The Speech: How Peter’s Words Persuaded 3,000 Listeners
An online devotional for writers
A Word From The Word
Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem!” (Acts 2:14, NLT)
A Word For Writers
A persuasive speech compels listeners to act.
- Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech (1963) persuaded lawmakers to advance civil rights legislation.
- Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech (1940) persuaded the British to stand against tyranny during World War II.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself” speech (1933) persuaded citizens to embrace his New Deal and chart a pathway out of the Great Depression.
A persuasive speech explains “why.” People act when you give them a good reason, whether it’s to deliver a minority’s rights, resist a dictator’s advances, or embrace a nation’s recovery from financial crisis.
In his Pentecost speech, Peter gives a neat little example for making a persuasive speech.
First, he stated his premise: the multiple languages spoken at Pentecost were the work of the Holy Spirit … and those present could be a part of that great movement, too (2:15-17).
- Then, Peter explained why: God promised an unleashing of His Spirit (2:17) after Jesus was betrayed, killed, and raised Him from the dead (2:23, 32).
- He explained “why” believers should act: because God keeps His promises.
Peter’s technique was not only persuasive, but also powerful. Three thousand people were added to the church that day.
A Wise Word
A persuasive speech explains why.
A Word To Pray
Thank you for those who have gone before me that demonstrate how to write and deliver a persuasive speech. Show me how to answer “why” to motivate others.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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