To view this notification widget you need to have JavaScript enabled. This notification widget was easily created with NotifySnack.
Home Tour About Read What's New Help Forums Join Login
My Account
Shop
Save
Support
E
Book
Store
Learn
About
Jesus
  




The HOME for Christian writers!
The Home for Christian Writers!

Forums

This area is only a small portion of FaithWriters. The main site can be joined HERE.
Shop & Save to SUPPORT FaithWriters.
Upgrade to SUPPORT FaithWriters.

Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:00 pm

FaithWriters who enter the weekly writing challenge might have noticed that fiction and poetry tend to win recognition more often than nonfiction (primarily devotionals and Bible studies). There may be several reasons for this, but primary among them, I think, is that devotional writing tends to be dry and uncreative. It’s difficult to write a devotional that will catch the judges’ eyes—and if your writing isn’t grabbing the judges, it won’t be grabbing your intended readers, either.

Here’s my working definition of devotional for this lesson: a short piece of writing, focused on one or two scriptures, intended to inspire or to teach a lesson. I’m differentiating devotional from Bible study, which is a more in-depth analysis of several verses or passages.

If a person has been a Christian for any length of time, she has probably read many, many devotionals. That’s the first problem for a devotional writer—finding something to write that doesn’t register with the reader as something she has read before. Devotionals tend to be riddled with “Christianese.” This website examines the problem of using too much Christian jargon, and it links to several similar articles. If you don’t have the time to read the article, I’ll summarize: your Christian audience will have read those words and phrases hundreds or thousands of times. There’s little reason, then, for them to keep reading. Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen this already. Moving on. Additionally—there’s little of your own writing, if your devotional is riddled with Christian jargon—and if you’ve entered your devotional in the writing challenge, it will be rated lower for the creativity criterion if there is too much Christian jargon.

Moreover, your non-Christian readers will be turned off by Christianese. Christian jargon feels to them like an insider’s secret handshake. They don’t get it, and it further distances them from a world that they are not yet a part of. If you want your devotional to reach non-Christians, you have to avoid language that they won’t understand. By all means, keep the Christian message, but if your intended audience is non-Christians, you need to write it in their language.

So—how do you write a devotional that will grab readers? Here are my suggestions:

1. Obviously, avoid Christianese. Look through your piece for familiar phrases (washed in the blood, personal Lord and savior) and ask yourself—Have I ever read that phrase before? If you have, then find another way to express that concept.

2. Give your devotional a great hook. Do not begin with a definition, a quote, or a rhetorical question. These devices are often taught by high school teachers as good ways to start a piece of writing. They are not—they are overused and clichéd, and you can do better. Start with something new that your reader has never seen before: a true story about you or someone else, a made-up anecdote about a person needing to learn the lesson that you’re about to teach, a shocking statement or statistic.

Incidentally, I don’t generally recommend that you start right off with the scripture that you’ll be introducing in your devotional. Readers’ eyes tend to skip over blocked-off or italicized text at the beginning of an article, and get right to the devotional. If you want to be sure that the scripture gets read, embed it in the body of your devotional.

3. Don’t think that because you’re writing nonfiction, you have to give up characters, dialog, and creativity. People are social creatures; we like to read about other people. You can include great storytelling in your devotional, illustrating the lesson you’re trying to teach. Many devotionals tend to be too abstract or theoretical, never really reaching the flesh and blood level.

4. Don’t abandon humor. Of course, humor will not be appropriate in every devotional, but neither do devotionals have to be dry and ponderous.

5. Your language should be rich in the same kinds of things that make fiction writing interesting: metaphor, imagery, symbolism, and the like. There’s no reason why a devotional can’t include compelling writing.

6. Give your devotional an unusual structure. The most common structure is something like this: opening scripture, anecdote, lesson or application, prayer. See what you can do to shake that up.

7. Just as you should give your devotional a great hook, you should also give it a great ending. End with a strong image, an emotional appeal, a humorous statement, or “the rest of the story.”

When I was writing for the challenge, my forte was fiction, but I wrote a devotional called After the Unspeakable Minute one week when the topic called for inspirational or devotional writing. I’m linking to it here not because it’s the world’s best devotional, but as part of your homework.

HOMEWORK:
1. Read the devotional link above. Which of the seven points of this lesson do you see in this entry? Which are missing? Do you have any comments or reactions to this article? (Don’t be afraid to criticize; I can take it.)

2. Ask a question or make a comment about anything in this lesson.

3. If you’ve written a devotional here on FaithWriters, feel free to link to it, with a specific question for me. I won’t have the time to do a full-fledged critique of your devotional, but I can give an overall opinion, and a few pointers.

