by Jean Matthew Hall
There are many publishers of periodicals and books that publish devotions.
Some are presented as monthly or quarterly magazines.
Some are books that contain a specific number of devotions. Usually 30 or 90 or 365. Some devotional publications are collections written by several or many different authors.
Devotions publishers have specific guidelines for the length of each devotional, the format of the devotional, and the version of Scripture to use. Be SURE to check their guidelines before submitting to them.
However, I’m offering a few tips that seem to work universally for Christian devotions.
Keep it short.
Most devotions are 200 to 400 words.
Be sure of your target audience.
If you are writing for children or teens, be sure to use language, vocabulary and examples that are relevant to them. If your audience is adults, zero in on which demographic. Are you writing to young professionals? To senior adults? To moms? To ministers? Each demographic requires a specific style.
Start with Scripture.
This makes a big difference in the accuracy of your devotion. Whether you are choosing the topic or the publisher has sent you the specifics, always start your thought processes with the Scripture verses. If you start with a topic or story then try to find verses to support it you are in danger of misusing the Word of God. Sound inductive Bible study always starts with the Scripture passage. Read it several times, maybe in several translations. Ask yourself: “What is God saying to me? To my target reader? What is God saying about Himself here? Or about humankind? About sin? About salvation?
After you get that in your head and heart, then search for stories or illustrations to make the Scripture meaningful to your readers.
Use the version of Scripture the publisher requires.
Many accurate and meaningful translations and versions of Scripture are available to English-speaking people. The publisher requires a certain version for good reasons. If you want them to publish your work, follow their guidelines in this area.
Consider whether your devotion will be distributed in countries other than the USA.
If the publisher distributes their publications in English-speaking countries other than the USA, remember to use examples and stories that are universal. Writing about American technology or media may be completely out of place in other English-speaking countries. Also, avoid referring to violence or weaponry. People living in other English-speaking countries may live in war zones and be exposed to gunfire and explosions daily.
Saturate your writing in prayer.
God’s Word is truth for all people. Saturate your devotion in prayer BEFORE you write it. Ask God to give you the words that someone will desperately need somewhere in the future. He will.
Jean lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Her stories and poems appear in a variety of inspirational magazines and anthologies. Jean is a member of the SCBWI, Word Weavers International, and the Louisville Christian Writers. Jean recently signed with Little Lamb Books for a four-book series of picture books about the seasons of the year. The first book, God’s Blessings of Fall, was released in September of 2019. Jean is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency. Website: www.jeanmatthewhall.com