How to write a devotion (with pictures)

How to write a devotion (with pictures)
How to write a devotion (with pictures)

Writing a devotion can be a spiritually rewarding experience. Whether you decide to write an individual devotion or a collection of devotions, the main idea is to use your own experience of faith to enrich the spiritual lives of readers. You can also do this by providing meaningful content in an easy-to-understand style.


Part 1 of 3: Organize general work

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Step 1. Know your audience and your topic

Most devotional books and collections revolve around a single theme, usually aimed at a specific audience. Consider the chosen theme and audience in your research and collect material for devotion.

  • For example, you can write a devotion for new mothers. New mothers represent your audience and motherhood is the general theme. While it is not necessary to limit each text to a topic directly related to motherhood, the overall tone of the book should address this issue.

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Step 2. Start from a personal point

Specifically, start with something deeply rooted in your personal relationship with God. Doing so will make it easier for you to feel passion and write heartfelt words in a spiritual way.

  • Ask yourself what topics have been spiritually important in your own life, or what target audience you feel you need to work with.

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  • As you prepare to write, consider writing devotional speeches based on your personal Bible study, life experiences, or the circumstances of your daily life.

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Step 3. Learn the basics

Each devotion has four main parts: a Bible passage, a meditation, a prayer, and a key thought.

  • The portion of the Bible passage may be short verses or one long one. For longer passages, consider writing a short part of it and mentioning the entire passage at the bottom or top of the quote. Introducing a long passage on a page can make the text confusing.

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  • Meditation or reflection should relate directly to the verses you mentioned earlier. Try to explain them with new ideas.

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  • Prayer should be short and simple. Build sentences that relate to the lesson you studied in the meditation section.

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  • The key thought is usually a simple one-sentence summary and a prayer of the lesson learned. It can also be a call to action.

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Step 4. Determine the type of meditation

Meditations can be personal or objective, but they must address the topic in a meaningful way. There are four main types of meditation that you can use: commentaries on Bible passages, anecdotes, facts, and compilations.

  • In general, commentaries are used when Bible passages are very long. Break down the story or idea presented in this passage in detail.

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  • Stories are very common. When you use a short verse, you can tell a longer Bible story related to that verse. Alternatively, you can tell a more personal story that relates to your life or that of an acquaintance.

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  • Factual meditations use historical or scientific facts to explain the importance of the verses previously presented in the meditation.

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  • The compilations are a combination of several types of meditation.

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Step 5. Choose the appropriate length for the overall job

When gathering information for the collection, think about how many devotions you should include and the length of the overall work. The correct answer will vary depending on the market and the purpose of the devotion.

  • Many devotional books are published every month and include 30 or 31 texts. However, if you publish a weekly booklet, it should only contain seven devotions. On the other hand, if you have a lot to say on the subject, you can publish a book containing devotions for several months.

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  • Some devotional books are also written for the purpose of being read during liturgical times. For example, a fasting devotion will typically encompass the 40 days of Lent, the remainder of Holy Week, and Easter.

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Part 2 of 3: Develop a devotion

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Step 1. Pray constantly

You should pray all the time you are working on your devotions, especially when you are writing them, in order to be guided. Good devotions will bring the reader closer to God. God should be the main subject of what you write. Pray for the ability to impart the truth with clarity, humility, and courage.

  • Ask God what he would like you to write. You may already have an idea in mind, but be open to other ideas and thoughts that you may have as you pray.

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  • On the other hand, if you don't hear anything specific during prayer, don't let that stop you from progressing. You could be a victim of leukoselophobia even if you are writing a project like this one. You should make the effort to keep writing if you want the ideas to start flowing again.

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Step 2. Try to keep each devotion short

A standard text in a devotional book does not exceed 500 words. Trying to write a short devotion will make your text concise and emotional. In addition, the reader tends to concentrate better on short texts.

  • If you're used to getting carried away when writing, try writing between 250 and 350 words. So if you accidentally write too much, you will probably have less than 500 words.

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  • The other option is to simply delete and edit large text until you can reduce it to less than 500 words.

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Step 3. Focus on a sub-topic for each text

If you write a collection of devotions, the general work will have a somewhat broad theme. Each text should be more focused, but the subtopic you choose for it should always match the overall theme of the collection.

  • Try to relate the idea presented to at least one of the reader's physical senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste or smell). For example, you can describe the sound of a church bell or the smell of incense.

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Step 4. Write a start, middle, and end

It might seem like an obvious statement, but any narrative meditation you include must have some form of exposure or increasing action, climax and decreasing action. Develop, state and explain the main idea in more detail, if necessary.

