Devotional Books: Wrapping Up November

By Jennifer Hallmark

I love to read devotional books. I always have at least one on my nightstand. There is no better way to start or end a day than with a section from the Bible and an encouraging thought about God, love, and life.

To wrap up this month of all things devotional, I’d remind you of our earlier posts you might have missed.

8 Steps to Writing a “Shout from the Housetops” Devotion by Bonita McCoy

Christian Devotions: The Birthing of a Ministry by Cindy Sproles

Devotion Writing: Journeying to Publication by Martin Wiles

Hopefully Devoted by Carlton Hughes

So You Want to Write a Devotional Book? by Shirley Crowder

Resources for Anyone Who’d Like to Write Devotional Books by Jennifer Hallmark

Apples of Gold by Harriet Michael

Writing the Rightly Divided by Kristy Horine

Encouraging Others Through Devotional  blogging by Tammy Trail

I know you’ll enjoy all these posts, whether you are a writer of devotions or strictly a reader. My favorite devotional books are:

Streams in the Desert

Jesus Every Day

God in the Dark: 31 Devotions  to Let the Light Back In

My Utmost for His Highest

Jesus Calling

Do you like devotional books? Do you get a new one each year in January? Who are your favorite devotional writers? Share a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a Kindle copy of Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress by Lysa Terkheurst.

Click to tweet: Devotional Writing: Wrapping Up November. What are your favorite devotional books? #devotional #amreading

Writing Prompt: Take one of the Psalms and write a devotional thought about it. If you’d like, share below also…

So You Want to Write a Devotional Book?

by Shirley Crowder

The Devotional Writer

Before we can look at writing a devotional book, we must first think about the writer. There is one imperative foundational spiritual aspect to writing a devotional book—a consistently growing relationship with Jesus Christ. The depth of that relationship depends upon your communication with God.

Your walk with Christ and your understanding of His Word is strengthened through a powerful prayer life. Your prayer time is rich as you communicate with your Savior. It’s a two-way communication—you talk with God and He talks with you, primarily through His Word. So, a Christ-follower must regularly engage in reading, studying, memorizing, meditating, and contemplating upon God’s Word—being a student of the Word. This means you are digging deep into passages by studying other places in the Bible that speak of the same topic, reading and listening to sermons, teaching, blogs, articles, commentaries, etc.

As the Holy Spirit is teaching you the Word you are also learning to apply that Word in your life. It is upon this foundation of truth that you begin to recognize biblical truth and insights in and through everything you observe.

Gather Ideas

My co-writing friend, Harriet E. Michael, and I talk about “thinking devotionally” which means that as we go about our lives, we see biblical truths in the things we observe and hear. These spark ideas for devotionals, so we get these ideas jotted down quickly.

Look-up stickyThese can be handwritten or typed notes or even voice memos to yourself. I also keep a prayer journal and sermon/Bible study notes from which many of my devotionals come.

These don’t have to be written in complete grammatically-correct sentences. Bullet points or phrases that record enough of what you saw and thought of will jog your memory later on.

My Approach

Pray! Choose a topic. It can be narrow, such as: Advent Meditations; or it can be broader, “New Beginnings.” Some devotionals take one specific passage, Psalm 23, for instance.

Pray! Decide how many devotions will be in your book. Some are 30 days, 365 days, and everything in between.

Pray! Determine the length. Most suggestions I’ve seen tell you to keep it between 250-500 words per piece. The devotionals in the books I have written are between 600-900 words per devotional.

Pray! Choose the audience to whom you want to write. Devotionals written specifically for single women are different from those written specifically for married women.

Pray! Sometimes a Scripture passage comes to mind before the specific devotional thought. Sometimes the biblical truth comes to mind with the devotional thought and I discover the right passage in my study. I do a biblical study of the topic, making notes of passages and their meanings and applications. It is imperative that you do a thorough study of all Scripture passages you use so that you are not taking things out of context or misquoting the passage. Make sure you note the version of Scripture you are quoting.

Pray! Remember to give credit to the appropriate resource for quoted material.

Pray! Start writing. Don’t edit and rewrite, just get your thoughts down first. Then go back for edits and rewrites. When all the devotionals for one book are completed, I like to lay the manuscript aside for several weeks. Then, I read it again with fresher eyes.

Structure

I suggest you go to a bookstore or library and look at devotional books to get an idea of a format/structure you like. Keep in mind that traditional publishing houses often have a format/structure they want you to follow.

Most devotionals follow a basic structure:

Scripture Passage/Verse
Be sure the wording matches the version you want to quote and make certain you follow the grammar, punctuation, and capitalization for that version.

Devotional Thought
This is something that helps the reader connect and apply the Scripture Passage/Verse. Don’t try to copy someone else’s writing style—let your personality come through, as frightening a thought as that may be😊. I often teach/talk aloud through the devotional thought which helps me choose the words I use in writing it.

Prayer
Include in the prayer aspects of thanksgiving and petition that related to the devotional.

Thought for the Day/Action Point
What do you want them to think about during the day? What do you want them to do as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in their heart through the Scripture and your words?

All the devotionals are written, now what?

Lay the manuscript aside for several weeks. Then get out your purple (OK, most folks would say red, but not me!) pen and start editing and rewriting. I also suggest you have at least one other person read the manuscript and give you an honest evaluation. I find it helpful to find someone with similar biblical/theological views and understanding.

purple penEven if you are good at grammar, spelling, and punctuation, you need to have an editor work on your manuscript. By the time I’m at this stage of the process I’m so familiar with the devotionals and know what I MEANT TO SAY that I often do not see that I didn’t SAY WHAT I THOUGHT I DID!

