Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Writing a Devotion that Sings

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Writing a Devotions that Sings
If a great composer took your writing and set it to music, what would its melody be? Our writing emits a song of its own. It could be the thunderous, foreboding tones of a warning; the quick tempo of a call to action; or the soothing notes of a comforting message. 

What song do you want your writing to sing?

Crafting the right “song” depends on your message and your audience. Whether you’re writing a devotion for a blog or a book, always remember who you are writing to and why. Do you want to comfort? Instruct? Warn? Encourage? Select the right “lyrics”—the right wording—and pair them with the right “notes”—style or voice. As a writer, you are composing not only a message, but its presentation. So compose wisely.

Consider this “composition.” Do you hear the music in this sentence?

God is bigger than the spiritual enemies we face.

But suppose you want to emphasize specific spiritual enemies.

No matter what—God is greater.
“No matter how fierce the enemy seems—when fear cripples us, anger enrages us, or selfishness possesses us; when adversity crushes us, opposition hounds us, or temptation plagues us—God is greater.” 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory

That second sentence took a lot of thought for my first Bible study. I wanted to identify specific spiritual enemies that we all deal with and present them in a way that showed their true nature. Fear cripples, selfishness possesses, and adversity crushes. When you look for the right wording, or lyrics, for your devotion, use descriptive verbs that need no adverbs, and always keep a thesaurus nearby. I don’t know how many times I used the dictionary and thesaurus on my computer as I hunted for just the right words to put in my book.

Also consider the tempo of that line from 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory. The phrases in between the em dashes have the same beat—subject-verb-object. They end with a crescendo—God is greater. As you write, remember that your sentences have a cadence, a beat that reverberates in the reader’s mind. Use that to your advantage to leave a lasting impression of the message you are declaring and the truth you are trumpeting.

When I first started writing, my work sounded like some of the books I read in college—dry and academic. My writing needed to be infused with vibrancy, lyricism, and musicality. Although I could tell which sentences were flat and which were vibrant, it took time to develop the skill to craft a musical sentence. Just as musicians constantly grow in the arts, we grow as writers in our craft. So practice. Write down some sentences on a particular topic, and work with their lyricism and rhythm. Don’t stop tweaking them until you hear the beautiful music that will touch the reader’s soul and stir their will to action. You’re a composer. Don’t forget it.

Have you noticed how your writing is growing and changing? Share a sentence or two below that you're proud of. (I know it's hard to "brag" but we all need to take joy on the words God gives us!)
Katy Kauffman is an award-winning writer and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, a ministry which seeks to connect people to God through His Word. She has taught the Bible to women and teens, and has two published Bible studies for women, 2 Timothy: Winning the Victory and Faith, Courage, and VictoryHer heart’s desire is for women to know and love God, understand the richness of His Word, and fulfill His plan for their lives. Katy is also the designer of Broken but Priceless: The Magazine. She makes her home near Atlanta, Georgia. Connect with her further on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Thanks, Katy, for the wonderful, musical, guide to sharing our heart with the world.

    1. My pleasure, Barbara. May God bless your writing!

  2. Beautiful post, Katy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    1. Thank you, Andrea! May God bless your writing and work.