  • For example, when describing your own experience, give context, describe it, and share with readers the lesson you learned.

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Step 5. Choose key verses

Sometimes you will need to build a reflection around a chosen verse. Other times you will have to write a meditation first and find the verse you need later. Make sure it relates directly to the idea of ​​meditation.

  • When citing Bible passages, always mention the version of the Bible you used, as translations usually vary.

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  • Never take a verse out of context or try to twist its meaning to fit your meditation. If necessary, review the meditation instead of the verse.

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Step 6. Check the facts

Review everything you write. This applies to the Bible passages that you have included and to the external events that you have mentioned.

  • As you check the verses you have included, make sure you have the correct text for the version of the Bible you are quoting.

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Step 7. Encourage Action

Each devotion should motivate the reader to act in their relationship with God. The action can be greater or lesser, internal or external. Regardless of the action itself, you should encourage the reader to actively participate in the experience.

  • The action must be directly related to the message of this devotion. For example, if the text is about forgiveness, ask the reader to think about whether they are upset with someone and, if so, what they should do to let go of the anger and forgive the offender.

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Step 8. Don't be afraid to ask questions

You don't need to have all the answers. Your main goal is to encourage the reader on their spiritual path. Sometimes a deep, thoughtful question serves this purpose better than a half answer.

  • Writing a good devotion is exploratory in itself. Sometimes you will come to a conclusion and sometimes you won't. This is a natural part of spiritual growth, so you shouldn't force a response when all that's left at the end of the exploration is a questioning.

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  • Likewise, do not hesitate to present yourself in a somewhat unfavorable manner in a particular meditation. Readers can learn from your mistakes and difficulties the same way they learn from your questions.

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Step 9. Write in your own tone

Most devotions are written in a conversational and very casual tone. You should use good grammar and proper spelling, while keeping the tone as natural and comfortable as possible.

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Step 10. Pay attention to some common problems

Writers who try to write a devotional often make similar mistakes when it comes to content and language. Be aware of these potential problems ahead of time so that you can avoid them as much as possible.

  • Use the first person singular perspective as little as possible. You have the option of using my, me, I, etc. to share personal experience. However, at all other times, the first person singular should be avoided. Limit yourself as much as possible to using the third person (he, she, they, they) or the second person (you).

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  • Also be careful of the words you use. Avoid sermons, critiques, or judgments.

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  • Meditations can come in many forms, but they are not testimonies, tributes to specific people, sermons, formal Bible teachings, journal entries, literary works, or biographical or autobiographical notes.

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  • Do not use trivial or common symbols. A flower that struggles to grow in a cement parking lot expresses the beauty of the struggle. However, the idea is trivial and should be avoided unless it presents an exceptional twist.

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  • Just show and avoid telling. Resist the temptation to explain everything to readers.

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Part 3 of 3: Posting and Distributing Your Devotion

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Step 1. Review the work

First of all, devotion must be sincere, original, and written from the heart. However, if the structure of the text is problematic, it will be difficult for the reader to grasp the gist of what you have gone to so much trouble to write. Go through it until you achieve maximum clarity, consistency and cohesion.

  • Make an effort to market every job you complete. Have confidence in what you write, but make sure its quality is on par with other books you find on the shelves of the nearest Christian bookstore. If you can't buy a book of this quality from someone else, don't expect others to buy yours.

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Step 2. Expect to receive criticism

Some are constructive and should not be taken personally. However, there are others that are destructive and should be ignored. Learn to distinguish between the two types. Use constructive criticism to improve your writing, and try not to get discouraged when you receive negative comments.

  • You may be criticized by people who are not in the publishing business for wanting to make money from the devotions you write. You can offer your work for free if you think it is what God wants you to do. However, you don't have to be ashamed of using the talents God has given you to earn a living.

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Step 3. Find the best publishing house for your work

Submit your work directly to the publishing houses where it is most likely to be published. No matter how good your work is, an editor who doesn't publish devotional (or doesn't publish the genre you wrote) won't accept it.

  • Pay attention to factors such as target audience, length, and theme of the devotion. A publisher specializing in one-month devotions would probably not publish one-year devotions. If yours is for teens with an illness, don't send it to a publisher that deals exclusively with adult devotions.

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  • All publishers have author guidelines. Those who have Internet pages usually post these instructions there. However, if you can't find them anywhere, write to your editor and ask for theirs before submitting your work.

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Step 4. Check and submit the job

Most writers will receive many rejection letters, and devotional authors are no exception. If your work is rejected, don't be discouraged. Instead, take this opportunity to proofread the work before sending it to another publisher.

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