How To Lead A Devotional
5 Steps to Prepare for Your Talk
Have you been asked to give a short devotional? If you've never done one before, don't panic! God works out his story in everyone's life and all you need to do is to tell a small part of how you have seen God in your life and then link that to a Scripture. That's it! Your example is going to encourage others and hopefully give them something that will help them think about their own lives.My example will help you get started. You are welcome to use it and personalize it with your own stories, or just use it as a framework to make your own devotional.
1. Pray:The first thing to do is to pray that God will give you an idea of what he wants you to talk about.
2. Wait for God's Answer: He might give you:
- A Scripture verse that is meaningful to you.
- A memory of something that happened that helped you to learn something new about him.
- A thought about what he is teaching you that could be helpful to your group.
You will need all three of these things to write your talk, but generally, you will start with just one.
3. Listen to Mentors: The beginning of my talk came when I had a conversation with my mom. I was complaining about some of the many difficulties I'd had during my week and how as a mom I sometimes felt I never got anything done. She interrupted me to remind me that there are different "seasons in life" and told me to be patient because there would be other seasons when I'd have plenty of time to accomplish all of my tasks.
4. Listen to the Needs of Your Audience: Soon afterward, I had another conversation with a friend from the mom's group that I would be talking to. She confided that she often felt inadequate compared to some of the more confident and experienced moms she knew.
5. Listen to God During Your Personal Devotion: Next, God spoke to me when I was reading Scripture. He led me to Ecclesiastes and reminded me that he is in control of my time and life and that all of the events of my day are in His hands.
Have One Main Point
How To Write Your Devotion
Brainstorm: The first thing I would suggest is that you just take out a piece of paper or a computer and write down everything you are thinking about your topic. Brainstorming and writing down all of your ideas gives you a place to start.
Talk It Out: Next, I'd suggest that you talk to someone else you trust and tell them their ideas and get their responses. They may have some great ideas to add to what you are going to say, or be able to give you some insight in how your story and ideas might strike your audience.
Create An Outline: After that, it is time to organize your thoughts and begin to put your talk in a final form. While there are many ways to write a good devotion, the following is a typical format that generally helps the audience to follow your main idea:
- Introduction: Ask a question and give your key point. You might want to start with a Bible verse and then tell what that verse means in a sentence or two. If you don't use a Bible verse here, then you will want to put it in one of the other sections.
- Story: Tell a personal story which relates to the main point. Your story can be funny or serious as long as it is true and your audience can relate to your experience. I chose a funny story for my audience of moms since moms deal with a lot of poop, screams and other embarrassing moments!
- What you Learned: Let the story lead naturally into what God taught you from this experience. Tell your audience what you learned and how you learned it. Maybe God made you realize it yourself, or maybe it was something that hit you when reading the Bible, or maybe your child or a friend made a comment.
- Take Home Point: Read a verse of Scripture and explain what it means. Connect the verse to your story.
- How Your Audience can Apply this Truth: What is the general truth that all of us can learn from this? If you can, give some practical, everyday tips that your audience can think about or do.
Outline or Script?
Speaking from notes is always more natural than reading a script. However, reading from a script can keep you on track and help you make sure you really say it exactly the way you've planned and keep within the time limit that has been suggested. Ultimately, using a script, notes or an outline when you speak is up to you. If you know you will be getting nervous when you get in front of the group, I generally suggest that you do have your whole speech printed out and ready just in case you draw a complete blank (spoken by someone who had that happen to them!)
Example Devotion for MOPS Group
This sample talk is one I gave in front of a group of my friends at a Mothers of Preschoolers and Toddlers (MOPS) group. You can use this example to spur your own ideas or even use the outline to help you in writing your own talk.
You know what it says in Ecclesiastes? There is a time for everything. A season for every activity under heaven. That makes sense to me, but I have discovered as a mom that some of the activities under heaven are stranger than I anticipated.
Share Your Story to Encourage Others
(Note: If you want to use my devotional, you can personalize this with your own story of a food or other mom disaster. I'm pretty sure you have at least one of these stories to share!)
A while back, I found myself with two kids that had Strep over (of course) the 3 day holiday weekend .I was comforting my youngest one while my husband took the older one to Urgent care for a strep test.
I was also trying to eat my dinner, tomato soup. My three-year-old Steffi wanted some soup and I was thinking that would feel good for her throat so I gave some to her. Then she wanted to be held, so I cradled her tenderly against my breast. It was one of those wonderful, bonding moments. Until you guessed it, her tummy got upset and the tomato soup came up rather than staying down.
Up, I might add, on the white blouse I’d just put on after having a nice shower. What really told me I was an experienced mom was that I didn't get up immediately and go racing for the sink.
I just stayed there holding her for a while, waiting for all the damage to be done. And knowing that, as my good friend Carrie Lynn often reminds me, “This too shall pass,” one way or the other, I might add.
Tell Key Point
Seasons of Life. We've all been through a few. Although we sometimes forget them in the chaotic world of being a mom, we've all actually had a former life. We've had time in the season of childhood, then High School. We had time then for friends and schoolwork, dreams and hobbies. Later there is college, or work and then marriage and the work of being a wife.
Then there comes pregnancy and motherhood. Everything seems to build to the next stage. Have you ever noticed that just as you get really good at one stage, God moves you on to another one? You finally get used to pregnancy and being up all night with back pain. Then comes a baby and you have to figure out how to take care of it. Then that baby becomes a toddler who has a mind of its own. You have to figure that out. Then that toddler goes off to school and has friends who are mean or a teacher that doesn’t explain things.
Explain How Main Point Relates to Your Life
Or you go on in life to the stage I am at now—with 15 years of preschool motherhood under my belt, and now tackling all that goes along with juggling high schoolers and a return to my own career. For five years, we also took care of my husband's parents who had Alzheimer's along with helping out my mother when my father died. So many of our friends are facing the difficult decisions and emotions of caring for both parents and young children.
Read Bible Verse and Explain It
Why is it that just when we think we have one stage of life pretty well figured out, God throws us into another stage?
Ecclesiastes 3:11-14 says God “has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it.God does it so that men will revere him.”
God is there in all our seasons of life. Each new stage helps us to remember we need Him.
Tell Audience What You Learned
I don't know about you, but I know that it is really easy for me to become proud. My kids are well dressed, they did well in school, they looked good in the school play, they were the only ones not fighting over toys at the playgroup. Whatever it is, I'm somehow able to always make it a contest, and then trying to be the winner. Or if I feel I'm the loser, I feel terrible, thinking "I'm a terrible mother. Everyone is going to know I don't know what I'm doing!"
What I need to remember, and I'm betting you do too, is that it isn't a contest between you and me. It is a journey we go on together as moms, wives, and children of God. The point of the journey is to know and love God more and to help each other do the same.
Tell Take Home Point
Note: often the best way to help your audience to apply the truth is to ask questions. God can help your audience fill in the answers.
What are you struggling with right now? What is God trying to teach you in this season of your life? Is there something you need to let rest in Him?
End in Prayer
Thank you that you are in control of everything. Help us as moms to trust you to take care of our worries. In our hearts right now we give our personal worries and struggles to you. Help us to let you take control of those circumstances and to trust that you will make all things work together for good for us as we love you and are called according to your purposes. Thank you for loving us and helping us every day in each new season of our lives as mothers.