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The Power Word: This One Is Simple, But It Moves Readers to Act

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

But with God everything is possible. (Matthew 19:26, NLT)

A Word For Writers

A power word is a term or phrase that triggers an emotional response – either positive or negative – in the reader. The word’s impact is so strong that it moves the reader to act. 

The Power Word - a #devotional for writers based on Mt 19:26 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #PersuasiveWriting #FreelanceWriting

One of my favorite power words is “but.” It’s just three letters long, but it packs a powerful punch. 

Here’s how I know this is a powerful word: its Greek version is used 2,810 times in the Bible.  It may be translated in some versions as “rather,” “however,” “moreover,” or “even.” 

God uses this power word over and over in scripture to show contrast – a contrast that moves people to act.

How about this example, where Old Testament Joseph was speaking to his eleven brothers about selling him into slavery: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (Genesis 50:20, NLT). Joseph’s brothers were reconciled to him. 

Or here, where Peter gives his second temple message after Jesus’s resurrection: “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead” (Acts 3:15, NLT). Peter’s sermon led to 5,000 people accepting Christ. 

Or what about the time Jesus explained His power to work in man’s hearts: “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible’” (Matthew 19:26, NLT). We are unable to change hearts and minds. 

But God is.

A Wise Word

Use the power word “but” to show contrast.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

Your words move people to act. As I write, use my words to impact readers.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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