4. Several FaithWriters and friends have a group blog in which we write devotionals with the theme of encouragement. You might want to stop by and read some of the blog posts here. Determine which devotionals work best for you, and why.

5. If you’re a devotional writer—are there additional pointers for a good devotional that I have not included here?

If you know any writers who are not aware of this forum, please direct them here. And as always, I welcome ideas for future lessons, questions on anything writing-related, and general feedback. I respond to every post on these forums, and I’d like nothing more than a lively participation.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
lish1936
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 2051
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:21 pm
Location: New York

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby lish1936 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:38 pm

Jan wrote:1. Read the devotional link above. Which of the seven points of this lesson do you see in this entry? Which are missing? Do you have any comments or reactions to this article? (Don’t be afraid to criticize; I can take it.) Here goes. :D


Jan,
I love this topic because non-fiction is where I'm most comfortable. Just a few thoughts...

Your devotional was a great piece, and it left out none of the points you mentioned. Point (6) about structure was especially impressive/obvious, and there was, in my opinion and despite the serious tone, a hint of humor in the dialogue. (I could be reading into it.)

However...had I read it without having been told it was a devotional, I would have called it an inspirational piece rather than a devotional; particularly because it had universal appeal to Christians and non-Christians ( see next pararagraph). Also the message had to compete with the many attention grabbing illustrations; which may be why I consider it too long to be a devotional.

I always thought that because Scripture is the basis on which a devotional piece is written, those who have little understanding or appreciation for the Bible would not benefit from devotionals that by definition ( I think) are biblically based. Also, for some reason, I thought a devotional is somewhat shorter than your piece.

So, where am I going wrong? Is there a fine-line distinction between an inspirational piece and a devotional? And what about the length and the audience for whom the devotional is meant ( as per your reference to Christian vs. a non-Christian)? Also, aren't most devotionals (i.e. Daily Devotionals) usually less than 400 words?

Below is a devotional I wrote. I didn't know how to link it because it was not a Challenge article. So sock it to me. :lol:


The Blessings of Lingering Storms

“What a wonderful God…the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthen us in our hardships and trials….that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 LNT).


Storms are perfect metaphors that aptly describe the trials in a Christian’s life. But no matter how fierce natural storms rage, or how much devastation they inflict, they’re soon gone.
Not so with life’s storms that usher in hardship and trials. They do not always come and go. Very often, our “sore trials,” are like ceaseless winds and heavy downpours that foist themselves upon us for indefinite time periods. And even when there’s a momentary lull, we remain in storm alert mode.
You may be experiencing the onslaught of a lingering storm, where adversities or afflictions are always in the forecast. Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, author of Streams in the Desert and one of my favorite authors, also experienced a “staying storm” when her husband became ill while serving as a missionary. For six long years, she cared for him until his death. Amidst the turbulent, uncertain tempest of long-term care giving, she wrote her widely read, devotional book. She learned how to turn her storm into a steady stream of blessing that continues to flow into the lives of countless others.
Amy Carmichael is another one of my favorite authors, who served on the mission field until her death in 1951. She wrote about her constant storm:

    “Disappointments [are] those weary little things that enter the room with quiet procession. After the foot began to mend, other troubles came one after the other, pulling me up just when it seemed I might walk again.”

Her book, Rose from Brier, continues to water the hearts of those who are thirsty for encouragement. Your trial may be a lingering storm that never seems to blow away, but the “I” of the storm can use it to fill the cisterns of others who need comfort and strength.


Lillian
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60

Fortunate 500


I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:33 pm

Lillian, thanks for your post!

I'll reply tomorrow; I've been stricken by this horrible flu bug and wouldn't be able to concentrate on a reply if I tried it now. Just wanted to let you know that I've seen your post and will get to it soon.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
RachelM
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 632
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:52 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby RachelM » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:03 am

Jan, I'm so sorry to hear that you're sick! I hope you get well soon.

I was really blessed by your devotional. The imagery at the beginning was incredibly vivid and powerful.

What you wrote about people skipping over scriptures that are at the beginning is so true. I am often guilty of that myself. :sorry But I did read the scriptures that you had embedded in your devotional. It works! :D

I know I need to watch that Christianese. Thank you for this excellent lesson!

Here is a piece that I was thinking of submitting to the FaithWrite​rs Great Multitude Daily Bible Devotional, but I don't even know if it would classify as a devotional or if it would speak to anyone that isn't a mother of young children. What do you think are the weak points in this?


