Suzzane Wesley won the packet of sample devotionals. Congrats, Suzzane!
Welcome to Part Two (see Part One) and the conclusion of my tutorial on Writing Daily Devotionals. In the first installment I defined daily devotionals, compared assignment versus submission, and listed some possible markets.
Please leave a comment as I will be giving away a sampling of some daily devotional booklets. They will not all be current, but you will be able to go to a website to get new guidelines.
That’s a Devotional!
The longer I write devotionals, the more they have become a part of my thought process. Ideas come to me as I go through my daily routine and I find myself saying: “That’s a devotional!” I keep a list of ideas in a small journal that I refer to when I do assignments or submit to a publication.
The following are usually the key elements of a devotional:
Part One: Title – usually two to four words
Part Two: Scripture - the scripture you have chosen or are assigned
Part Three: Anecdote – an event in life that helps to explain the scripture
Part Four: Application – how the anecdote applies specifically to the reader, a take-away, something the reader can actually apply
Sometimes you might be asked to give a summary statement of 5-10 words that the reader can remember throughout their day or a short prayer a person can say at the end of their devotional time.
I will take the key elements and step you through an incident that happened to me last week that helped me write a devotional.
As I was taking a walk, I greeted a woman who was getting her mail, and she complimented me for walking (I will insert her dialogue into the following sample). As I thanked her and walked on, I began to think about this post and what the woman had said to me, and “Aha, that’s a devotional.”
Title: Cheer on the Family
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
My first paragraph with the anecdote:
As I walked in my neighborhood, I saw a woman, getting her mail out of her box. She looked at me, smiled and said to me: “You look good. Keep at it. You know I lost twenty pounds walking. It is such a great thing to do.” I agreed with her and thanked her for her encouragement.
Then I followed with another paragraph for my application:
Life can sometimes be discouraging, even if we are believers. Everyone needs a cheerleader. Whenever we take on a new project, lose a job, need advice, the encouragement we give to each other is priceless. Our words can spur others on and remind us that this life is temporal and our destination is heaven.
Some devotionals also include a summary statement:
Let us not forget to encourage our fellow believers.
And then we finish with our name or byline:
Tammie Edington Shaw
Remember, these are general guidelines as every publication will have their own formula. They may also let you know whether to write in the first or third person and if to include anecdotes or to use a different form to explain a biblical truth, such as expository, etc.
I also usually begin an assignment by reading the scripture and using a Bible dictionary and/or commentary to understand the context. I also write my assigned verses on index cards and carry them with me when I walk, take a trip and also keep them in my Bible when I have a quiet time.
Leave a comment or question and I will be giving away a sampling of some daily devotional booklets. This will run through next Sunday, September 18.