Faithful Stewards of His Bounty

May 8, 2024
Listen to Article:

Two days ago, the smartphone app that I use to help structure my daily prayer time reminded me that the annual Rogation Days are upon us.

I wasn't familiar with the three-day "rogation" observance until a few years ago. I discovered it is an ancient Christian prayer custom that dates back to at least the 5th century. (The word "rogation" comes from a Latin verb, rogare, which means "to ask.")

Here’s a quick overview of what Rogation Days are about from An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church:

Traditionally, [these] are the three days before Ascension Day, [i.e., the 40th day after Easter]....

In England they [became] associated with the blessing of the fields at planting. The vicar "beat the bounds" of the parish, processing around the fields reciting psalms and the litany [a series of prayer petitions]. In the United States they have been associated with rural life and with agriculture and fishing....

[Today, Rogation petitions] have widened their scope to include commerce and industry and the stewardship of creation.

The Rogation Days — observed Monday, yesterday, and today — are intended to remind us that we are dependent on the Lord to prosper our labors and provide for our needs. This echoes the words of Moses to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:17-18:

Beware lest you say in your heart, "My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth." You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth...

'Your fatherly care...'

On Monday, my PrayerMate App served up this Rogation Days prayer:

Almighty God,
whose will it is that the earth and the sea
should bear fruit in due season:
bless the labors of those who work on land and sea,
grant us a good harvest
and the grace always to rejoice in your fatherly care;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord...

Here is a Rogation Days prayer I found in a prayer book I bought a little while back:

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth:
we humbly pray that your gracious providence
may give and preserve to our use
the harvests of the land and of the seas,
and may prosper all who labor to gather them,
that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand,
may always give you thanks;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

And one more:

O Merciful Creator,
whose hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature:
Make us always thankful for your loving providence;
and grant that we, remembering the account
that we must one day give,
may be faithful stewards of your bounty;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit
lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.

God, our Provider

Modern life tends to crowd out the sense that we are dependent on God for everything. Rogation Days remind us otherwise.

It is fitting that the Rogation Days occur just before Ascension Day (tomorrow), when we are forcefully reminded that "Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us" (Romans 8:34).

In the spirit of Rogation Days, I've been asking this week for God to bless the world with continued fruitfulness of land and sea, and for His provision through God-honoring commerce and industry.

May He give us grace to "be faithful stewards of [His] bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord," the One who "ever lives to make intercession" for us (Hebrews 7:25).

Written by

Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife

Joseph Slife has been a news writer for the Associated Press, a college instructor, and a radio host. He and his wife Joye have three grown sons.

Revolutionize Your Investing Approach

Unlock Your Wealth-Building Potential with Sound Mind Investing

Don't leave your investments to chance. Let Sound Mind Investing guide you to financial success. Experience the power of our simple, rules-based strategies and see your wealth grow.

Unlock your wealth-building potential for as little as $0.32 a day.