A Devotion Writer’s Heart

By Sandi Banks

Do you have the heart of a devotional writer? I didn’t realize I did until after that fateful day, years ago, when I sat with a well-known editor as he perused my manuscript: Frogs in a Bucket and 52 Other Stories from the Lily Pad of Life. I was hopeful. He was—not so much. 

“Sorry, Sandi. No market for this book right now. My advice? Dissect the frog.” 

So I did. I went home, prayed, and began re-working every story into a short devotional format. I loved it! And those 52 stories? They began leaping, one by one, into the hands of publishers, and into the hearts of readers.

Yours may too.  Do you have a desire to come alongside your reader, with a heart of compassion, to share a meaningful part of your story, and point him or her to God and His Word? If so, you could have a devotion writer’s heart. 

Check out these three W’s of devotional writing, and see.

1. WHAT is a devotion?

Simply put, it’s a short, encouraging piece focused on one topic, one scripture, and a relevant spiritual lesson. Picture putting an arm around your reader, offering hope in the form of an ALMOND JOY: 

  • Nugget of truth … (almond) …  Bible verse, passage
  • Wrapped in story … (coconut) …  Anecdote, illustration
  • Drenched in insight … (chocolate) … Inspiration, interpretation
  • Served with grace … (silver platter) …  Prayer, application

CONSIDER THIS: Put a note above your writing desk: “Reader First!” Then smile, and enjoy taking your reader on a short journey to the heart of God, praying before, during, and after you write. 

2. WHO is involved? Think “JOY!” Jesus. Others. You.

 JESUS You want to point the reader to Him. Choose one Scripture that highlights one of His:

  • attributes—one that has blessed you, or made a difference in your life  
  • promises—one that may have been answered in a significant or surprising way          
  • truths—one that has brought you encouragement, hope, strength, or wisdom  

OTHERS – Your target reader, who will gravitate toward your message as it speaks to him/her

  • Who is this person? A single parent? Military spouse? Grandparent? Inmate? Ministry leader? Teacher? Is this individual emotionally wounded? Divorced? Widowed? Retired? Anxious? Stressed? Lonely…?
  • What are your reader’s hopes and dreams? What are his/her felt needs and struggles? What is this individual’s  “undergoing” story?        
  • How would the reader benefit from your words? Do they point upward, bringing God’s peace, help, comfort, healing?  

 YOU – What you can draw from your own life:   

  • Your experience: humorous, poignant, joyful, memorable; a life struggle, flaw, failure, loss…  
  • A biblical insight from your own brokenness:  broken home…dream… heart… relationship 
  • Your encouragement: how God brought healing, hope, a fresh perspective, “new song”… 
  • Your gifts, talents, personality, abilities, passions, temperament, communication style… 
  • Your source of joy, hope, peace, help, wisdom, strength…
  • Your testimony, story of undergoing /overcoming through Christ  

CONSIDER THIS:  Be focused, narrowing in on ONE topic. Be concise, making every word count. Be God-centered, and Spirit-led, opening your heart to the Holy Spirit; pray and listen. 

3. WHY write devotions?   

  • GENERAL Why: People who are hurting may not have the emotional energy to read a book.  That’s where you come in. 

“A devotion can pack a lot of comfort into a small space.” –Carmen Leal

  • PERSONAL Why: God may have wired you to write devotions, and you can’t not do it.

Here’s the principle:

When you have a heart of LOVE for the Lord,

and a heart of COMPASSION for His people,

you will be compelled to bring them together!

CONSIDER THIS:  It’s all about the heart, and God knows yours. Talk with Him, follow His  lead, and enjoy the journey! 

“People need help, encouragement, hope. If you feel the nudge, the urge, even the calling to reach people who are hurting emotionally, you could be a writer of devotions.”  -Jerry Jenkins

QUESTION: Has God called you to be a devotional writer? If so, what part of it do you find most intriguing, challenging, or rewarding? I look forward to reading your comments.

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Are you registered for the Speak Up Conference yet?  It will be a virtual event on July 14-16, 2021—and we’ll have a writers’ track and a speakers’ track.  There will be industry professionals, along with speaker and writer mentors available for appointments. Need scholarship assistance? Contact Bonnie@speakupconference.com.  You’ll find more information on this equipping event here.

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4 Comments

  1. Rev. Tami Wenger on 2021-06-18 at 9:00 PM

    Sandi, I have published two books which include devotionals as well as personal stories. I think my love for writing devotionals and short stories comes from my dad. He used to write them and send them to family by e-mail. I am carrying on the tradition. Blessings Tami



  2. Lita Norsworthy on 2021-06-09 at 11:37 PM

    Thank you for this!! This is truly an encouragement to me!!



  3. Danita Jenae on 2021-06-08 at 12:33 PM

    Nailed it! Thank you for this!



  4. Yvonne Ortega on 2021-06-08 at 12:29 PM

    Thank you, Sandi Banks. I’m so glad I was in your session at a LIVE SpeakUp in Michigan a few years back. Those attend online this year are in for a treat.



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