Broken Just Right

Even though I am a stay-at-home mom, housekeeping is not my forté. The boys room was getting pretty bad (maybe really bad in your books), so I sent them upstairs with a broom and instructions to clean their room.

It was sounding a little lively, but I let it go until I heard, “Mommy, the broom’s broken.” Down came my boys carrying my mangled broom.

“How did this happen?” I asked.

“I don’t know. We were just sweeping,” came the innocent reply.

I was more then a little irritated as I swept the floor that afternoon. The broom was awkward to hold and would obviously need to be replaced soon.

The following day, when I next went to use the broom (Oh all right, maybe it was a couple days later), I found it surprisingly comfortable to use. Just holding it slightly turned made all the difference. Actually, it was more comfortable to use than before it was broken, and considering the fact that a broom is made to sweep and not just look nice, I realized that it was broken just right.

As I reflected on this, it dawned on me that we can be broken just right too. Nothing is wasted. God uses our trials, pain and hardships, our weaknesses and disabilities, to mold us into useful vessels to bring Him glory.


“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness..." ~2 Corinthians 12:9
My FaithWriters profile: RachelM FW member profile

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:42 am

lish1936 wrote:I always thought that because Scripture is the basis on which a devotional piece is written, those who have little understanding or appreciation for the Bible would not benefit from devotionals that by definition ( I think) are biblically based. Also, for some reason, I thought a devotional is somewhat shorter than your piece.

So, where am I going wrong? Is there a fine-line distinction between an inspirational piece and a devotional? And what about the length and the audience for whom the devotional is meant ( as per your reference to Christian vs. a non-Christian)? Also, aren't most devotionals (i.e. Daily Devotionals) usually less than 400 words?



Lillian, before I wrote this lesson, I looked for a definition of "devotional," but it's one of those terms that is defined by the person or entity using it. Since FW challenge entries are 150-750 words, devotionals here can be that long. (Same thing for the "Jewels of Encouragement" blog that I mentioned). Our Daily Bread devotionals are obviously quite a bit shorter than that, but some googling of online devotionals turned up some that were quite long--up to perhaps 2000 words.

So if you're writing a devotional for publication, you'll want to be sure that you know the word limit for that particular publisher. There's no hard-and-fast rule.

And of course the primary audience for a devotional will be Christians; nevertheless, I stand by my admonition to avoid Christianese. Although there will be times when certain phrases of Christian jargon will have to be used, I just believe that as writers we need to think more intentionally about the words that we use. While it may be easy to write "when you come before the judgement seat" because it springs quickly to your brain and says what you want to say--it will be more effective for your reader if you use a phrase that she has never read before.

I've read hundreds of devotionals here on FW, and many, many of them have almost no original material. I'm not saying that the writers were plagiarizing, but that they were just stringing together one Christian cliche after another.

Finally, even though devotionals are aimed at Christians, I'm the kind of writer who always hopes that a non-Christian will some day encounter something that I've written. I want to write in such a way that she will keep reading. Obviously, if you know that your readers will exclusively be Christians, you will use language that is comfortable for them.

I'll make a few comments about your devotional in a new reply.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:01 am

lish1936 wrote:The Blessings of Lingering Storms

“What a wonderful God…the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthen us in our hardships and trials….that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 LNT).


Storms are perfect metaphors that aptly describe the trials in a Christian’s life. But no matter how fierce natural storms rage, or how much devastation they inflict, they’re soon gone.
Not so with life’s storms that usher in hardship and trials. They do not always come and go. Very often, our “sore trials,” are like ceaseless winds and heavy downpours that foist themselves upon us for indefinite time periods. And even when there’s a momentary lull, we remain in storm alert mode.
You may be experiencing the onslaught of a lingering storm, where adversities or afflictions are always in the forecast. Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, author of Streams in the Desert and one of my favorite authors, also experienced a “staying storm” when her husband became ill while serving as a missionary. For six long years, she cared for him until his death. Amidst the turbulent, uncertain tempest of long-term care giving, she wrote her widely read, devotional book. She learned how to turn her storm into a steady stream of blessing that continues to flow into the lives of countless others.
Amy Carmichael is another one of my favorite authors, who served on the mission field until her death in 1951. She wrote about her constant storm:

    “Disappointments [are] those weary little things that enter the room with quiet procession. After the foot began to mend, other troubles came one after the other, pulling me up just when it seemed I might walk again.”

Her book, Rose from Brier, continues to water the hearts of those who are thirsty for encouragement. Your trial may be a lingering storm that never seems to blow away, but the “I” of the storm can use it to fill the cisterns of others who need comfort and strength.