Look back at some of the past InspiredPrompt.com blogs on publishing: traditional, assisted/partnership, or Indie for information about getting your book published.

 

Click to Tweet: Don’t try to copy someone else’s writing style—let your personality show through your writing.

Writing Prompt: “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” Psalm 3:3 NIV. Take this thought and using my structure mentioned above, write a devotional thought. Share it below if you’d like…


Glimpses of the Savior

Final_Front_cover50 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year
In early November, we get busy preparing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year, and we often forget the real meanings behind these celebrations. We can guard against this by preparing our hearts to seek Him as we focus on God’s Word, and by remembering that Thanksgiving is a time to give God thanks; Christmas is the celebration of the Savior’s birth; the New Year brings new beginnings. Then, as we go about doing the things the Lord has called us to do where He has called us to do them, we catch Glimpses of the Savior and biblical truth in the things we experience and observe. These devotionals are based on memories of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year celebrations in Africa and America. May the Holy Spirit work through these meditations to help readers recognize Glimpses of the Savior in the things they observe, and become skilled at finding Jesus among the celebrations and decorations.

Order from Amazon

 

Christian Devotions: The Birthing of a Ministry

By Cindy K. Sproles
Acquisitions Editor
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Christian Devotions Ministries was born in August of 2008. We became a 501c3 shortly after our inception. God called two friends together to make this ministry happen and it came about like this:

Eddie Jones and I met at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and it was there we both sat across the table from editors and publishers handing out the same responses. No experience. Not only us, but many others new to the industry simply didn’t have the experience necessary to rise to publication at that time. We were good with that, understanding that new writers have to learn to write before they can become published so our prayer became, “Lord will you allow us to provide the opportunity for new writers to gain their first publication credit? Will you help us build a reputation of goodness, kindness, and willingness to teach others? Will you groom our writing so that we might be able to share your word to the world? And finally, will you grant us the opportunity to get to know publishers, agents, and editors so that we might gain the platform necessary to be able to offer this to others?”

I’m not sure why we were surprised, but God did answer yes to all our requests and www.ChristianDevotions.us was born. Currently, we publish devotions daily year round. Our goal is to help new writers gain that first publication credit and have it mean something in the industry. We work to mentor writers as they send us submissions, grooming them to write a touching and impactful devotion that can be used on the website and distributed worldwide.

Christian Devotions now is home to over 800 authors, many who continue to submit to the site as well as a continual flow of new, unpublished authors on a daily basis. We are blessed God saw the potential in us and this work to bless us. The daily devotional ministry reaches some 171 countries and emails over 20K emails weekly to our subscriber list. Folks and receive the devotions free of charge by going to the site and signing up in the email box. Christian Devotions holds the Asheville Christian Writers Conference each February at the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center, in Asheville, NC with an amazing faculty each year. We welcome all writers to the conference and offer tracks for both new and seasoned writers. www.ashevillechristianwritersconference.com

Christian Devotions also has www.DevoKids.com – our site for homeschooling families as well as children from 5-10 years old.  Then for adults who are looking for a place of encouragement, we offer InspireAFire.com.

Next to ChristianDevotions.us comes our blog talk radio show www.christiandevotionsspeakup.com hosted by Scott McCausey. Visit the Speak Up site and listen to hundreds of amazing interviews from theologians, sports figures, Christian music artists, and even actors. Scott talks with them all about the impact God has had in their lives.All that to say, Christian Devotions Ministries is well rounded. We have something for everyone.

God has blessed us by growing the ministry of Christian Devotions greater than we ever imagined, but then our God is greater than we can imagine anyway. For those who want to submit to ChristianDevotions.us, visit our site at www.christiandevotions.us, click on the tab that says Write for Us, and download our guidelines and the sample devotions that teach you how we write devotions for the website. You may submit to christiandevotionsministries@gmail.com. Our Managing Editor is Martin Wiles.

Visit us at any of our sites. Invite us to your conference. Spread the word about the daily devotions and help us make a greater impact on a hurting world.


Cindy K. Sproles  is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and the cowriter of the popular He Said, She Said Devotions written with her cofounder, Eddie Jones. She is a novelist and best-selling author. Cindy’s devotions and articles are published in Christian newspapers across the eastern seaboard, including having been used to represent legislature for protection of the elderly. She is a speaker to women’s conferences addressing not only the heart of women, but also their biblical responsibilities to their families.

As a teacher and speaker for Christian Writers Conferences, Cindy teaches writing skills and how to write placing God in the forefront.  She is a contributing author to CBN.com and is the Executive Editor for www.christiandevotions.us and the Managing Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ imprints: SonRise Devotionals and Straight Street Books. She is a certified life coach and mentor, an eldercare specialist and a special needs advocate. Her book, New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refine You Into the Woman You Can Be is being used to help raise funds for Hope House, an abortion crisis center and her novel, Mercy’s Rain, is giving a voice to children who suffer sexual child abuse. Cindy is also the coauthor of He Said, She Said – A  Devotional Guide to Cultivating a Life of  Passion.

She is the mother of four adult sons and  lives in the mountains of East Tennessee with her husband. Cindy can be contacted at www.cindysproles.com or by emailing cindyksproles@gmail.com.