Don’t Let Commentaries Slow Your Christian Writing

When I teach Christian writing classes, I emphasize the importance of Bible study. Christian writers have an incredible privilege of inspiring and encouraging readers to draw closer to God and to dig deeper into His Word. That means writers need to know the Bible and have a solid foundation for presenting scripture in their writing.

This doesn’t mean a devotional writer needs to be a scholar of biblical texts. But there are some basics that anyone writing about scripture needs to practice. One of these is the use of reliable biblical commentaries.

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Devotional Writing: Two Ways to Begin

This lesson is taken from my online course, “Let’s Write a Devotional.”

While a classic-style devotional begins with a Bible verse and is followed by a reflection (sometimes called a meditation, or story), that may not be the order in which the inspiration comes to you.

Sometimes you will start with the Bible verse, and then you will ask God to help you write a reflection that relates to the verse.

At other times, you will start the other way around – you will know the story, the object lesson, or the testimony first, and then you will ask God to lead you to the scripture verse which that story expresses.

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Read as a Writer: A Lesson for Devotional Writers

This lesson is taken from my online course, “Let’s Write a Devotional.”

In this lesson, we are going to read several devotionals. Hopefully, this reading will be enjoyable for you. The more you enjoy devotional reading, the more that joy will come through in your devotional writing. And the more devotionals you read, the easier it will be when it comes to writing your own.

As you read the devotionals in this lesson, I want you to read specifically as a writer. This lesson will take some time, but it is well worth the effort. You are setting a foundation that will help you greatly when you begin to write your own devotionals. Enjoy this time, move slowly through this process, and make the most of it. This is all time spent with God. Be blessed.

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Write a Prayer

Today’s post is a lesson from my free online intro course for Christian writers: Begin Your Christian Writing Adventure!

Dear Lord, thank You for helping us to grow as writers. We ask that You will guide us, so that Your heart will shine through each word we write. In Jesus’ name. Amen

In the last lesson, we talked about how your writing starts from your relationship with God. Your writing also begins with prayer. Prayer is simply conversation with God – and that’s exactly what you did in the last lesson. Your letter to God was a prayer.

All of your writing should be bathed in prayer. Pray before you write. Write from a prayerful spirit. Take breaks during your writing time to pray. Talk to God as you write. Ask Him any questions you have, or share your concerns with Him. Don’t wait – stop and talk with Him as concerns come up. Listen for His wisdom. He knows exactly how to help you. Then close each writing session with prayer.

As you pray through your writing, not only will this help you as a writer (and as a person). Your prayerful writing will also invite the Holy Spirit to move through your words. God will touch readers in ways you can’t begin to expect. Think about the last time God affected you through a piece of writing. He will do the same for others through the words He inspires in you.

I’ve had readers share with me that a certain word or phrase spoke directly to their heart. Some of these were phrases I didn’t even remember writing. But God knew what they needed to hear. He helped me write the words, crafted for people I didn’t even know. He reached through those words to touch their hearts in unique ways that I could never have done. The key was prayer.

In addition to writing with a prayerful heart, you can also allow God to use the writing gift He has given you to write prayers for people. It may be an email to someone in need; a prayer offered on a blog or in a magazine for a specific type of situation; or a collection of prayers in a book.

Your church might enjoy having prayers written on the website or social media pages, in the newsletter, or in the Sunday bulletin. I used to lead a writing ministry at a church. Together, we created responsive prayers for different occasions. As a prayer leader, I was also asked to write sample prayers for healing. And I enjoyed writing short prayers for different seasons in the church newsletter and daily news emails.

In whatever ways God leads you, you can write prayers that will help people.

Today is your chance to get started with prayer writing. Here is today’s writing exercise:

Write a prayer.

It can be a prayer for someone you are praying for right now. Or a prayer for something you are going through. You might think of a situation and write a prayer for someone in that situation. It might be a prayer for a friend who is ill … for a child about to take a test at school … for a new believer to share thanks with Jesus. Ask God to lead you, and pray before you start to write.

Remember not to edit yourself – just write. Write from your heart, prayerfully.

When you finish, you may simply want to read your prayer out loud to God. If your prayer is for a particular person, you might want to email it or write it in a prayer card to mail to that person, if that seems appropriate and if the Lord leads. If you have a blog, and if your prayer is for a general or common situation (i.e., not for a particular person), you might want to share your prayer so other readers can pray that prayer too, for their own situations.

Or the prayer you write may just stay between you and God. There’s no pressure to share with others. Only if you want to.

P.S. After you finish writing your own prayer, turn to John 17:20-26 and be blessed by the prayer Jesus prayed for you when He walked on this earth.

If you would like more lessons like this one, my free, self-paced, online course Begin Your Christian Writing Adventure is waiting for you. The course includes feedback on your final course project. And the course is Free! Come on in.