Lillian


Lillian, this is a lovely devotional. I'm fond of extended metaphors, and the storms that travel through these paragraphs do their job well.

The few (very minor) things that I'd mention:

1. I'm not wild about beginning with the scripture. However, if that's the format that your desired publication prefers, then of course you'll have to keep it that way (or, of course, if that's not a format that you're willing to give up).
2. In your first paragraph, you call storms "perfect metaphors." But then you go on to give a reason why storms are not perfect metaphors. That might need some tweaking.
3. Your last sentence seems a bit clunky and awkward. I understand the word play of "I" of the storm, but the sentence as a whole needs some re-working.
4. There are a few minor tweaks in mechanics, but that's something that the editor of your publication would check (and some of them might be due to formatting here on the forums).

As I said, these are very minor. The devotional is strong, and uses excellent and compelling illustrations. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:04 am

Rachel, before I respond to your devotional, can you direct me to a link about that contest? I need to know what the criteria are for submissions, but I also want to be sure that I'm fair--if I give you public critique on this entry, might it be disqualified, or might others consider that an unfair advantage? I just want to be sure that everything is aboveboard.

j
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
lish1936
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 2051
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:21 pm
Location: New York

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby lish1936 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:35 pm

Jan wrote:1. I'm not wild about beginning with the scripture. However, if that's the format that your desired publication prefers, then of course you'll have to keep it that way



Thanks, Jan, for such a quick response and your helpful suggestions/observations. I'm glad you're obviously feeling better.

Without knowing exactly how Rachel will respond, I think she's referring to the same site to which I've submitted my devotionals. And, yes, having the Scripture at the beginning of the devotional is the required format.

Continue to feel better...Vitamin C...Plenty of liquids...and rest. :D

Lillian
E-Book - Retirement Lane - How to Celebrate Life After 60

Fortunate 500


I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

User avatar
tomoral
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 1446
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:08 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby tomoral » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:52 pm

I find this lesson very interesting. I tend to write devotionals about people, places, and things that are going on or have gone on in my own life. ( I have led an interesting one, for sure).

I just write them as the words come, and usually find a Bible verse pertaining to whatever my situation is at the moment.
God Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storms.
Children are our tomorrow
Keep them daily from the sorrow
Of the beasts in life

http://www.faithwriters.com/websites/my ... p?id=57394

User avatar
RachelM
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 632
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:52 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby RachelM » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:34 pm

Hi, Jan,
I saw the link to the devotional in FaithWriters January newsletter. I don't believe that it is a contest. The submission guidelines are here: FaithWriters Great Multitude Christian Daily Devotional
My FaithWriters profile: RachelM FW member profile

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:36 pm

RachelM wrote:

Broken Just Right

Even though I am a stay-at-home mom, housekeeping is not my forté. The boys room was getting pretty bad (maybe really bad in your books), so I sent them upstairs with a broom and instructions to clean their room.

It was sounding a little lively, but I let it go until I heard, “Mommy, the broom’s broken.” Down came my boys carrying my mangled broom.

“How did this happen?” I asked.

“I don’t know. We were just sweeping,” came the innocent reply.

I was more then a little irritated as I swept the floor that afternoon. The broom was awkward to hold and would obviously need to be replaced soon.

The following day, when I next went to use the broom (Oh all right, maybe it was a couple days later), I found it surprisingly comfortable to use. Just holding it slightly turned made all the difference. Actually, it was more comfortable to use than before it was broken, and considering the fact that a broom is made to sweep and not just look nice, I realized that it was broken just right.

As I reflected on this, it dawned on me that we can be broken just right too. Nothing is wasted. God uses our trials, pain and hardships, our weaknesses and disabilities, to mold us into useful vessels to bring Him glory.


“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness..." ~2 Corinthians 12:9


Rachel, thanks for the link, and sorry that I misunderstood this to be a contest. Now that I see the requirements for entries, I'm better able to comment on how this devotional fits.

First of all, I love this! It's got real people, with the flow of fiction, and a compelling situation. It's unique--although I've read many, many devotionals and pieces of inspirational writing, I've never read anything with this exact theme ("broken just right"). As a person who has experienced great brokenness, it really spoke to me.

However, it doesn't really meet the requirements of the Great Multitude Christian Daily Devotionals. They request that scripture be listed at the beginning, and that you have a maximum of three paragraphs.

