The first time I was asked to give a bridal-shower devotional I was still a newlywed myself. A young woman in the church was getting married, and one of the church mothers had planned a simple celebration in her home on a Friday evening. I think I was the guest closest in age to the bride-to-be, and so the hostess asked me to give the devotional, probably believing my words would feel more relevant than her own.
I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I do remember my hands shaking as I clutched my carefully prepared notes and cleared my throat to speak. I remember trying to communicate every one of the lessons I had learned—or thought I had learned!—about marriage. I remember feeling earnest. I remember feeling out of my depth.
Since that night, I’ve given dozens of devotionals at baby showers and bridal showers. In that time, I’ve figured out how to calm my nerves. I’ve learned I don’t have to give an exhaustive treatment of marriage or parenting in the space of 10 minutes. And I’ve become better at planning a talk that will focus less on me and more on Christ.
These days, when someone asks me to do the shower devotional, I prepare in a few simple ways.
1. Give Thanks
Being asked to give a shower devotional is a reason to rejoice—even if the thought of speaking to a group of women makes you quake. Titus 2 commands older women to encourage younger women to “love their husbands and children” (v. 4). Giving a devotional is one way to show love to your sister in Christ, to encourage other women, and to hold up Christ in the Scriptures. Thank God for this opportunity.
Giving a devotional is one way to show love to your sister in Christ, to encourage other women, and to hold up Christ in the Scriptures.
2. Ask (a Few) Questions
When you’re talking to the hostess, find out how long she expects the devotional to be. Most shower devotionals will be brief, perhaps only five or 10 minutes. Once you know the time expectation, you can practice your prepared devotional with a stopwatch to make sure you can fit the allotted time.
It’s also good to find out who will be at the shower. Will it be mainly family? Friends? Younger women? Older women? Christians? Non-Christians? The answers to these basic questions will help you prepare a devotional that will serve the women who listen.
Anytime you open the Bible to encourage or exhort someone else, you’ll need help to do it wisely and well. Begin your preparations by seeking the Lord’s help. Ask him to make his Word clear to you, to give you helpful words to say, to use your devotional for the good of your listeners.
4. Start with Scripture
The life-giving words of the Scripture are the most helpful thing you can offer the pregnant mom or bride-to-be. Personal stories, inspirational quotes, or even your own hard-won wisdom about this new stage of life are all secondary to the Word of God.
While many Bible verses have valid applications for marriage and parenting, it’s not easy to clearly explain an obscure text and draw out practical lessons in a few short minutes. For that reason, it’s usually best to pick a text that plainly relates to the occasion.
Personal stories, inspirational quotes, or even your own hard-won wisdom about this new stage of life are all secondary to the Word of God.
If you’re at a baby shower, choose a passage about children or parents. For example, use Jesus’s invitation to children (Matt. 19:13–15), the psalmist’s delight in the blessing of family (Pss. 127; 128), or Paul’s instructions to children and parents (Eph. 6:1–4).
If you’re at a bridal shower, choose a passage about marriage or love. For example, use Jesus’s affirmation of the goodness of marriage (Matt. 19:4–6), Solomon’s delight in married love (Song 8:6–7), or Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives (Eph. 5:22–33).
Once you have selected a text, work to understand the main point of the Bible verses you have chosen. Read the surrounding verses to learn how your chosen text fits with the larger message of the chapter and book. Consider how it relates to the good news of Christ crucified and risen for sinners. If needed, use Bible commentaries, or ask your pastor or another mature Christian to help you.
Plan to spend about a third of your allotted time reading the passage and explaining its context and meaning.
5. Apply Scripture to Life
Once you’ve identified the main point of your chosen verses, you can apply its message. What does this text say about how a new mom or a new wife should think? What does it say about her actions? About her speech? About her motivations? How does the passage call her to rely on the work of Christ and the help of the Holy Spirit?
Plan to use the rest of your time to do this, but don’t try to communicate everything there is to say about marriage or parenting. A few specific applications will usually be more helpful than a long list of generalities.
Don’t try to communicate everything there is to say about marriage or parenting. A few specific applications will usually be more helpful than a long list of generalities.
Primarily, you’ll be applying the Scripture to the expectant mom or bride-to-be, but it’s good to include the rest of the guests, too. How can other wives in the room (even those who’ve been married for a long time) apply these verses? How can moms and grandmoms apply your words as they nurture the children in their lives? One of the blessings of a shower is that it provides a community of women who can encourage the guest of honor—and one another—to each live out the truth of Scripture in their daily circumstances.
And don’t forget the single or childless women who may be there. Attending a shower is often a difficult act of love for them as they celebrate with someone else a blessing they’ve been denied. Be sure to include some application that will be useful to everyone in the room—single or married, Christian or unbeliever.
Conclude your devotional with a brief prayer. Pray for the woman being honored, but also for the other guests. Prayer reminds us that we all equally depend on the help of the Holy Spirit, whatever our life stage.
And, after the shower, keep praying! Your devotional may be over in six minutes, but its real effect will come in the hours and weeks and even years after you close your Bible and go back to your seat. May God use it for good.