I have a brand new respect for daily devotional writers today. Why? Because I tried writing one myself. In 2010 and 2011. In both years, I was not able to keep up. I first tried the daily devotional format. It was quite exhilarating and overwhelming. I changed it into a weekly format but that became quite challenging too.
Why did I start writing a devotional in the first place? Everytime, my wife and I spend time with the Lord, He reveals something to us and I thought it was a good idea to put it out for everybody. But the problem was not that the Lord was not speaking to us after a while. But writing a devotional requires a skill that goes beyond what was just spoken to you.
From my experience, I identified six parts (ingredients/process) to a devotional (weekly or daily):
- Ingredient: Bible verse: Every devotional needs to be based on a Bible passage. The Bible was inspired by God and devotionals have to be inspired by the Word of God. You don’t want to write something that you thought up on your own. All devotionals have to have their foundations in the Word of God. There is no compromise there.
- Ingredient: Introduction or Story: The introduction sets the tone for the rest of the devotional. A good story generally helps in setting the ball rolling. We love stories and starting a devotional with one helps convey the message better than the actual devotional.
- Ingredient: Subject matter: This links the story with the Bible verse and brings out the truth from the passage.
- Bake/Cook: Practical application: This is one of the most important part of my writing process. How can the passage be applied practically into our daily lives?
- Garnishing: Title: A good title always helps in attracting attention to the main content. When writing online content, there is a fine balance of writing to attract readers and optimizing them for search engines.
- Ready to serve: Prayer: The devotional should end with a prayer that will help people to internalize the concepts/truths of the devotional and what God wants out of them.
Among these six parts, the one I found most challenging was the second ingredient – introduction or stories. I love to start every devotional with a story. But I found that my thirty years of earthly life was not enough to generate any relevant stories for the devotionals.
I was also not able to manage the devotionals along with my regular job and church duties. (I confess, time management is not really my forte!)
Please don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed writing those devotionals. And I hope to do it again some day. But I am hanging that coat for a while. I write these points here to help you, if you are inspired and would like to try your hand at writing devotionals. And if you do, please let me know.