So it's apparent that, at least as it concerns devotionals, this might be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, here at FaithWriters. I would rather read a unique devotional like this one than a cookie-cutter devotional. However, some people really like the sameness and comfort of a given format. You'll have to decide, I think, if you want to use Great Multitude as part of your platform; if you do (and there are many good reasons to do to), you'll have to rewrite this without the dialogue.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:39 pm

tomoral wrote:I find this lesson very interesting. I tend to write devotionals about people, places, and things that are going on or have gone on in my own life. ( I have led an interesting one, for sure).

I just write them as the words come, and usually find a Bible verse pertaining to whatever my situation is at the moment.


Thanks for popping in with this comment!

Do you have a devotional that you'd like to share with us? It's not necessary, of course--but I promise to be kind.
Jan Ackerson

User avatar
tomoral
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 1446
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:08 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby tomoral » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:11 pm

The Lord Holds All Strength


The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my Father's God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2

This morning I needed to read this very bible verse. I am watching someone I love very much disintegrate mentally before my very eyes and I feel helpless as to what to do about it. I am her caregiver, and my own health is questionable at this point.


This is a time when I seek God with all of my being, because I have no idea what the future holds for either of us. My faith in God has just increased a thousand times, because I know He will deliver us. My life and the life of a loved one is in His hands.


My God is my salvation, I praise and exalt Him, because I know He holds all my strength. He hears my prayers, and He will answer. I have no fear.


I wrote this a few days before Christmas. I was helping my elderly aunt make her last minute Christmas list and realized how quickly her mental capacities are slipping. It filled me with a need to pray and write this devotional.[/i]
God Bless the beasts and the children
Give them shelter from the storms.
Children are our tomorrow
Keep them daily from the sorrow
Of the beasts in life

http://www.faithwriters.com/websites/my ... p?id=57394

User avatar
RachelM
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
Pencil Plus (Over 500 Posts)
 
Posts: 632
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:52 pm

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby RachelM » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:29 pm

Thank you so much for your feedback, Jan! I really didn't know if I was on the right track at all. The truth is that I don't enjoy reading devotionals in the standard format, and I think that your suggestions are right on for making a devotional that will speak to people.

I don't think I'll bother stripping the dialogue out of my story, but I will try to write another piece that will fit the format for FaithWriters Devotional and still be interesting to read.

God bless!
My FaithWriters profile: RachelM FW member profile

User avatar
glorybee
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 6297
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Be a Better Writer--Devotionals

Postby glorybee » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:46 pm

tomoral wrote:The Lord Holds All Strength


The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my Father's God, and I will exalt Him. Exodus 15:2

This morning I needed to read this very bible verse. I am watching someone I love very much disintegrate mentally before my very eyes and I feel helpless as to what to do about it. I am her caregiver, and my own health is questionable at this point.


This is a time when I seek God with all of my being, because I have no idea what the future holds for either of us. My faith in God has just increased a thousand times, because I know He will deliver us. My life and the life of a loved one is in His hands.


My God is my salvation, I praise and exalt Him, because I know He holds all my strength. He hears my prayers, and He will answer. I have no fear.


I wrote this a few days before Christmas. I was helping my elderly aunt make her last minute Christmas list and realized how quickly her mental capacities are slipping. It filled me with a need to pray and write this devotional.[/i]


Thanks for sharing this devotional!

It's unclear to me whether that last paragraph is part of the devotional or not. I suspect that it is not, but I think the sentence about your elderly aunt would be great as a part of the devotional, probably in that first paragraph. It's a bit more detailed than what you wrote in that paragraph, and it has more of your true "voice."

I've already addressed the format issue in my replies to Rachel and Lillian, so I'll just reiterate: if this is for Great Multitude or some such specifically-formatted repository of devotionals, it's fine to begin with scripture. If it's for the writing challenge or your own publication (blog, for example), you should feel free to experiment with formatting, and moving the scripture to within the body of your devotional somewhere.

You also might want to check for any uses of "Christianese"--phrases that crop up frequently in Christian writing. It's clear that you have a unique writers' voice; can you take one or two of those phrases and re-write them in such a way to hold your readers' interest? For example, you wrote:

He hears my prayers, and He will answer.

What if you rewrote that:

Like a mother whose ears are finely tuned to the slightest peep of her newborn child, God hears even my weakest prayers, and He is eager to answer with things that will nourish my body and soul.

You get the idea--give it some additional sparkle.

Your lovely few paragraphs felt like a psalm to me--that's a wonderful thing!
Jan Ackerson

Next

Return to Jan's Writing Basics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


© MeasurelessMedia. All rights reservedTerms of Service



Jesus - True for You But not for Me      Website Builder     Build Website     Is Jesus God?    
Does God exist?     Build a writers website     Does truth exist?     Website online in minutes