4 Elements to Include in a Powerful Devotional: Part 3
One of the main elements of a powerful devotional is to address your reader’s need or problem. And that’s what we’ll discuss in today’s blog post, the third in a series of blog posts about 4 elements to include in a powerful devotional.
The four key elements in a devotional:
- Introduction (click here to read this post)
- Addressing Your Reader’s Need
- Exploration of Scripture
In the first post I included a sample devotional (click here for first blog post where you’ll find sample) that we’ll continue to use throughout this series.
After your reader is hooked into reading because she’s read your powerful, attention-grabbing introduction, you next want to acknowledge her need or problem. Ultimately, we want to bring that problem into the light of God’s transforming Word where our reader will find a solution…but we have to lead her there.
So, how do we identify and address our reader’s need? You may have heard the term “felt need.” Simply put, think about what your reader feels, and what does she need? What does she want a solution to? Answering these questions enables you to write with these in mind.
As we hone into the felt need, we want to continue to write in a way that is authentic and genuine. We don’t want to sound preachy; we don’t want to sound like we have a doctorate in theology.
We want to sound like we’re having a conversation with our reader. When we assure our reader, “We’re in this together,” we create a powerful devotional, creating a connection that compels our reader to continue to read.
In addition, another tip for moving from writing generally to writing specifically aimed at your reader’s need is to imagine your reader and even create a little story about her. Give her a name. What’s her age? Married or single? Mother? Of young children or teens? What’s her living situation? Job? Season of life? Etc. You want to get inside her life so you can address her need.
By the way, the need to understand our audience’s problem holds true in speaking also. Amy Carroll has written an incredible series available at Next Step Coaching Services on how to write a speaking message that connects with your audience’s felt needs (Click here to purchase the eguides for only $4.99; also available as PDF).
For example, Amy includes a great tip that works in writing as well. She explains that when speaking you want to create a “me too! moment” – that place in your speaking where you assure your reader, I get it, and I get you. When you write a devotional, you want to create that same moment.
Here’s the part of my sample devotional that addresses the need or problem.
Why? I got a new pair of boots. And these are not sensible boots. They are high-heeled and impractical. Today they make me feel beautiful.
Do you remember longing to be beautiful? Sometimes we hide from the longing. We wonder if a good Christian woman is vain if she wants to beautiful. Shouldn’t we be more concerned with our character than outward beauty? So we try to discard our longing by telling ourselves that physical beauty is a useless pursuit.
But deep down this doesn’t ring true. We desire to display both inner and outer beauty. What we really long for is someone to be enchanted with our entire being, our very essence.
This devotional addresses my need, and pretty much every woman’s desire, to feel beautiful. As I wrote this devotional I was feeling the opposite! My body felt soft and pudgy post-babies, and I spent a lot of days in sloppy jeans and a sweatshirt. Everywhere I looked it seemed women were skinnier, less wrinkled, or more stylish.
And then there’s my question: should I even be caring about this topic? What does God think about our desire to feel physically beautiful?
Finally, I am looking for a solution to this problem, so now I’m at the point in my devotional where I’m ready to turn this problem over to the power of God’s Word. Next week we’ll look at just that – how to bring Scripture into our devotional.
I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions or helpful writing tips, feel free to leave a comment!
Need to sharpen the content of your website? Amy will share 2 key questions and a resource that every speaker needs to hear.
“When we assure our reader, “We’re in this together,” we create a powerful devotional, creating a connection that compels our reader to continue to read.”
Yes! This is a basic felt need for all humanity. Discovering the ‘specific’ need of those to whom we write/speak is where personal life experience becomes helpful life application.
Thank you, Melanie 🙂
Thank you, Charla! You are a great encourager!!