This post about gratitude is adapted from “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith,” Kathy Howard’s unique devotional that combines stories of faith with practical tips for spiritual legacy and helps for genealogy research.

A train whistle always stops Lloyd in his tracks. No matter where he is or what he’s doing, when he hears the whistle blow, Lloyd pauses to thank God. Sometimes, his prayer is a simple “Thank You, Lord.” Other times, he pauses longer to praise God and thank Him for specific acts of mercy and grace in his life. (Also see “Gratitude is Essential to Peace.”)

The seed for Lloyd’s “gratitude prompt” was planted long ago during happy childhood days spent on his grandfather’s Arkansas farm. One of Lloyd’s most vivid memories of that time was the sound of the logging train that regularly chugged across the property. Thankfulness filled those days. Thankfulness for his strong, gentle grandfather and his example of love and family devotion. Lloyd naturally connected those feelings of gratitude with the sound of the train.

Now, decades later, there’s another train that cuts a path across Lloyd’s Wyoming ranch in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains. Everyone that visits the ranch hears the story of the train, its whistle, and the reminder it provides to stop and thank God. From family and friends to neighbors and the Wounded Warrior veterans Lloyd often hosts, everyone pauses to thank God when the whistle blows.

King David Practiced Gratitude

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!  1 Chronicles 16:8-9, ESV

After King David triumphantly brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, he encouraged the people of God to express their gratitude. He urged Israel to remember everything God had done and to thank Him for all His wondrous works. Like David, Lloyd knows that continuous gratitude fosters a deeper awareness of God and greater joy in the worshipper’s heart.

A Gratitude Prompt for Our Family

God still deserves our praise and gratitude. David’s and Lloyd’s examples encourage us not only to stop and thank God for His marvelous works and good blessings, but to also encourage our loved ones to express gratitude to God. Develop a “gratitude prompt” for your own family by identifying an everyday sight or sound as a reminder to thank God for His many gifts. You could also set a regular time for our family – perhaps around the dinner table – to share these “wondrous works” with each other.

Although thanking God is not hard, Lloyd knows how easy it is to forget. “People don’t take time to stop and thank God for all He’s done. We all need a little reminder.” Lloyd’s reminder is as faithful as the train.

Let’s Talk: What do you do in order to be intentional about gratitude? What are some ways you also encourage your family to express thanksgiving to God?

More about “Heirloom”

Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” tells stories of the past that will impact our faith today. These 52 heart-felt reflections reveal the seeds of our faith―seeds that sprouted and took root, growing through the centuries to today. Heirloom weaves these stories of faith and family history with Scripture, beautiful artwork, and ancestry research tips and techniques. Through these stories of persevering faith you’ll discover the potential your story has to impact future generations. “Heirloom” makes a lovely gift!  (See “Heirloom” on Amazon.) 

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