Monday, 4 November 2019

Exploring Genre - Devotional Writing

From the time I was little, I dreamed of becoming a writer. It didn’t happen … at first. But as I reached the ripe old age of 50 ... I finally made it. And I haven’t looked back! The interesting truth though is that I never planned to write what I do now—for some reason, devotional writing didn’t sound like ‘proper writing’ to me! As a little girl, I read lots of fiction and revelled in it. I scribbled a plethora of stories, poems and songs into exercise books. All that reading (and writing) should have produced works of fiction in later life, don’t you think? But … what did God call me to write? Yep! You’ve guessed right—a cousin to devotional writing—inspirational writing. (Although … if I had my way, I’d call them books on Christian living.) God has a great sense of humour, don't you think? 

I am glad to report that I am oh-so-content with the kind of writing I engage in. God’s been wooing me over the years into a journey of deep intimacy with Him, so perhaps my writing is not so weird after all. Two years ago I chose Psalm 27:4 as my go to verse for my new decade: One thing I ask from the Lord, and this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. Leading others to do the same would thrill me, just as having Aslan from the Narnia Chronicles bounding into my backyard would make me jump up and down with joy and excitement. So here’s a big bold YES to devotional writing.

What IS devotional writing? And how does one set about it?

We followers of Jesus seek to spend time with Him every day in order to nurture our love relationship with God. A devotional (as you know) is a tool with which to deepen our walk with God.

Format of a Devotional Piece:
Devotional Writing ideally needs four or five components to make it work. Of course, it’s important to check the magazine you submit to, to know what that particular platform is seeking:
1.     A Theme – ‘perseverance’, ‘courage’, ‘prayer’, ‘standing firm’ and so on.
2.     A Scripture Reference – A passage from the Word.
3.     A Story to match the Bible reading – Here’s where your writerly tongue sings.
4.     A suggested Practical Action – Always a help
5.     A Prayer – This is not essential but would be a good finish.

Number of words
Devotionals are short pieces of writing—between 150 – 500 words with an average of around 200-250. They are short because they usually they deal with just one basic idea which challenges and inspires the reader. Do check the publication you are submitting to as to the length required by them.

Whom do Devotionals cater to?
All believers—which means everyone. You could tailor your devotionals to what you know about. If you are a twenty something young person, you could write about the pressures of young people today and biblical application that would encourage others. If you are on the other hand, a fifty year old, you could focus on the challenges middle aged people face. And so on. Or you could write about what interests you most and in the category you know you can write about.

Who should write them?
Anyone God calls. You, for instance! Do you feel a tug at your heart to inspire and motivate others as I do? Perhaps that’s an indication of your calling. Are you in love with Jesus and desire to see others splash into the depths of knowing Him better? That says something. Do you love to read and study scripture and to share His truths with the world? Ah! That is telling.

Qualities of a Devotional Writer
We cannot lead others to do what we do not do. So … if we desire our readers to connect with God, we too need to connect with God on a daily basis. A devotional writer needs to be grounded in God and His Word. To study the scriptures often. To use it as her meat and drink, her wine and cheese, her bread and butter. Writing devotionals is good for the soul. We need humility and godly wisdom. God asks that we become lovers of God in order to make others seek after God. And of course—the devotional writer needs to love books, reading and writing as do all writers.

Abilities of a Devotional Writer
Can you string sentences together? Do you find messages in day to day occurrences? Do you like to connect others with God? Do you love studying the Word? All of these would help. The love of the language is important and the love of God and His Word a must.

What does a good Devotional look like?

Here are a few Devotionals from Australian and New Zealand Writers:
(Please click on the links of the resources given below. Links are in red)

Resources: Some helpful articles:

Two Devotional Websites you can contribute to:

2.     The Upper Room

 My first book ‘Enjoying the Journey’ is (I’m told) used as a devotional for families - Mums and Dads read it to their children. The book is a collection of 75 little God stories – I didn’t plan them to be devotional reading. I assumed it was inspirational reading – but it seems they fit the category. 

If you are interested in writing devotionals, don’t let anything stop you. Jump in and discover the joys not only of the writing process but also the journey God takes you through when you aspire to teach, inspire and bless others through your writing.

And finally … a Few Tips:

1.     If God calls you to write devotionals do run with it. You won’t regret it.
2.     Encouraging others to a deeper walk with God does matter. If God has placed it on your heart, dive in
3.     Keep it simple – devotional pieces are not complicated. Let the Spirit guide you.
4.     Use good writing. Metaphors are powerful. Show don’t tell.
5.     God will often make you live out the experience you are writing about. Ouch! But you will grow through it.
6.     Enjoy!

Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite to hurry the process in her world through her writing and through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song through each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus.

Her first book Enjoying the Journey contains 75 little God stories that will bring you closer to your Creator. Her 2nd book ‘Dancing in the Rain’ brings you hope and comfort for life’s soggy seasons. Her 3rd book, ‘Sharing the Journey’ is a sequel to 'Enjoying the Journey' and will be released on March 7th 2020.

Do stop by at her website Dancing in the Rain to say G’day!


  1. What a terrific resource you've supplied here, Anusha. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us so that others may be encouraged to take up the baton of devotional writing and run with it. I've had a few devotions published despite my thinking I was inadequate for the task. Two of them were published in an anthology aimed at the New Adult market, which, ironically, reinforced my sense of direction in writing fiction for that demographic. Perhaps God's point all along was to show me how he multiplies his strength and wisdom in us and through us when we trust and obey his leading. You are living testimony to that blessed truth, Anusha.

    1. Thanks so much dear Mazzy for you as always generous words and encouragement. Of course YOU are more than adequate for the task. You have an amazing way with words - truly - and can tackle anything the Lord calls you to. I mean that! So glad He made His ways clear to you as you stepped out in obedience to Him. I love it when that occurs. His ways are so different to ours and often His purposes are different to what we imagine ... till we have that aha moment! :) Thanks again for taking time out of your busy life to comment dear friend. Greatly appreciated and all the best to you in your writing.