as you intended (only better).
- Trust and Let Go.
The goal of these devotions is to connect the reader with the passage. What we hope to achieve isn’t reliant on our efforts. Whether we hit it out of the park or end up with a tepid plate of “meh,” only the Holy Spirit can bring transformation. And He can use anything. It’s our prayer that He does.
Great! Now, go out there Tiger, and spin some gold. And get it back to us quickly. You are loved and appreciated!!!