How to Write a Devotional
This page is designed to go over a few things about how to write a devotional. You came to this page to learn how to write a devotional, so I wanted to include the most important part upfront. However, I’ll also go over the when and what of devotionals as well later on this page. Here’s what this page is about:
How to write a devotional
I want to start by saying that writing a devotional is not hard. What’s hard is starting the habit. My hope is to lay out a solid framework with an example that makes it easy for you to start writing devotionals today. All you need to start is a Bible (the Bible App work, too), a notebook or notes app on your phone or tablet, and 5-10 minutes.
I follow a devotional framework called SOAP. “S” is “Scripture,” “O” is “Observation,” “A” is “Application,” and “P” is “Prayer.” A SOAP in its simplest form is basically reading a verse or passage you find interesting, making an observation about it, applying it to your life, and then praying about what you’ve learned. It really does only take 5-10 minutes to spend quality time with God. Let’s break this down.
S – Scripture
First, you’ll need to find a verse or passage that you find interesting. An easy way to start is by using the verse of the day or a reading plan from the Bible App I mentioned earlier. You can also use a verse that your pastor used from the previous weekend. The options of where to find a verse are limitless, the point is to just find one. To start off, it might be easier to pick a short, well-known verse.
For the sake of example, we’re going to use John 3:16 (NIV), which says:
Most people know this verse, so it’s a great place to start for this example. I typically read the verse aloud all the way through two times. There’s not a magic number about how many times to read the verse out loud, and you don’t necessarily have to. Just find what works for you.
O – Observation
Now that we have our verse picked out, we need to make an observation about it. This doesn’t need to be anything profound. In fact, if you read any of my daily devotions you’ll notice that I don’t typically go very theologically deep. My goal is to find simple yet profound truths for you to take into the rest of the day. If you haven’t already, you can use this form to subscribe to my daily devotionals or use the form below.
Using John 3:16 as an example, we see a couple of things. First, God loved who? “The world.” That means God loved everyone in the world. Next, we see that God gave up his “one and only Son” for that world he loved so much. But why did he do it? It’s so everyone who “believes in him” can “have eternal life.”
See? That’s a simple truth that you probably already knew, but we get to write it out here to reflect on deeper. You’ll notice that I wrote out questions. That just helps me think more deeply about the verse at hand. If you’re not big into asking questions, then don’t ask them. Again, pick what works for you.
A – Application
We’ve picked a verse and made a few observations about it, so now we’re in the “Application” phase of how to write a devotional. Use this portion of your daily time with God to think of ways you can use that simple yet profound truth we uncovered in the “Observation” phase in your life.
Continuing on with our John 3:16 example, we know that God sent Jesus to die for us so we can live. What do we then take away from that truth? Well, we should love others as God loves us! God was self-sacrificial in his love for us, so we should be the same to others around us. Luckily, God doesn’t require us to go as extreme as he did, so we are simply called to serve others and treat them well.
P – Prayer
We’re now in the last phase of how to do a devotional. You’ll want to close out your time with a short prayer. Again, if you have been getting my daily devotionals, you’ll notice I don’t use this time to pray some long, drawn-out prayer. Keep it short and on topic.
Using our example above, a prayer might look something like this: “God, thank you for sending your son to die for me on the cross. Help me to live my life as fully as possible. Give me the strength to serve others and love them as you have loved me. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.”
Short. Simple. To the point.
Wrapping up how to write a devotional
I hope you find the steps above helpful in starting your own devotional time with the Lord. I also hope that you can use my daily devotions to help you grow in your relationship with Christ. Now that we’ve talked about how to write a devotional, let’s talk about when to write a devotional.
How to Write a Devotional – When?
Everybody is a little different. Some people are morning people while others are night owls. A majority of the people, however, fall somewhere in the middle. If you can wake up at 5 in the morning and spend time with God, that’s great! If you can stay awake until 5 in the morning and spend time with God, wonderful! I know most of us can’t do either of those things, so I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to do your devotionals at lunchtime! In fact, you can write a devotional at any point during the day.
For me, it makes sense to write my devotionals first thing in the morning as I drink my daily coffee. My season of life allows that for me. Maybe that works for you, too. I like to start my day off with that time, but that doesn’t work for everyone.
Maybe for you, the best time is right as you’re going to bed to clear your thoughts before sleeping. I get that. I also spend some time at night reflecting on my day and thanking God for everything he’s done for me. The point is to write your devotionals whenever you’re at your best.
God gave his all for us. The least we can do is return the effort.
I’ve written about this at some length on the page linked above, but I’ll sum that up for you quickly. A devotional is simply time spent with God. You can do this through journaling, singing, praying, reading your Bible, or by really doing anything that you’ve dedicated to God that honors him. Feel free to read more about this by going to my page, “What is a Devotional.”