4 Elements to Include in a Powerful Devotional: Part 5
The conclusion of a powerful devotional leaves the reader with a reminder of the main points, a sense of hope, and a call to action.
Today we’ll discuss the important aspects of a conclusion, but as a review here’s a list of the devotional elements we’ve discussed in this series:
4 Elements of a Powerful Devotional
- Introduction (click here to read this blog post)
- Address Your Reader’s Need (click here)
- Exploration of Scripture (click here)
In the first post of this series I included a sample devotional that we’ll continue to use (click here for sample devotional).
Let’s look at my sample. Right before the conclusion I have explored the answer I’ve found in Scripture about my question, problem, or need. In my sample here’s my conclusion:
That’s why I’m dancing in my new boots today. Join me. Put on your favorite stylish shoes, crank the tunes and dance.
Short and sweet, isn’t it? Remember this conclusion was part of a devotional with a very short word count. Your conclusion can be one paragraph – and it can be longer than this paragraph – or several short concluding paragraphs.
Let’s look at what you want to accomplish in your conclusion.
Summarize the main point of your devotional
Refer to the main point of your devotional, reminding your reader what you want her to remember. This is not the place to introduce a brand-new idea or a reference to a previously unmentioned Scripture.
Tie back into the introduction
If you told a story in your introduction, an effective method to use in your conclusion is to tie back into that story, like I did in my sample. I started off with dancing with my sons while wearing my new boots. In my conclusion I referred once again to dancing in my boots.
Another great method to try if you’ve used a story in your introduction is this: you can choose not to finish that story in your introduction. Instead, save the ending of the story for your conclusion.
Referring to your introduction is not a necessary requirement for your conclusion, but it can provide a strong ending.
End with hope and inspiration
The conclusion of my devotional invites my reader to join me by dancing to music in her favorite shoes. At this point I hope she feels that she’s gotten some answers to her question or need. My hope is that she’ll step away with a changed, hopeful, and biblical mindset.
Provide a point of application
Even though my sample devotion is very short, it does end on a note of hope and application.
However, if I were to expand this conclusion, I think it would be more powerful if I provided more specific application points:
That’s why I’m dancing in my new boots today. Join me! What can you do this week to embrace your beauty, inside and out? Maybe a little mascara and lipstick. A new top. Paint your nails or get a pedicure. Fix your hair. Take a walk on a trail. Write in your journal. Take a half day for a mini retreat, where you spend time with God. Something that is just for you, something that speaks to your spirit, knowing God sees you and affirms your desire to feel beautiful inside and out.
You want to give her a specific suggestion for a way to apply the principles to her life and to ask her to take action soon – today, this week, this month.
A few more notes about the conclusion.
Other options to include after the conclusion
- End with a prayer
- Include related Scripture references, so your reader can explore the topic more on her own.
And finally, a couple of “don’ts”
- Don’t start your conclusion with “In conclusion.” This is not a sign of strong writing. Be more creative!
- Don’t forget to proofread!
I hope you now feel better equipped to write your own powerful devotionals. As we end this series, let’s pray that God will use our writing to encourage our readers and bring Him glory.
Thank you for giving us the gift of writing. As with all our gifts, we want to use them to your glory. Infuse our writing with your power, light, love, encouragement, wisdom, truth, and hope.
You know what we need when we write, and we trust You will give us inspiration, discernment, creativity, freshness, wisdom, God-confidence, perseverance, and compassion in our writing.
May every word we write lead to You, Lord. Amen
Amy and I would love to help you in your writing, speaking, and ministry journey. You’ll find our services listed on our website (click here for Next Step Coaching Services).
P. S. In November I’ll be offering a discounted price for my manuscript evaluation service, specifically for evaluating your devotional. Also, I’ll be offering a “freebie” – a downloadable checklist of the key elements of a devotional. Watch for that on our blog at Next Step Coaching Services.
Join Amy on Facebook for the last of her Fall Focus series. This one includes the essential element for the business part of your ministry.
Great points for concluding a devotional! I had not considered all those options. Thank you, Melanie!
Thank you, Charla. Looking forward to reading some of yours on your blog. Let me know when it’s up! Melanie