by Kathy Howard
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.
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 strongest 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. 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 Warriors Lloyd often hosts, everyone pauses to thank God when the whistle blows.
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 rescued the ark of the covenant from the Philistines, he brought it back to Jerusalem. As he entered the city, David 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 purposeful gratitude fosters a deeper awareness of God and greater joy in the heart of the worshipper.
God still deserves our praise and gratitude. We can follow David’s and Lloyd’s examples by not only stopping to thank God for His marvelous works and good blessings, but by also encouraging our loved ones to express gratitude to God. We could develop a “gratitude prompt” for our own family by identifying an everyday sight or sound as a reminder to thank God for His many gifts. We 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.
This post is adapted from “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith,” Kathy Howard’s new, unique devotional that combines stories of faith with practical tips for spiritual legacy and helps for genealogy research.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate and richest coffee. She searches for cherished stories of faith that still impact hearts. And, she digs deep into God’s Word, mining His eternal truths for herself and to share with others. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events. She has a Masters of Christian Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary.
Kathy is the author of 10 books, including the “Deep Rooted” devotional series and “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” (October 2021). Kathy and her husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Kathy provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org.